Let’s Talk About Frontline Appreciation

It’s 2023! And what better way to kick off the New Year than with a big dose of frontline appreciation. It’s something that should be at the very top of every service brand’s New Years resolutions if they’re serious about building a happy team who deliver awesome experiences to their customers. 

Today we’ll dive into why frontline appreciation is so important, and the practical ways you can go about showing genuine appreciation to your teams. 


Why are we talking about frontline appreciation, and why does it really matter? 

Firstly, there’s no sugar coating it – frontline work can be tough work. The waiters, cleaners, service desk workers, healthcare providers and others who go out into the world every day to serve their clients and customers deserve a little, well a lot of, recognition for the work they do. 

Secondly, an appreciation-filled culture strengthens teams, and retains great employees. Recognized and valued employees create a workplace bursting with positivity, motivation and connectedness. 

Lastly, the effects of recognition and appreciation ripple out to your customers. Folks who feel seen, heard, valued and appreciated for their work not only help create the dream company culture (where everyone is actually happy to be there), but employees are much more likely to deliver 5-star experiences to their customers. 

The Art of Appreciation 

But how do you actually do it? How do you show genuine appreciation for your frontline teams at scale? 

Don’t Overthink It

Appreciation can be as simple as saying the words “Thank you, we see you and we’re so thankful to have you as part of the team”. Recognition doesn’t need to be about grand gestures, expensive gifts or over-the-top speeches, it just needs to be personal, genuine and timed right. 

Celebrate Small Wins Frequently 

Effective appreciation is all about celebrating the little wins. Your employees shouldn’t have to move mountains for them to feel appreciated at work. In fact, small, frequent doses of recognition are more effective than infrequent celebrations of bigger wins. It’s  like eating candy. If you eat the whole bag at once, while you’ll feel a big high, you’ll ultimately crash hard. But if you have one little piece every day, you’ll find small moments of joy in each day and sustain for much longer.

Recognize What You Want to See Repeated 

The art of appreciation is all about catching people doing things right. When you do so, you reinforce behaviors and motivate employees to chase that dopamine hit again. If they receive some positive customer feedback, handle a difficult situation well or go out of their way to add a personal touch to the customer’s experience, catch them, recognize them, and let them know it’s something you’d like to see more of. 

Balance Tech with Human Interaction 

Recognizing employees face-to-face every day at scale, especially for larger organizations is a tall order. There’s only so many “thank you”s that are verbally possible in one day. While some appreciation needs to be in person, a lot of it can also take place using technology. Recognition tools help you reach employees at scale, wherever they are. Managers can identify high performing employees, and send them personal messages in just a few clicks. 

Use Customer Feedback as the Source of Appreciation

One of the most useful sources of recognition and appreciation can come from customer feedback.

It ticks all the boxes:

  • It’s simple (and does the work for you). “Thanks so much for the cleaning service! I loved how thorough and quick the service was!”. 
  • It’s frequent: real-time customer feedback presents an efficient and repeatable way to ensure that frontline staff hear a regular “heartbeat” of appreciation for a job well done.

  • It recognizes what needs to be repeated: positive customer feedback reveals what’s most important to your customers, and what your frontline teams should prioritize.

  • Reveals where extra credit is due: folks who receive high amounts of positive customer feedback should be further recognized through company wide meetings, rewards, promotions and pay rises. 

Using customer feedback, you can ensure dopamine is delivered directly to your frontline staff, every day.

Frontline appreciation is the key to building a happy team and unlocking awesome customer experiences. While it seems like a simple thing, it’s so often overlooked, with only 14% of organizations providing managers with the necessary tools for reward and recognition. Start 2023 on the right foot and show your teams how much you appreciate them –  the ripple effect it will have on your culture, employee experience and customer experience will be far reaching. 

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