Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud. Any of us will put out more and better ideas if our efforts are appreciated. ~ Alex F Osborn

Have you recently appreciated a co-worker or your employee at work?

Is appreciating your employees part of your leadership plan and process?

75% and 80% of American workers said they got little or no recognition from their managers in the last year.”

With stats like this, chances are you’d say “no” to both the above questions. And here’s why you must make this a practice at work – not to increase your likability but more to motivate your employees, improve morale and and increase retention at work.

How many managers are actually using appreciation to energize their workforce? And, why they should be doing it on a regular basis – appreciation and recognition are critical to talent  retention.

Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, “Make me feel important.” Never forget this message when working with people.
— Mary Kay Ash


Compliment often and with Honesty

Just saying “Good job” might not be the best way to get the praise across. Display sincerity and be specific in praising your employees. Send an email to the employee and if you wish CC to the HR personnel or another senior manager in your division. On being specific, mention the specific task or the project you were impressed with for this particular employee, if the employee is a good team player, add that to the testimonial.
Don’t be a miser when showering words of praises towards your employees or coworkers, and neither should you present false praise; be honest and to the point.
Empathetic employers have happier employees; invest wisely in your people and your company shall retain best talents and render the best in performance.

Follow this best practice on showing appreciation – let him/her know verbally and in written. The verbal praise makes it an instant confidence booster  and the written endorsement will benefit his/her future.

A 10-year study of 200,000 managers and employees suggests that praising people for a job well done may lead to bigger profits, says Fortune’s Anne Fisher. She mentions a book, “The Carrot Principle“, a fascinating book by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, the subtitle of this books says- “How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance” – the basic idea is simple: People will work harder and more enthusiastically for an appreciative boss, and companies that praise topnotch performance are more profitable than those that don’t.

What goes around comes around; employees must also endorse and praise managers for their work, verbally and in written format as well.

Checkpoint– As an employee how many times have you shown verbal or written appreciation to your boss?


Encourage and Motivate your Employees

As a manager and a leader your responsibilities toward employee motivation go beyond praise and recognition – you must be strive to motivate and encourage your employees to better performance and excellence.

In an article in, Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck has some definite opinions when it comes to being open-minded. In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck discusses why some people excel and others don’t. When employees fall short, praise them for trying, and allow them to talk about their struggles so that knowledge gaps aren’t a target of shame. “Convey that a lot of learning is necessary to do the job well,” Dweck says. “The employer is a guide and a retarget, not a judge.”


Tailor Rewards to Employee Expectations

There are many ways to recognize competencies at work and we all do want to be recognized for what we do. But the best rewards are those that you truly want. Tailoring rewards to employee expectations might be the best idea to make your employee happier.

One of the ways to find out about employee expectations is to survey to find more about his/her wants and desires.

Endorse or initiate a regular practice at your workplace of recognizing good talented constituents with recognition at company meetings through certificates of “Employee of the month / year”, or through gift certificates on a job well done in a project. All these are added incentives towards making your constituents feel praised and recognized in an organization. And of course a perk or a raise is always what will help retain the employee in the long-term. But even if your company cannot afford a raise at the present moment, always keep on track on simple free recognition to boost employee morale.

Kouzes and Posner in their classic book: The Leadership Challenge say:
“Believing in others is an extraordinary powerful force in propelling performance. Feeling affirmed and appreciated increases a person’s sense of self-worth, which in turn precipitates success in all areas of one’s life. Research and everyday experience confirm that people with high self-esteem, of all ages and levels of education and socioeconomic backgrounds, “feel unique, competent, secure, empowered, and connected to the people around them”. If we have someone in our life who believes in us, and who constantly reinforces that belief when interacting with us, we’re strongly influenced by that support.”


Quoting Chip Conley of Joie de Vivre Hospitality from the Inc. Magazine,
” When you are going through rough times, it’s easy to have depressing meetings and talk about things that aren’t working instead of reminding each other about things that are. So in 2002, he last time business was hurting as it is now, we started ending our weekly meetings a bit differently. During the last 10 minutes, anyone could raise his or her hand and recognize someone in the company for outstanding work. … Just something small like that has had big, positive effect on our business.”


Susan Adam in a article says:

Expressing appreciation can be an extremely effective way to motivate employees, yet few bosses do it.

Although appreciation and praise, especially when expressed specifically, inevitably make employees feel more loyal and more engaged, all too few bosses practice the art of gratitude, says Chester Elton, a motivation consultant. A recent study found that between 75% and 80% of American workers said they got little or no recognition from their managers in the last year. Together with a co-author, Adrian Gostick, Elton has written four books on using recognition and praise to boost results, most recently The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance.

In that book, Elton and Gostick include the results of a survey they commissioned of 200,000 American workers that demonstrates a link between bosses who recognize employees with praise, along with other signs of appreciation like holiday parties and handwritten notes, and a company’s financial performance. The survey shows return on equity three times higher for companies that engage in employee appreciation. Their workers are more creative and more dedicated to the business’s success, and they have a stronger bond to their company and its goals, according to the research.


We have talked about the difficult bosses, the struggle of good communication links between employees and managers and the traits of good and bad employers in the past. Perhaps difficult and bad bosses might not be so negative after all if they can include even a pint of regular appreciation offerings to their schedules!


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