Employee retention: The difference between engaged and appreciated

A woman leans back in her chair, care-free, relaxing away from their desk and office, as she reflects on the importance of employee appreciation.

Attracting employees, properly training them, keeping them motivated and energized — it’s all part of the secret sauce of an engaged workforce and relevant to the importance of employee appreciation.

Being “engaged” means different things to different organizations and the individuals who work there. And the conversation becomes even more nuanced when you factor in remote and hybrid workforces.

According to Gallup, fully remote or hybrid employees are more engaged than fully on-site employees. But autonomy can quickly turn into burnout when a home office turns into a 24-hour workspace where individuals are always “on.”

How can leaders keep workers engaged and energized?

Suffice to say, it’s a tricky topic, but one that requires leadership’s attention — especially when organizations face a talent shortage and attrition rates soar. (Did someone mention the Great Resignation?)

Showing appreciation is critical and multi-faceted. Programs like this are crucial, they are part of who we are, and they directly impact engagement and retention. Most importantly — our employees truly deserve this recognition!

$Amanda Gerding$

The importance of employee appreciation

Sometimes, what leaders intend to be engagement opportunities — parties, perks, outings — end up feeling more like “forced fun” to employees.

Often, employee engagement comes down to ensuring employees feel appreciated in ways they appreciate.

Employee appreciation initiatives are a sort of springboard for other positive organizational attributes, like diversity, wellbeing, trust and feelings of community. If employees are recognized and appreciated for their skills, hard work, unique perspectives and talents, mutual success and wellbeing come naturally.

Engagement and appreciation need to be intrinsically linked to avoid the ever-present threat of burnout, which can often be the result of being a little too engaged 24-7.

Gallup research notes engagement combined with a sense of wellbeing means employees are:

  • 27% more likely to report excellent performance in their role
  • 45% more likely to report high levels of adaptability in the presence of change
  • 37% more likely to report always recovering fully after an illness, injury or hardship
  • 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months

A parent and two kids rest with tent in nature at sunset near the coast, enjoying paid time off as part of an employee appreciation program.

Hey, Hylanders: Take an extra day off, on us

“Wellbeing and appreciation are at the core of our culture,” said Carly Pullar, senior manager of Employee Experience at Hyland. “We know that when employees feel appreciated, it boosts their overall employee experience and wellbeing.”

At Hyland, employee appreciation is a big part of who we are.

That’s why, since the mid-’90s, Hyland’s annual Employee Appreciation Day has made that sentiment official.

The extra paid day off, which started as a local-to-Cleveland company-wide trip to Cedar Point — a Cleveland, Ohio amusement park with some of the world’s most impressive rollercoasters — has expanded to our global workforce and now takes on many forms.

“We’ve learned from employees that, for many of them, there’s no better gift than the gift of time,” said Amanda Gerding, manager of Employee Engagement. “We like giving this day, which is in addition to our PTO offerings, so people can take this time truly for themselves to do something meaningful to them.”

In the U.S., that means taking a day off toward the end of May to enjoy warmer weather and extend Memorial Day weekend.

As Hyland has expanded globally, employees have greater flexibility around when they can take that extra day so they can plan it around their own holiday weekends.

Pullar and Gerding cite Employee Appreciation Day as just one example of a company-wide initiative to show appreciation.

> Watch on YouTube | Thank you, Hylanders! A message from your executive team to enjoy your day off!

A young woman solo-hikes in the forest, where she can rest her mind away from work.

Drive engagement to drive up retention

Great leaders know it’s not enough to just tell their employees they’re appreciated.

Engagement is a full-time endeavor that requires dedicated staff, especially if the workforce is widely dispersed and leadership truly wants to deliver for their employees. For example, a culture of feedback that includes anonymous surveys can help ensure leaders’ biases don’t dictate how employees experience engagement initiatives.

While no one action can resolve pervasive labor market trends, listening and acting is a starting point for a culture of recognition, wellbeing and respect for employees’ time and effort.

Want in on our Employee Appreciation Day? Check out jobs at Hyland!

A Hyland employee shares a huge smile behind a message in text: Hyland is hiring!

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Clare Cottrill

Clare Cottrill

Clare Cottrill has been living the #HylandLife since 2013. As a content strategist on the Corporate Communications team, she writes about all things Hyland. She resides on Cleveland’s West Side... read more about: Clare Cottrill