Benefits of Employee Appreciation
We all crave appreciation, even when we already know we’ve done a job well. When is the last time a coworker or boss showed appreciation for what you do? Do you remember how it made you feel?
In the 1940s, Lawrence Lindahl conducted a study on employee motivation. The results may surprise you. During the study, supervisors and their employees were asked, “What motivates an employee?”
The number one answer was “appreciation for a job well done.”
This is pretty amazing for a number of reasons. One is that appreciation is free! Motivating an employee doesn’t always need to come from bonuses or pay increases. Simply noticing a good job and offering praise can be a huge motivator.
You might be thinking that our culture and workplace culture may have changed since the 1940s. It was a long time ago, that’s true. But these study results have been replicated in multiple studies since then. Time and time again, employees have made it clear that hearing a leader show appreciation makes a huge difference in morale and happiness at work.
Here are the 5 Ideas to Create an Atmosphere of Employee Appreciation
- Be an Appreciation Role Model. Compliment a team member in front of others. This both boosts the morale of the employee you’re complimenting and communicates to others that showing appreciation is something they can do, too.
- Give Regular Coaching Feedback. Be a coach and let people know that you want to help them perform and succeed. Try making suggestions, instead of criticizing. We all prefer recommendations instead of people told what we should and shouldn’t do!
- Give Immediate Praise on a Job Well Done. The closer the reward happens to the behavior that triggered it, the more powerful the association between the good behavior and the reward will be. Make sure to show appreciation as soon as possible so that an employee connects those positive feelings with the job they did well. This will increase their motivation even more. On the spot positive feedback is the trend now! Forget about waiting for annual review. Remember to “catch them doing something right” as recommended in the classic must read: The One Minute Manager.
- Send a Thank You Message When You Notice Someone Doing a Good Job. Having an encouraging message, note or email gives your team member a tangible reminder of your appreciation they can revisit again later.
- Make appreciation part of your daily routine. Set aside a few minutes each day show appreciation…whether it’s to jot a quick note or to simply connect with an employee or team member who’s doing a great job.
Appreciation Doesn’t Need Bells and Whistles
The most effective kind of appreciation is sincere and unstructured. Resist the temptation to create some sort of complicated employee appreciation program or tie words of appreciation with other incentives, like bonus programs. Those other ways of saying thank you are great for other purposes, but if you want your employees to receive the best benefits—and feel the most motivation—from your appreciation, keep it simple and genuine.
Get more insight on employee motivation and appreciation in our post on Performance Management.
More Insight on Employee Motivation
Another way to build a connected team is to discover what motivates each of your team members. The Career Values Scale test will help you understand each employee’s key motivations, values, preferences, and needs. Taking the test together also provides a great team-building activity. Try the test and reap the rewards of boosting your team’s effectiveness based on their individual personalities.
Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert