Appreciation for Employees: a Tool to Understand Our People

Appreciation for Employees: a Tool to Understand Our People

Yes, employees want to be heard, and appreciation for employees does matter. However, have we been doing it properly? Let us show you the alarming impacts of not doing it right.

Workers feel a significant gap in how managers show appreciation for employees. In a survey of over 1,000 employees conducted by Reward Gateway, 82% of managers say that appreciation of their employees is a priority. However, over 60% of workers still feel that their co-workers could be appreciated more regularly, especially when they do good work.

So what’s the connection to that? According to a study by O.C. Tanner, 79% of employees who leave their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as one of the main reasons they leave. If we feel we’ve done it right, don’t come to a conclusion too soon.

Appreciation for Employees: the Big Question

When we think we have given everything to our people, the question is, does appreciation for employees we have offered positively affect them? Meanwhile, so far, we may believe that appreciation equates to recognition.

However, as cited in Harvard Business Review’s “Why Employees Need Both Recognition and Appreciation,” recognition and appreciation differ.

Recognition refers to giving formal or informal positive feedback based on people’s performance. Officially, we may award employees an award, a bonus, a promotion, or an increase. Informally, we thank you verbally or send them a handwritten letter. 

Recognition may be useful, but there is a limitation—it seems conditional because it’s performance-based. In contrast, appreciation is the recognition of an individual’s natural worth. The focus is not on their achievements but on their worth as human beings.

In conclusion, recognition is giving attention to what people do, and appreciation is understanding who people are.

Appreciation for Employees: How to Do It Right?

Managers, showing both recognition and appreciation is vital for our people. The American Association of Psychology survey found that close to 93% of employees who feel valued say they are motivated to do the best they can at work.

In addition, more than 53% of employees stated that they stayed longer in their company as they got the right appreciation, according to the Glassdoor Employee Appreciation Survey.

So, how to appreciate employees who work for us? How do we utilize appreciation to understand our people? At least we have some of these components:

1. Safe and positive surroundings.

Imagine if our people are nervous and uncomfortable. Will our employees-appreciation ideas be effective? It is thus crucial to create an environment that promotes positivity, trust, and security.

Ensure their workplaces can make them feel physically and emotionally safe. When people feel comfortable and safe around them, they are more likely to welcome our appreciation.

2. Value and validate people in their favorite way.

Some of our members have different ways of getting appreciated and acknowledged. Some prefer to be recognized publicly, on their own or with their team, while others want handwritten notes sent home.

Yes, no size suits everyone. That’s why we must better understand our people, build strong relationships and feel connected. So, let’s move to the next step.

3. Strong relationships with a feeling of connection.

To appreciate them better, make sure we get to know them in person. Being specifically appreciative shows that we care about them. How do we make this work? Just start by finding out what their family and interests look like.

With a strong relationship, any feedback we give can strengthen the bond. In this case, we will see that our efforts to appreciate them bear fruit. 

4. Simply hold a check-in meeting. 

We’ve been discussing the ideas, and finally, we need a tool to make them come to fruition. It sounds practical, but it could be beneficial. Given our busy schedules, a follow-up session can be a reasonable way to connect with them.

Get an update from our people. Ask them how they are performing or what challenges they are facing. The most important thing is that we carry this out honestly and genuinely.


Remember, appreciation for employees philosophically differs from recognition; it’s about understanding them as humans. Let’s wrap up this session with the statement from Theodore Roosevelt, “Nobody cares what you know until they know how much you care.” So, get the best of it.