A simple word, with French origins, appreciation conveys a multitude of emotions – approval, gratitude, recognition, value, admiration, affection, estimation, pleasure, regard, to name a few. If there has been anything that has probably remained constant and unchanged throughout the ages, it is human nature and its innate desire for appreciation. Being appreciated is one of the single most uplifting acts.
So why should the workplace be an exception? Since the average adult spends a major portion of his or her waking hours at work, it is crucial that they feel happy at work. A key motivator, appreciation in the workplace has manifold benefits; it can lead to improved productivity, enhanced employee engagement and morale, greater loyalty, reduced attrition, etc. Appreciation conveys that the employee’s contribution matters and is valued. It highlights the fact that their work is important and that they are respected.
Most organizations have reward and recognition programs to celebrate achievements and successes of employees. Rewarding outstanding work, valuing innovation and creativity and recognizing those who go beyond the demands of the role or call of work. Yet, lack of recognition and appreciation of efforts is one of the main reasons why employees quit their jobs, despite the salary, bonuses, and benefits.
Appreciation – A fine art and more.
Appreciation is a straightforward concept. However, most of us struggle with it, irrespective of whether we are the giver or recipient. Appreciation promotes better self – esteem, leading to positive emotions and a feeling of well-being. This in turn positively impacts the workplace, creating enthusiasm and good-will all around. And how it is expressed or conveyed is probably even more significant than what.
At the workplace (or elsewhere), while appreciating, all we need to remember are a few basic rules.
Appreciation should be
Specific and explicit – Phrases like ‘well done, good job’ may convey approval and pleasure, but fail to recognize the specific contribution of the employee to the whole.
Personal and sincere – Appreciation should be sincere and heartfelt. Contrived, perfunctory words of praise are to be completely avoided. The personal touch is crucial; walking up to the employee and expressing clearly and candidly what and why something is being appreciated will have a bigger impact than an email. Appreciating average or pedestrian performances or offering praise because it is expected (but not deserved) can be counter-productive.
Judicious and well-timed – Occasions and opportunities to appreciate abound at the workplace. Appreciation should be conveyed at the right time for it to be effective, it has a greater impact when it is given immediately when due.
A unique, yet simple way of showing appreciation for employees is by using gifting solutions – from cards to experiences; there are a variety of choices that are not only easy -to- administer but have wide acceptance. Personalised and secure gift cards can be customized as per occasion needs and company policies. Besides the tax benefits to the tune of Rs. 5000/- per employee and enhanced purchasing power, premium gifting solution offers the employees the freedom to choose from a plethora of brands and categories, providing for memorable employee experience.
Employee Appreciation Day – Not just one day
Every year, the first Friday in March is celebrated as Employee Appreciation Day worldwide. This year it falls on 2nd March. It is a day to acknowledge the significance and importance of the people who work for and with us, a day to thank them for their efforts throughout the year, a day to reinforce and strengthen the ties between employees and the employers. It is a day to show the employees, your most valuable assets, how vital they are to the company, and how much the company treasures them.
Celebrating with your employees and acknowledging their contribution is wonderful, but what is far more important is to build an organizational culture where employee appreciation and recognition is an on-going process. It fosters a sense of pride in the job, a feeling of being respected and valued, and inculcates a workplace culture of cooperation and teamwork. This, in turn, enhances employee morale and productivity and drives the employee experience.
As Sam Walton said ‘Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.’
So go ahead and make this Employee Appreciation Day special and memorable. And remember to recognize and appreciate their efforts throughout the year too.