Employee Appreciation in Times of Crisis (Updated 6/1/20)

For the industries and businesses that continue to operate amid the COVID-19 crisis, employees are pulling doubles, staying late, and covering shifts… all while trying to navigate uncertainty in their own lives, homes and families.

Add to that the mounting concerns of recent civil unrest in several major American cities, and the stress starts to grow even greater. The people on your team are faced with pressures they may have never felt before. If it hasn’t already, it’s going to have an effect on them both personally and professionally.

A lot of leaders find themselves asking…

  • How do you maintain employee morale in tough times?
  • How do you motivate an overworked team?
  • How do you manage a team in stressful situations?

Employee appreciation is your secret weapon

A great leader looks for ways to ease those burdens, while still maintaining day-to-day operations of the business. Your secret weapon in striking that balance is feeding one of the most basic human desires in a way that supports getting the job done.

That basic human need is appreciation. It’s important because “feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work. It’s also energizing.” (Why Appreciation Matters So Much – Harvard Business Review).

When you show genuine appreciation, people feel better about themselves and what they’re doing. Use it effectively in the workplace, and it can pull someone out of the chaos of the world around them and bring them back to focus on the job at hand.

Showing employee appreciation in times of crisis is critically important. They need to hear “THANK YOU” now more than ever!

Here are a few ways a great leader can show employee appreciation to team members who are soaring above and beyond their normal duties.

Just say “Thank you”

Two of the most powerful, yet overlooked words in the english language are “Thank you.”

If you take just a moment, pull someone aside, and look them in the eye when you do it, simply saying “thank you” can have a profound effect on someone’s spirit.

In her August 2019 article, 75% of Americans agree: If bosses want happier employees, start by saying ‘thank you,’ Jennifer Liu writes:

“When it comes to employee recognition, the verdict is simple: Workers just want to hear “thanks” a little more often.”

This idea goes double, even triple, for the times we find ourselves in today. Under normal circumstances, the job is tough; in times of crisis, it’s downright overwhelming.

“Employees appreciate sincere recognition from their managers, coworkers and even company leaders. It makes them feel good and lets them know that their work is having an impact on their company.” (Staff & Employee Appreciation During the COVID-19 Crisis – AmTrust Financial)

Be the boss that says, “Thank you!”

Handwritten notes of appreciation

If ever there was a time for your use of Spot-On Cards and Shout-Out Pads to shine this is it!

Customer service and business management superstar, Shep Hyken, recalls a story where he saw a handwritten card passed from one person to another and the impact it delivered:

Sure, there are other ways to show appreciation. Verbal praise, an email, a small gift, an appreciation lunch for employees and more. All of those are great signs of appreciation, and I’m not suggesting giving up any of those. However, after seeing how much Ted appreciated the note from our client, which made me think back to Glenn Brown, I believe the handwritten note takes a gesture of appreciation to the next level.

In one of our own client stories, we were reminded of the power of the Rise Kit and everything those Spot-On Cards and Shout-Out Pads mean, not only to employees, but to clients, members, and customers, too.

Kristin Gettleman, General Manager of Gold’s Gym, was looking for something to inspire her team. Shout-Out Pads and Spot-On Cards did that… and more. Much more.

Hear Kristin tell her full story in this video…

Take some time to write a sincere note of appreciation. You’ll be amazed at the impact. If you need to replenish your supply cards or pads, or pick some up for the first time, visit the Daily Recognition tab in the online store.

Take advantage of social media

Everyone is online right now. Checking for updates, looking for toilet paper, sharing memes.

Take advantage of all that exposure by posting pics of your standout employees. Many of our clients do this regularly for their employee of the month award presentations. Here are a few shots of it in action.

But you don’t have to wait for that to get behind the camera and get social. Catch great employees “in the moment” and whenever you can get them to stand still long enough for a smiling photo.

Even grateful customers are getting into the act. Check out this shot of a McDonald’s employee who went out of her way to serve a guest.

employee appreciation in times of crisis from customers

Present awards for outstanding achievement and performance

For those team members who are stepping up, making sacrifices, and doing it all with an uplifting attitude, show them special praise and recognition with an award presentation.

Custom awards (company logo, award title, recipient name) are always available in the MyEmployees online store. Free standard shipping, with expedited options available for quick delivery. Free engraving, so there is no charge per letter or line.

As for the award title, “Above and Beyond” is great, but give it some thought and make the award something truly special. Some other ideas include:

  • Excellence in Customer Service
  • Customer Service Superstar
  • Exemplary Performance in the Face of Crisis

Double bonus points for you if you can tie the award back to a company initiative. Use KPI that resonate with the winner’s peers and colleagues. That way, everyone knows exactly what that person did to shine, and sets the example for others to follow.

Find a full selection of our custom plaque and acrylic awards in the MyEmployees Online Store. Click HERE.


No matter what you choose, do SOMETHING. Show your hard working team how much their effort means to you and the company. Your employees are under just as much stress and anxiety as anyone right now.

The show of appreciation they get from you can be the spark that inspires them to press on.

Read these Client Success Stories to find out how leaders are using the MyEmployees system to recognize their hardworking team members:

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