We’ve all heard the saying, “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what’s expected.” Yet it’s often underrated in the workplace and undervalued by leaders.
Across organizations where employee engagement and increasing productivity are hot topics, leaders are overlooking easily one of the most inexpensive strategies that could be saving them thousands of dollars each year.
It’s that simple, yet we don’t do it often enough.
A client of mine recently shared he was praised and told how much he was appreciated by his sr. management team for problem-solving an issue that had the entire company impacted by a network outage.
This is a classic example and certainly well-deserved. Classic in that it’s following a job well done and after “saving the day.” That’s just it. We don’t often get praised when we’re doing a job well done, that we barely recognize it when we do. Imagine the impact of offering appreciation for simply being a great employee.
We had multiple conversations around this topic. He rarely knew how his direct manager felt about him yet didn’t feel he needed to hear it. It turned out it was on his mind enough that we spoke about it on more than one occasion. He did care about hearing it.
When he received praise for solving the network outage, he said to me, “Finally! It was good to hear how they really felt about me, especially hearing it from the CIO.” This was likely praise he’ll never forget, especially since he didn’t often hear much praise from his manager.
A few weeks had passed since he received the praise and I asked him how being told he was appreciated had impacted him. He shared he felt more engaged and more than anything, it reinforced how important it was for him to receive praise and that he wanted to ensure he was being consistent with showing his own team appreciation.
That’s the beauty of being appreciated. It not only impacts the way you feel but often it inspires you to want to extend appreciation to others you work with.
Glassdoor surveyed more than 2, 000 U.S. adults of which 81% of them said their boss showing them appreciation for their work motivates them to work harder.
Appreciation or praise as it’s sometimes referred to is not necessarily the same as recognition. Yes, there may be overlap in that you’re recognizing a person’s efforts, whereas appreciation is more personalized. Recognition programs which most organizations have tend to recognize an employee’s achievements.
Think of the various awards that your organization has or you’ve heard in other organizations:
- Award for rookie of the year
- Presidents circle or Top Performer award
- Outstanding achievement award
- Employee service award (5, 10, 20 years)
When you’re personally appreciating someone, you’re giving praise for a person’s efforts no matter how big or small the gesture. Sometimes, it can be as simple as giving praise for:
- An employee displaying their commitment to their job
- Helping a new team member on your team
- Staying late one night to finish a project
- Being helpful and stepping in to help a different team
The opportunities are endless.
A Gallup article recommends praise should come from all directions and should be frequent. Every seven days to ensure it’s timely and the employee knows the significance of the recent achievement and to reinforce company values.
So how do you show your employees you appreciate them?
People express themselves in different ways and we also have our own way for which we prefer to be shown appreciation.
Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages wrote The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace that shares an assessment you can take to help determine your employee’s appreciation language at work. You can find it here.
Some other impacts he shares from his book on giving appreciation to your employees:
- Increasing the frequency of recognition and praise was found to increase productivity and revenue between 10-20%
- Leaders who give little praise to their team members actually undercut the perceived value of the salaries they are paying.
- Giving praise has been shown to benefit the person who gives praise – increasing their level of happiness for up to a month later.
Employee engagement, improving performance or increasing productivity are all common challenges leaders face, none of which are all easily solved simply by extending gratitude. Yet can easily have a significant impact on your employees by showing more appreciation regularly and frequently.
In a COVID era where working from home and remote working has quickly become the norm, extending regular appreciation is more important than ever AND possible with pro-active effort.
Last week I shared a post on how to reconnect with your work relationships that might have fallen by the wayside while working from home. It offers some guidance that can be applied here when considering how to give your remote employees praise and appreciation.
We’re human beings with the need to be recognized, heard and feel valued. No matter what your role, title or level is, showing you care and better yet, letting your employees know you do will be one of the safest investments you’ll ever make. And it’ll be worth it.
I’d love to know in the comments below.
How do you like to be appreciated at work?
P.S. I appreciate words of affirmation and quality time