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Last year, our company held its first President’s Conference. The event was established as one of several new initiatives we put in place to support a key recruitment and retention strategy: showing meaningful appreciation for our employees by recognizing, thanking and rewarding them for their efforts and results.

The conference is entirely oriented to celebrating the accomplishments of our top performers, beginning with a skywriter recognizing their arrival through to a closing awards ceremony and party with a celebrity DJ. In between, attendees spend time with board members and executives, hear from an outside speaker who delivers a keynote address on a specific business topic and network and socialize with their peers throughout the company.

In addition to spotlighting current successes, the conference also serves to motivate and inspire colleagues to earn a spot at next year’s event. It’s common for honorees to help their teammates qualify for the conference by giving deals or otherwise providing support to colleagues who are close to making it. In that regard, the conference is a way to show appreciation for both the accomplishments of attendees and the efforts of everyone in our company as they strive to reach the next higher level.

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In addition to a major event like the President’s Conference, letting employees know they’re appreciated can take many different forms and formats. Monthly awards, spot bonuses or a day off are several common ways. We recently adopted policies for unlimited PTO and a hybrid-remote work model to offer our people the flexibility and support they need to flourish in all facets of their lives. Those are two important benefits that signal to employees that they’re appreciated.

Another way to demonstrate appreciation for each individual: Consider hiring someone who doesn’t have the direct experience you might normally require but does have other attributes — especially soft skills — which could help them succeed. We recently filled a sales position at our company with a former teacher who had never worked in any other field. Despite that, we appreciated the other qualities that the person brought to the job. So we made the hire and have since hired three of the employee’s friends who are also former teachers. That’s appreciation in action.

Those of us fortunate to work in this great industry know first-hand the ever-evolving nature of the employment market and business environment. While these dynamics may require new approaches to building and strengthening relationships, some of the most tried and true virtues and values are more important than ever. Showing appreciation for everyone on your team on a regular basis ranks at the top of that list.

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