More than 35% of employees consider lack of recognition of their work as the biggest hindrance to their productivity according to a recent poll by Tjinsite, a division of TimeJobs.com. This poll discussed why recognition is important in the workplace and what is the easiest way to recognise people.
Simply the easiest and most effective way to recognise employees is to be appreciative. Robert Half, an Australian researcher said that appreciation is one of the top 3 factors that makes Australian employees happy. The report reveals that when we show appreciation to our staff for their work and dedication we instill loyalty which helps to develop a creative and positive working environment.
What is appreciation?
Appreciation generally means “recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. In the workplace, appreciation can be as simple as saying “thank you” for a job well done, for completing a project quickly, or for coming to a meeting prepared and ahead of time.
In the workplace, appreciation plays a key role in creating a positive organisational culture and strengthening employee-leader relationships. Many studies have revealed that appreciation is one of the proven methods to motivate employees, make them more productive and committed to their jobs.
Why show appreciation in the workplace?
There are lots of reasons why leaders should show appreciation in the workplace. Here are some of them:
- Appreciation improves productivity. When employees know their hard work is appreciated and recognised, they feel that their work is valued. And this motivates them to maintain and improve their great performance.
- Appreciation improves workplace morale. Showing appreciation to an employee creates a ripple effect in the workplace. An employee who feels appreciated is highly likely to show appreciation to their co-workers and other team members.
- Appreciation keeps employees engaged. In addition to improving productivity, showing appreciation in the workplace also increases employee engagement and dedication.
- Appreciation helps build staff loyalty. The Robert Half study show 66% of employees leave their job because of a lack of appreciation.
How to give appreciation
Appreciation should be a daily event and it is giving positive feedback and thanks for good ongoing work. It can be a simple thank you and positive feedback for a special project or special effort.
Recently I was working with a client around the value of appreciation in the workplace. At the time, my client thought the concept sounded fluffy. “Why do we need to give appreciation to people who are being paid to do a job?” However, my client decided that they would embrace the idea of appreciation and give it a go.
As it turned out one of my client’s long-term employees work practices had dropped off. They seemed to be rushing their work and making a lot of errors. To make the situation worse, when ever my client raised these errors with their employee they would be dismissive or they become defensive. This just added to my client’s frustration. Often my client would walk off and go and fix the problem or they would go and complain to another manager about the employee.
Soon after our talk my client noticed that the employee had stayed back late on a Friday night to complete a critical report before they went on leave. They decided to show appreciation and went around and sat down next to their employee and said “thank you I really appreciate that you stayed back and worked on the report especially on a Friday night. This will allow the team to pick up the document on Monday and be ready to deliver a strong pitch on Monday afternoon”
A few weeks later my client came back to me and said that they had noticed some small changes in their employee since showing appreciation. For the first time, the employee has acknowledged that they had made an error. They apologized and said that they needed to slow down and ask more questions.
Now it could be that the employee needed a break and that they have come back to work with a new perspective. But the reality is my client could see that they had spent so much time focusing on what their employee was not doing right and they had lost sight of the positives. They could also see that they had contributed to the situation by not being honest and specific with their feedback about what was expected.
Appreciation is a powerful everyday tool that managers and leaders can use with their staff. Unfortunately, it is a greatly underutilized and many managers that I have worked with say “why should I have to say thank you and appreciate someone who is just doing their job that they are paid to do”.
Appreciation can be as simple as giving quality time to an employee and taking an interest in their career and personal development.
Appreciation can be shown to the whole team and this helps build engagement and a culture that everyone wants to be part of.