Written by Zoe Greensit

Last updated 10 December 2021 ·

Employee appreciation... not just for Christmas!

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? – Bob Hope

Makes sense, right?

To get the best and most out of your employees, don’t wait until Christmas to show your appreciation. Make sure they feel the love and reward for their hard work all year round.

There are many different ways to show employees you appreciate them, from internal achievement awards and trophies, thank you notes and gifts, to office parties and even public announcements on your website. However, all this is great but showing genuine appreciation is even better when linked to actual performance. And to identify high performance, there needs to be a structured way to align employee efforts with the overall business objectives to assess who is making the biggest impact.

Setting clear objectives and goals at the start of the year can really encourage employees to work hard as they have something to aim for and can see exactly where they can impact overall business performance.

So, are you looking for an effective way to get your employees super motivated, ultra focused and highly aligned towards achieving your overall strategic objectives?

If so, here are five essential processes to put into action now to make it happen!

  1. Communicate your objectives

    Once you have set your objectives for the year and made them 100% clear, you need to communicate these to your wider teams in an effective and motivational way. It helps at this stage to explain the importance of these objectives. For example, they will help you achieve the overall business vision (which should also be shared and made readily available to all internal teams at all times).

  2. Work with each team to plan their impact

    Once each team knows what the vision and objectives are for the year, the leadership team should then work with their people to develop clearly defined key results that will directly affect achieving these objectives. The progress being made towards these key results helps leadership know if they are on the right track to achieve the objectives within a set timeframe. It’s no secret that people are more engaged with what they help create.

  3. Empower employees to succeed

    Ensure all employees have the correct tools and support they need to succeed in their roles and to implement all the necessary actions required to achieve the key results that have been set for them. Ideally, you need to create a tight focus, so absolutely everyone in the business knows exactly where they need to focus their efforts to achieve the right results, and that they do not confuse business with busyness.

  4. Create accountability groups

    Having a documented process of logging progress and achievements in terms of who’s doing what dramatically helps achieve accountability. This, in time, will create a sense of ownership as employees begin to take responsibility for their actions and, in return, can see exactly how they are making an impact. They will begin to realise the required key results and see the business move closer to achieving the overall objectives and vision. Making such progress and achievements visible to peers and managers can improve employee engagement and even create a healthy level of competition.

  5. Develop employee appreciation

    Once objectives and key results are clearly defined and assigned to the right people, and progress and achievements can be seen via accountability groups, this then facilitates employee appreciation and even an employee recognition scheme. Rising stars can be identified easily and rewarded appropriately. Check out our blog focusing specifically on Employee Recognition for some practical tips and ideas on how to do this.

All this can be achieved using the 1-3-5® OKR business planning methodology, which facilitates the creation of 1 crystal clear vision, 3 mission-critical objectives and 5 goals or key results per objective. Initially set at the senior leadership level, this framework allows key strategic priorities to be cascaded outwards to all teams ensuring effective communication and ultimately a consistent approach to planning and execution. If you get the ball rolling with this at the beginning of the year, you could have a very clear idea of exactly who is performing at their very best by Employee Appreciation Day at the beginning of March.

If you would like to see this 1-3-5® OKR business planning methodology in action, we offer eight free templates containing real-world examples which you can download instantly to help you see how this could work in your business. Alternatively, if you have any questions, please get in touch by emailing

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