We all like to feel appreciated. In fact, appreciation is one of the most powerful drivers of action, and therefore one of the most powerful forms of motivation within the workplace. When you show somebody you’re grateful for their hard work, they’ll often want to work harder in the future. Of course, if an employee doesn’t feel appreciated, they will likely start to look for a job elsewhere.
What is Appreciation?
Appreciation is the simple act of acknowledging a person’s value. Instead of just being recognized for their accomplishments, appreciation allows the recipient to feel valued, seen, liked, connected, and have a sense of meaning. The focus isn’t on their accomplishments but instead their worth as a colleague and a human being.
As humans, we crave validation, and we love to be loved. This is why appreciation is such a powerful tool for driving performance in the workplace. The beauty is you don’t have to wait to validate your coworkers or employees for special occasions. You can share your appreciation – even small moments – throughout the year so that others feel valued all year long.
9 Tips to Express Appreciation
Looking for ideas about how to praise and thank your coworkers and employees? Although opportunities can be endless, here are nine ways you can express your appreciation today.
It might seem so simple but one of the best things you can do for those you work with is to put down your phone, avoid distractions, and genuinely listen to what they’re saying.
2. Say thank you.
If you asked a coworker to help you on a certain project and they delivered, be sure to thank them for their efforts. To go one step further, be sure to also say please often. A more gracious, polite, civilized workplace is appreciated by all.
3. Don’t fake it.
Let’s be honest. Most of us can spot insincerity a mile away. If you want your appreciation to feel real and more than just an item on a checklist, it has to be genuine. Show your sincerity by being specific when describing why you appreciate them.
4. Learn your coworker’s interests.
Questions and acknowledgments about their family, their weekend, their hobbies, or special events they attended will always be welcome. Your genuine interest will cause people to feel valued and cared about. You can do this by demonstrating your interest regularly by asking questions such as, “How did your partner’s competition go?”
If you want to genuinely share that you care about a coworker, take time throughout the week to check on them and ask how they are doing. People often don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. By asking how they are feeling and what they’re challenged by right now can help communicate to them that you care.
6. Be specific about what you value about a coworker.
If you are proactive about doing this, not just when a person did something great, it can be an incredibly powerful gift. It can positively affect how your colleagues feel about themselves, your relationship with them, and the culture of the team.
7. Make it timely.
Although appreciation shouldn’t just be shown during major accomplishments, you should make sure it is shared appropriately. Do not wait six months down the road to state that you value them for something they did this week.
8. Present a personalized gift.
If you have the opportunity to do so, occasionally present a small gift to your coworkers based on their interests. Even a small token of appreciation by buying them a cup of coffee will help light up their day. This same feeling can be accomplished through greeting cards. You can give a card for no reason at all, to celebrate a special day like a birthday, or to offer sympathy when a coworker is ill or experiences a family death.
9. Celebrate work anniversaries and milestones.
If you are a supervisor, be sure to reward your employees for their dedication and loyalty to your organization by recognizing their accomplishments and thanking them for your continued efforts. Be sure to also take the time to celebrates an employee’s major work and personal milestones. Whether they just earned an advanced degree or certificate or are celebrating the birth of a child, make sure you take the time to celebrate with them and remind them you care.
A Culture of Value
No matter if you are a Fortune-500 CEO or in an entry-level position, it’s critical for you to spread appreciation in the workplace, build a supportive community, and recognize the great efforts others are creating each day. People want to feel valued for their efforts. They want to know that they are heard, seen, and cared for. If you want to build a culture where others want to support you and want to work alongside you, you need to share your appreciation. Remember, what gets recognized, gets repeated.