The Easiest and Most Impactful Way to Lead: Show Appreciation

Thriving Workplace Culture

Appreciation is an essential element of a thriving workplace culture. It needs to be sincere and given in a timely manner. Fuel First answers a question about appreciation: How can I be intentional and authentic in my appreciation of employees?

Think back to a time when you put a lot of effort into something. Maybe it was a previous job where you wanted to show your manager that you were invested in the team. After going above and beyond, you were met with silence. You were pleasantly surprised a week later when your manager recognized your efforts at a team meeting. This illustrates the importance of appreciation and the timeliness of giving appreciation. Not receiving appreciation could affect your performance. The opposite also applies—receiving appreciation can boost confidence to keep you interested in being a top performer. 

Appreciation is a necessary part of a thriving workplace culture. Many employers overlook the potency of appreciation because it doesn’t take a lot of effort to say “thank you” or “well done” to others. We’re here to tell you that, yes, it is relatively simple to show appreciation, but it is nonetheless an essential part of an organization’s culture.  

According to the Harvard Business Review, when asked what leaders could do to improve engagement, 59% of respondents replied, “give recognition.” We could easily spend an entire day talking about this subject alone and have already dedicated another Ask Fuel First article on the Power of Thank You. In the meantime, you should know that appreciation is one of the simplest changes you can make in your organization and will yield the greatest result.  

What Can You do to Show Appreciation? 

The easiest way to improve engagement or boost morale is simply to say, “Thank you”. In a survey by the Cicero Group “50% of employees believe being thanked by managers improved their relationship and built trust with their higher-ups.” When you recognize the contributions of others, you reinforce the kind of behavior you want to see again. More importantly, people who feel their efforts are noticed and their work makes a difference are more likely to go the extra mile for the organization.  

An example of how Fuel Medical shows appreciation to employees is by sending birthday cards. We know, many organizations send birthday cards, but these are a bit different. First, they aren’t cards with a standard printed birthday greeting mailed in mass. Rather, the owners of Fuel Medical and the Director of Human Resources each include a handwritten message detailing why they appreciate the employee. They also include a gift card, but the real magic here is in the personal touch.  

We once overheard a couple of employees talking about the birthday cards they had recently received as both of their birthdays were just a few days apart. When one of the employees mentioned that he’d received a birthday card from the company, the other remarked how she got her card too. She was so touched by the messages written in the card she read through it three times! She then shared it with her husband as she boasted that Fuel Medical cared more about her as an employee than his employer did because the Fuel Medical owners took the time to send her a personalized birthday card.  

This shows how a small gesture can have immense meaning if done intentionally. Sending a birthday card is simple and writing a personalized message doesn’t cost a cent. The power of a sincere thanks cannot be overestimated.   

Another way Fuel Medical shows appreciation for employees is through our Kudos board. Yours could be a bulletin board or it could be a page on the internal website dedicated to giving Kudos. This is where employees can share their appreciation towards their colleagues. If someone notices that an employee went out of their way to be collaborative or demonstrated one of the Fuel Medical core values, they can write a Kudos detailing the act. Employees can access the Kudos page at any time, plus each owner selects a Kudos to read aloud during the all-staff weekly meeting. To top it off, there is a drawing at the end of each month. Everyone who was mentioned in a Kudos is automatically entered into the drawing for a gift card to enjoy a meal with a co-worker or family member. During the all-staff meeting, a prize wheel spins to reveal the winners’ names. The Kudos program not only allows employees to show appreciation for their colleagues but also helps the entire organization connect with its core values.   

If you want to show appreciation to your employees, consider the following guidelines: 

  • Appreciation should be prompt. Tell someone that you appreciate their effort when it happens. Don’t wait.  
  • It must be sincere. Employees know when you’re not being sincere or are routine with your feedback, which can have an especially negative effect. 
  • Make it personal. Call employees by their name. Give them details of why you appreciate them.  

What Does Employee Appreciation Do for My Organization? 

Showing appreciation helps keep employees engaged. If they feel valued, they are more likely to put a lot of effort into doing their job well. It’s proven to reduce burn-out. Besides, appreciation is contagious. If you start saying “thank you” and recognizing employees for their efforts, they will do the same for their colleagues. These actions are then extended to patients. It is just one more way to establish a thriving workplace culture.  

If you want to put the ideas in this article into practice, identify two employees in your organization that you want to recognize.  When you acknowledge their efforts, be sure to be specific about why you appreciate them and state the impact their work has on the team, organization or patient.  This can be verbal or written.  Then check out other Ask Fuel First articles and videos to learn about topics that relate to your practice.

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