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Did you know that today is Employee Appreciation Day!? No? You mean to tell me there wasn’t a bag of gold coins on your desk this morning? Your boss didn’t tell you to take the day off? There’s no ice cream party in the cafeteria? Nothing?  I’m not surprised. I’ve worked for great companies over the years, but had never heard of Employee Appreciation Day until I was asked to write this article.

For most people, the word “appreciation” in the context of work is spelled like this – $$$. And because no employer can possibly pay everyone what they want, companies need to find other ways to make a workforce feel more appreciated. They need to improve overall job satisfaction.

Finding Happiness

Making a workforce happy is easier said than done. Remove money from the equation and it quickly becomes hard to figure out what will make each worker feel more appreciated. Everyone is unique, especially in today’s workforce. Organizations are more culturally diverse than ever and people are working longer in life. That means some employers have to handle the needs of five generations with a multitude of backgrounds.

Some people would appreciate more time off and the flexibility to work from home. Others would like more education and international growth opportunities. Free lunches and gym passes are popular too. There is no one answer because finding the right way to show appreciation is complicated. But if workers don’t feel valued, they lose interest. Morale begins to slip – and so does revenue.

Engagement is Low

According to the latest research from Gallup, 68.5% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work. That is pretty bad; especially considering 17.5% of that number said they are “actively disengaged.” The engagement score (31.5%) did improve slightly over last year, and represents the highest score recorded since Gallup first began tracking the stat in 2000 – but obviously there is plenty of room for improvement.

So what’s a company to do? Money and perks help, but there are other things that can be done to elevate engagement and appreciation. For instance, some companies are implementing new human resources (HR) systems. Why? Because workers stuck with outdated HR systems waste a lot time doing administrative tasks that should be quick and simple.

Getting answers to questions about benefits and payroll should be easy. Training schedules, career guidance, and internal job postings should be readily accessible. And requesting time off should only take a few seconds on a mobile phone.

Simplified HR

Deploying a modern, company-wide HR system benefits all employees. For example, to enhance the daily employee experience and attract more high-quality talent, automated retailer Outerwall Inc., the company behind brands like Redbox, Coinstar, and ecoATM, recently implemented a new suite of HR solutions from SuccessFactors.

“With Success Factors we have one spot to go for all our employee needs and it works really well,” says Pete Williams, VP of HR Operations at Outerwall. “We have single sign on and it is mobile enabled.  We’ve got hundreds of employees distributed across the United States and it enables us to stay connected really easily.”

Outerwall was also happy see how much the new HR system improved employee engagement. “People were not too excited about the old systems, but the SuccessFactors suite is entirely different,” notes Jane Stewart, Director of HR Operations. “We’ve really seen an uptick in employee engagement from using it.”

It’s not easy keeping an entire workforce happy. But a new HR system can simplify the daily grind – and that will make every day feel a little more like Employee Appreciation Day.

Share what you would like for Employee Appreciation Day in the comments section below!



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