Demonstrating appreciation for your employees and team members is one of the greatest tools in your leadership toolbox. Not only does it contribute to a positive and productive office culture, but it also inspires loyalty and dedication among your employees.
I’ve developed a habit of telling my team and my clients, “Thank you for everything that you do!” in order to express my appreciation for them and their work. I’ve seen firsthand the incredible effects it has had on my company, so I want to give you some tips and resources that you can use to show your employees appreciation in your own business.”
Does showing appreciation at work really make that much of a difference?
According to the Harvard Business Review, when employees or team members are happy, satisfied or appreciated, they are 31% more productive and increase sales by 37%. Other studies have found that productivity goes up by 40% when employees are recognized for their contributions.
Recognition has such a big impact on performance because it satisfies some of our most basic needs as humans. As Stephen Covey, the author of the bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People writes, “Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.
There are two key things to consider:
Everyone needs to feel like they belong somewhere, whether it in a family, a team or a community, and that they have esteem – i.e. opportunities to achieve, build confidence and be respected by others.
Each person on the team plays an important role in showing appreciation at work. In order to maintain a healthy work environment, it’s essential that each team member appreciates the others. This isn’t just the lead agent or team member’s job!
You may have heard the saying, “You can go faster alone, but you can go farther together”. This is absolutely true in my own business. I know that I cannot accomplish my goals without my team’s support. Each member plays a unique and vital role.
Just like a Real Estate Agent, as a Coach I am engaged one-on-one with my clients. Yet, in order to truly support my clients to achieve the best possible outcomes, I need my team to execute the systems in my business consistently and effectively. I know it is likely the same for you in your business.
It’s important to remember that we need each other. While each person has a particular set of responsibilities, these duties are interrelated and dependent on each other. When I say “dependent”, I don’t mean as weakness, but rather as a lovely and exciting dance routine that entertains the audience, as well as each of us!
Every individual has their own particular way of feeling appreciated. Gary D. Chapman, author of the popular The Five Love Languages, has also co-written a useful work-related version of that text called The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Paul White. The book focuses on how to empower organizations through encouraging people.
Chapman and White identify these Languages of Appreciation at work:
1. Words of Affirmation – Spoken and written words can be very effective ways of expressing appreciation. Some people prefer to have these words communicated privately, while others value being praised publicly.
2. Quality Time – This time can take different forms at work, including socializing with coworkers, working jointly on a community event or project, or having someone take the time to listen to them.
3. Acts of Service – These include working on a difficult task alongside a team member or helping each other out when a big wave of work comes in.
4. Tangible Gifts – Pay attention to each employee’s interests, hobbies, and favorite foods, then offer them a small gift that shows you know them and what they enjoy.
5. Physical Touch – Appropriate forms of physical touch in professional relationships can include a high five, fist bump, pat on the back, or congratulatory handshake.
Which of these “languages of appreciation” resonate most with you? Which is least important to you? It’s important to be aware of your least dominant language because it may be MOST important to one of your employees!
We highly recommend that you and your team members take this quiz about the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace ($15). See a sample of the results here. Depending on your team members’ results, you can tailor your acts of appreciation to have the greatest impact!
To start, it is useful to identify the difference between recognition and appreciation.
Recognition focuses primarily on behavior. I often recommend that my clients read The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard in addition to The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. Blanchard stresses the importance of catching people doing something right. This is helpful for giving performance feedback, but pointing out good work is not the same as appreciating that work.
Appreciation entails valuing each member as a person as well as recognizing the performance they have contributed to the team.
Take the time to figure out what the predominant ‘languages of appreciation’ are for each person on your team and watch how your success together multiples.
We recommend that you make it a daily habit to show recognition for your employees, team members, vendors, affiliates, and clients. Other big occasions include your team members’ birthdays, their work anniversaries, and National Administrative Professionals Week, which is the last full week of April.
Now go forth and spread the love!