Part 2: The Art of Appreciation – Give It!

In the second part of this post, I want to talk a little bit about the importance of giving appreciation and how it can positively affect the workplace. Yes, it is important for us to ask for the feedback and praise that we need, but it is equally as important for employers to give genuine appreciation on a regular basis. If appreciation is a part of the workplace culture, I think greater, more proactive work will be accomplished.

Employers have to praise their employees and there are many ways to accomplish this. Incentive programs are practically the norm now as more than 80% of US companies have an incentive program and employers spend more than $90 billion annually on non-cash incentives. However, I think that companies and leaders could accomplish a lot by providing simple, genuine appreciation tactics that have minimal associated cost.  Verbal recognition, thank you cards, positive e-mails or even a mention in a meeting can easily surpass gift cards, trips and even money.

a4-recognition-quotesBy creating a culture of verbal appreciation, leaders won’t only appreciate their own teams, but also encourage their employees to spread the gratitude. When leaders appreciate their employees, they not only “boost performance and engagement, but also the employee’s wellbeing and health.” In the same article, O.C. Tanner says employees who receive praise are more willing to spread positivity by either helping  or recognizing others. Once we foster appreciation, it becomes contagious and employees are more willing to spread the love.

There are a number of excuses of why organizations miss the opportunity to provide praise, but none are really impressive. From being too busy or it being too expensive or not feeling comfortable, all of these take more time to formulate than actually saying thank you. Noticing what team members do and making it a point to congratulate them on a job well done or taking the extra step, may initially feel like another task on the to do list, but it has huge payoffs. In a Gallup study, it was found that employees who did not feel “adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.”  They also found that recognition “not only boosted individual employee engagement” but also increases retention and productivity, so it actually affects the bottom line.

Once a culture of appreciation is created, employers and leaders will find that it comes naturally to them. As long as the praise is honest and timely, any organization will reap the benefits of verbal recognition. In future posts, I will look into those expensive, incentive programs that can help fuel engagement and are good for employees, but, for now, I think it’s much easier (and cheaper) to start with a good, old-fashioned THANK YOU!

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