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ATD Blog

Make Appreciation a Major Part of Your Work Culture

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Appreciation, a simple term with volumes of depth to it, ironically is a lesser-used practice.

In one of the workshops I conduct, we play an interesting game called “The King’s Chair.” King is a title for the supreme and the powerful, but what is the connotation of this term in the sphere of L&D? Does it have to do with our supreme position in the organization, or the power we may possess to get things done?

Well, it’s neither of these. The real answer is a simple term: appreciation. The person who is seated on the king’s chair feels like one because they are showered with appreciation for their work, their conduct, and their accomplishments. Research has shown that words of appreciation in the workplace are directly connected to job satisfaction and happiness at work. Studies show that more than 70 percent of workers admit they are motivated to work with sincerity when their managers express appreciation for the effort they put in.

But how can we really go about appreciating others and their work?

Appreciation is not only verbal, but also actionable. We can choose to use different ways of expressing our appreciation for others. Here are some tips:

  • Make giving appreciation a habit, and do not miss the opportunity to acknowledge someone’s efforts.
  • Make your employees part of your decisions. Discuss, debate, and come to a conclusion with their input.
  • Be genuine. Do not fake appreciation; your body language will give away your true feelings.

Of course, appreciation is not limited to the above. There are many more ways to show appreciation.

Example 1: Tomar and Katie were a part of a team that ran a program on customer centricity. The project was massive, including more than 5,000 employees. To acknowledge their endeavors, their manager, Karl, made sure to thank and appreciate their consistent contribution in meetings with the team. This boosted their spirit by a great margin. What’s more, once the project was completed, Karl met with them individually to discuss growth opportunities and chart out a career road map.


Example 2: A team leader in a small but leading company in the field of smart glass manufacturing has a unique way of showing her appreciation. Once every month, she has the team celebrate success by getting together in an informal, relaxed environment. This gives everyone in the team a chance to destress, unwind, and express appreciation for achievements—big and small.

Ready to get started showing appreciation for your team? Try these tactics:

  • Have a set event to recognize talent on a weekly or monthly basis. Give the initiative a name like “Talent of the Month” or “Pride of the Department” or “Star of the Week.”
  • Give personal days to recognize significant dates in your employees’ lives, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and so forth, to let them know you care. This takes your employees’ motivation to magical levels. They feel not only appreciated but also that they belong.
  • E-cards are another way of showing appreciation. If you think a team member needs a boost or recognition, acknowledge it by sending a simple email or e-card.
  • Give a paid day off randomly to an employee who has worked extra hours or has tirelessly worked to achieve a major goal. A surprise vacation day shows appreciation and is a good way to work toward better work-life balance.

These are just a few suggestions; there are many more innovative and creative ways to express appreciation on both a personal and organizational level. Bottom line: Always acknowledge and appreciate your employees. As H. Jackson Brown, Jr. rightly said, “Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.”

About the Author

Mehul Darooka is a talent development consultant focused on teambuilding, management development, communication skills, and sales and marketing. Contact him via email at [email protected].

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