How Appreciation Creates Motivation


Appreciation is the glue that holds relationships and friendships together.  The need to feel appreciated is so strong that the lack of appreciation is often cited as the reason friendships and romances fall apart. When you stop and think of your own relationships – it sounds about right. But what about in the workplace – how important is appreciation there? After all, isn’t a paycheck appreciation enough?

No, not at all. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number 1 reason people quit their jobs is lack of appreciation. Does that surprise you?

Appreciation is more than just saying “thank you.”  According to consultant Noelle Nelson, author of The Power of Appreciation in Business:

“Appreciation is actually paying attention to, caring about and amplifying the value or the worth of any person or thing. And it responds scientifically to like. In other words when you see and acknowledge the value in someone or something they will respond by giving you value.”

Adopting a “culture of appreciation” takes some effort but the rewards are tremendous. Sure, morale improves and people are generally happier and more upbeat. But that is just a side benefit, really. The big payoff is how appreciation creates motivation. This was discovered in an extensive study of some 31 organizations over 26,000 employees. Noelle says the study showed that, “Companies that recognized employee value and truly appreciate their people have triple the financial return of companies that don’t. So, appreciation is actually incredibly good for your bottom line.”

Appreciation and gratitude are not the same thing. Gratitude is something that happens after the fact. Someone does something nice or completes a project and you say thank you. That’s gratitude. Appreciation is different.

“We really believe that appreciation focuses on the value of the person and that it’s not just when they perform well.” Says Paul White author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. “Because we know we all make mistakes, we all have bad days and if you only feel valued and appreciated when you’re doing well, that’s really not the message we want to send.”

Employers sometimes struggle with exactly how to express appreciation. Paul White believes there are several ways to show appreciation in the workplace including:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Tangible gifts
  • Appropriate physical touch

In other words, it doesn’t take a lot to make someone feel appreciated. Small gestures pay big dividends.

To some this may seem a bit too “touch-feely”– something that doesn’t belong in the workplace. What with all that appreciating going on how does anyone get their work done? However, Paul White says that when people feel valued and appreciated good things happen. “People show up, they show up on time, there’s less turn over, there is an increase in customer satisfaction, there’s less conflict, there’s a more positive work environment.”

So why don’t organizations do more to show their appreciation? It certainly seems to be well worth the effort.

Clearly, if lack of appreciation is the biggest reason people quit their jobs, their friends and their lovers, then giving appreciation appears to be a very powerful tool for doing good.

What do you think? Please leave a comment in the box at the very bottom of this web page. I really appreciate the feedback.

Here are my affiliate links to the books mentioned:

photo credit: KateWares via photopin cc

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