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The Importance of Workplace Appreciation (And How to Express It)

Most of us like to feel appreciated in the workplace, though we’re not always willing to admit that praise is something we crave. According to HR Dive’s report on employee satisfaction, 68.5% of employees are bothered a little or a lot when they do not receive expected gratitude. And while 75.1% said they are thanked by colleagues on at least a weekly basis, only 52.9% are thanked at least weekly by bosses or supervisors.

Expressing appreciation is an excellent way to uplift office morale. Making people feel appreciated gives them the motivation to pay it forward, and this positive spiral results in a better work environment. A sincere appreciation for employees can also increase their engagement, minimize turnover, and improve performance. Unfortunately, appreciating our employees often gets neglected. In this article, we’ll talk about why it’s important to be intentional in expressing gratitude towards employees.

The Benefits of Workplace Appreciation

Well-recognized employees have more drive and determination. They develop a stronger connection to the company because they feel like their bosses see them as human beings and have their best interests in mind. This encourages employees to increase their efficiency and be more productive; if they feel like the organization cares, they’ll stay invested in the company’s success — making them less likely to leave.

Appreciation can also reduce workplace conflict. Because employees feel good, they impart positive feelings onto others and cultivate better work relationships. The spillover effect of gratitude can lead to random acts of kindness or generosity, like helping out with projects or taking time to recognize others for their hard work in turn.

In fact, this extends to bosses and supervisors as well. A study from the University of Central Florida reveals that people who feel appreciated have more energy and a positive outlook on life, expressed through positive behaviors at work. Organizational leaders who feel valued also gain a buffer against the negative effects of job stress. On the other hand, low-energy bosses who are underappreciated may engage in more abusive supervision and create harsher workplaces.

As we mentioned in our post ‘How to Resolve Conflict with a Coworker and Why it Happens’, toxic management styles like favoritism can cause fighting among colleagues and make the working environment uncomfortable. It’s clear that we should tap into appreciation at every level of the corporate ladder.

3 Tips to Express Your Appreciation Appropriately

There are many creative ways to express workplace appreciation, but here are three ideas to try:

Send employees a thoughtful gift:

Employees might enjoy a physical reward for their hard work. According to tips on virtual appreciation from LHH, you can send a variety of things like food delivery cards, edible arrangements, or even company swag to motivate your staff and brighten up their day. Products like a company shirt, paper goods, or a coffee mug can make your employees feel part of the team, especially if they receive these with a thoughtful, hand-written note. Little incentives are an easy, relatively inexpensive way to show recognition for employees’ hard work.

Workplace Appreciation


Share appreciation as a team:

write-up on gratitude by Forbes notes that peer recognition is powerful and engaging. Encouraging your staff to recognize each other builds a culture of appreciation and belonging, because they feel understood and valued. Try to make this a part of your regular routine. Challenge each other to find great work and acknowledge coworkers for their contributions at the end of every week.

Publicly express your gratitude:

Shining moments deserve public recognition, whether it’s for doing great work or for living out company culture. You can celebrate these employees by announcing their accomplishments to the rest of your team. You can even make this practice digital. Acknowledge employee efforts in an online social group like Facebook, or circulate news in a company-wide email.

Indeed, appreciation can help your employees feel seen, valued, and validated. A little gratitude goes a long way, so don’t be afraid to express your thanks to employees regularly and sincerely.

                        author

Jeremy Pollack

Jeremy Pollack is an anthropologist and conflict resolution consultant in Silicon Valley, but regularly travels between my San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles offices. He focuses on the psychology, social dynamics, and peacebuilding methodologies of interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. MORE >

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