Appreciation – The most valuable yet underutilised feedback tool by Violet Dhu

Having worked in corporate communication training for over 10 years now, one of the things I hear most from employees is that they “don’t feel appreciated.” And on the flip side, from managers, I hear the response, “Why do I need to thank someone for just doing their job, for which they are well paid?” So, why all the fuss about showing appreciation, and why do I consider it such a valuable, yet underutilised, feedback tool.

What is appreciation. My definition of appreciation in the workplace is when someone (usually a leader) expresses a feeling of admiration, approval, or gratitude for good work.

Robert Half, an Australian researcher found that appreciation is one of the top 3 factors that makes Australian employees happy.  And research from found that 39% of employees don’t feel appreciated at work. 

Here are some reasons why we should all consider showing appreciation more and making it a habit.

Appreciation is Low cost 

The thing with appreciation is that in terms of the cost of the reward, it costs you, the team leader, and the organisation very little. And the receiver of the appreciation gets a great boost and benefits from this positive feedback. Other rewards, like bonuses and perks, cost money, and often a team leader is not in a position to give them. But you can always give appreciation.

Appreciation with care and effort produces the best results

Taking your time and carefully planning how you can show appreciation to your employees will produce the best results. It is this effort that the receiver sees and values.  Real appreciation is not a glancing or passing thank you that is done with no care or effort. Real appreciation is planned and heartfelt and designed for that individual.

Appreciation reduces turnover, absenteeism and presenteeism

Appreciation has been shown to have a positive impact on work culture and employees’ loyalty to a team and a leader. Those workplaces where appreciation and positive feedback are practised have reduced turnover and have less absenteeism and presenteeism. Staff that feel appreciated and valued are less likely to leave. This has a significant economic benefit to the organisation as we all know it costs a significant amount to recruit and train a new employee if someone leaves.

Make appreciation a habit

Appreciation should be a habit, it should be made the norm and not the unexpected. There is a common theme that we all know when something goes wrong or when we have made a mistake, a leader is quick to point it out. But when things go great, employees hear nothing. Mistakes and errors need to be pointed out and corrected, but we can also make a habit of pointing out and acknowledging good work and great results. Make appreciation a habit in your leadership style.

Final word: Be authentic and genuine with your appreciation

Now that you know the value and benefits of appreciation, there may be a temptation to just go through the motions and say thank you often, without really meaning it. As mentioned earlier real appreciation does take some effort. 

Feedback forms or performance evaluations where you tick a box are seen as not being genuine and authentic. Tick-box evaluations don’t fully demonstrate appreciation. 

Remember, give appreciation because you genuinely appreciate someone’s efforts and work. Be authentic in how you deliver the appreciation. A 5-star Uber rating is great, but what did you really like about that Uber ride? Let them know as they will appreciate that even more. 

Appreciation is a valuable tool that anyone can use. It costs little and is valued by the receiver. Indeed, appreciation is one of the most underutilised tools in a leader’s toolbox. And if more managers and leaders showed appreciation, workplaces would be a lot easier to work in. 

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