Gift cards and "employee of the month" parking spaces are appreciation relics and far from what most employees consider to be relevant actions by employers to demonstrate their gratitude for a job well done.

A survey conducted by news service boston.com found that, to be taken seriously, gestures of gratitude or appreciation need to be more along the lines of a paradigm shift than a holiday gift.

For instance, the top priority policy change, selected by 24 percent of respondents, was for management to place a ban on work emails sent during "off hours" — at night or on weekends. Since the respondents included representatives of all the major age demographic groups, one can no longer assume that millennials can be expected to be "on the clock" 24-7. They really don't like it any more than their elders do.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.