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Staff Loyalty and Appreciation: The Who and Why

Staff Loyalty and Appreciation

Kiley Mutschler, a regional manager with Active Wellness, shares simple and practical ways to promote staff loyalty and appreciation.

To be happy at work, you do not have to hold a fascinating job that represents the pinnacle of your educational achievement or the most prestigious use of your “potential,” and you do not have to make a lot of money. What matters is not so much the “what” of a job, but more the “who” and the “why.” Job satisfaction comes from people, values and a sense of accomplishment. (Brooks, 2021).

It is clear that feeling valued, accomplished and having a deep sense of “why” leads to far more long-term rewards than just financial incentive. Of course, a bonus or pay increase does not hurt, but with the financial challenges the industry has faced, financial resources might not be available to your employees to reward them in this capacity. However, believe, there are more valuable ways you can ensure your employees know their loyalty is important to you. 

Here are some simple and practical ways you can reward team loyalty and show appreciation for your employees who have stayed with you through the highs and the lows.

Make Time

If time is valuable, why would you not make time for your employees? Find the time outside of work discussions and 1-1s – true dedicated time to check-in with them. Create a safe space to have a conversation and share a little bit about themselves, their family and their hobbies.

In addition to 1-1 time, make time for the team as well to do something non-work related. Try a community event, such as volunteering to walk dogs or deliver meals. By spending time with your team, individually and together, you are giving them attention and truly getting to know them, what they need and how you can support them.

Verbal and Written Feedback

Never underestimate the value of positive reinforcement to your employees. Make sure you are specific to what you are praising. Instead of saying good job, tell them exactly what they did well. For example, “I just wanted to take a minute to tell you what a great job you just did with our new member orientation. I could tell everyone was engaged and excited about what you had to tell them. Thank you!

Written feedback in the form of email or company newsletters can also go a long way in giving exposure and recognition to the greater team. I encourage everyone on my team to keep a positive praise folder to file praise from members, co-workers and others in leadership. While email is convenient, take it a step further and write a handwritten note or card.

Celebrate Milestones

Birthdays, work anniversaries and promotions need to be celebrated while at work. As a leader, you should have the dates of all your direct and indirect reports on your calendar for birthdays and work anniversaries. In addition to acknowledging the date, celebrate the employee by bringing them coffee, mail a gift and/or surprise them with something unexpected.

The first Friday of every March, there is an Employee Appreciation Day. Mark your calendar now and plan something nice for your team on that day. Coffee and tacos, a little favorite treat of theirs, or a small token of appreciation in the form of a gift card along with a hand-written note from you as their leader.

Think about these ideas as things that can be repeated, not just one and done. No one will ever be tired of hearing they are doing a good job and their efforts are appreciated. It is like filling up someone’s tank, if it stays full, no need to look for it elsewhere.

For anyone to truly feel valued and appreciated, it has to be intentional and genuine from you as a leader. This is not about checking boxes; it is about developing relationships of trust, care and respect.

“Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

References: Brooks, A. (2021, September 2). The Secret to Happiness at Work. The Atlantic.

Kiley Mutschler

Kiley Mutschler is a regional manager with Active Wellness, overseeing corporate and multi-tenant fitness centers in Texas, Arizona and Canada. She has over 10 years of experience managing people at all levels; responsible for hiring, training and building strong teams within the organization. Kiley has held many roles within Active Wellness and was named an IHRSA Rising Star in 2019. She can be reached at kiley.mutschler@activewellness.com.

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