Employee Appreciation Is All About Valuing People

May 7, 2019 3:36 am

There’s a subtle difference between the two. According to Mike Robbins, author of Bring Your Whole Self to Work, recognition is “positive feedback based on results or performance”, while appreciation is more about people, less about what they do, more about who they are.

One study from the HAAS School of Business at UC Berkeley found that people who feel recognised are 23% more effective and productive, but those who feel like the people around them genuinely care are a whopping 43% more effective. Not only that, 66% of employees (76% for millennials) say they would “likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated.”

The transformative power of appreciation

Research has already shown that they can lead to less stressfewer sick daysmore positive emotions and higher satisfaction with our jobs and coworkers.

In fact, one of the biggest challenges of showing more appreciation at work is moving from a culture that values hierarchy and seeing people as an obstacle in the way of promotion, to one that embraces work as a shared challenge that requires the support of other people.

Employee appreciation needs to start from the top, but it can quickly create a feedback loop that reinforces itself. For example, employees that feel appreciated perform more acts of kindness – like showing new employees around and covering for coworkers – which reinforces a culture of appreciation and makes other people more likely to help those around them.

Here goes some insights to bringing appreciation into the workplace

Focus on the person!

Showing appreciation doesn’t mean that you have to like or agree with someone, or that you have to hang out with them and become best friends. In order to appreciate someone, all you have to do is be able to recognise their value. And you can do it easily on Hero365. =)

Each one of us have different perceptions.

In the same way that not everyone likes to receive public recognition, not everyone interprets appreciation the same either. Dr Paul White, psychologist and author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, has identified five ways of showing your appreciation.

  • Words of Affirmation – uses words to affirm people
  • Acts of Service – actions speak louder than words
  • Receiving Gifts – people like things to feel appreciated
  • Quality Time – giving someone undivided attention
  • Physical Touch – appropriate touch (high-five, pat on the shoulder)

Figure out how different people in your team or department show appreciation so that you can tailor yours appropriately. If you’re not sure, then ask. 

Leaders, it’s time to show more appreciation

You can’t expect your team to be more grateful unless you start showing more appreciation.

Some ideas for cultivating more appreciation at work include writing three things that you’re grateful for every morning in a journal. If that feels like a step too far, why not schedule some time in your diary for appreciation instead? A daily reminder to show your gratitude is better than keeping it in your head, where it’s much less likely that a habit is going to form.

There is only one path to change culture

For appreciation to become part of your culture it needs to become part of everyday life. That means working appreciation exercises into weekly team meetings, or making them part of your internal communications so that employees always have gratitude in mind.

The founding father of employee engagement, William Kahn, highlighted the importance of being able to bring our “full self” to work. Appreciation not only feeds into how meaningful we find our work, but also how “safe” we feel – which is essential for high performing teams.

Above all else, appreciation needs to be authentic. It’s OK to feel uncomfortable with the idea at first, as long as you’re fully committed to try and make it work. If not, employees will know you’re faking it and just go along with the idea to make sure they don’t stand out.

Recognition will always be an important part of acknowledging great work, but appreciation can transform an unpleasant workplace into somewhere that we enjoy going everyday.