Answers to Common Questions about Appreciation
When people are introduced to the concept of communicating appreciation in the workplace, a number of questions are frequently raised. Sometimes the questions seem more like a defensive response, with the individual putting up an obstacle that they hope will relieve them from having to take the topic seriously. But many times, the person seems to be thinking through how the concept would apply to their daily work life.
So, let’s identify and address some of the most frequently raised issues.
“I barely have time to get my normal, daily tasks done each day. How will I find the time to show appreciation to my team members?”
I tell those I train that we are committed to not creating another to-do list for them.
We have found that when team members feel valued and appreciated, many time-wasting activities and tasks melt away. Consider how your week would go if your colleagues showed up on time, didn’t call in sick as frequently, followed policies and procedures, did not complain about little things not directly relevant to their tasks, did not create conflict with others, quit gossiping, were more productive, and worked to solve problems encountered (rather than ignoring them or passing them on to someone else). Each of these results have been connected to staff feeling truly valued.
We also help workers quit wasting time and energy doing things that their coworkers don’t value (and even, sometimes, dislike!). By discovering what is important to different coworkers, then managers, supervisors, and colleagues can be more efficient and effective in their actions.
The challenge of busyness is addressed more fully in chapter five of The Vibrant Workplace and in this blog and this video.
“Do you show appreciation to everyone? What about those who really aren’t performing well?”
Our answer to this question is rooted in a foundational belief we hold: every person is important and has value, and their value at work is not solely dependent on their performance level. Employees are more than ‘production units.’
One important factor to note is that most production-based recognition programs wind up only touching the top 10-15% of a team, which leaves the big middle group of 50-60% not hearing anything positive. Coupled with the fact that most people leave jobs because they don’t feel valued (not for more money, as most managers believe), this creates a risk of losing the majority of your team members – which is exactly what leaders don’t need right now.
Secondly, coworkers who aren’t performing as well as they should be are often the very individuals who need encouragement and support so they will invest the energy into growing and improving. The key in this situation is to find a character quality (commitment to their family), behavior outside of work (training for a half-marathon), or a “non-behavior” (they don’t complain or gossip about others) that you can call attention to.
“What’s the big deal about appreciation? Why is it so important? Yes, I want my team members to feel good about themselves, but to be honest, I’m more concerned about getting the work done. Sometimes the emphasis seems more like ‘we want everyone to be happy’ psychobabble.”
One of the most common misconceptions about communicating appreciation is that the primary goal is to make others feel good. Not true. While this is obviously a result we desire, from a business / organizational point of view, the real goal is to help create a healthy, functional workplace.
Lots of research, over the course of several years, has found that when team members (both employees and supervisors) feel valued and appreciated, good results follow. One of the most relevant benefits is longer retention of current employees, as well as creating a work environment which is more attractive to hiring new team members. Practically speaking, that means lower staff turnover and increased ability to hire new employees.
But there are many more positive results which have been shown to be related to a workforce that feels truly valued – greater productivity, increased profits, higher customer service ratings, less employee theft, fewer on-the-job accident reports, and managers who enjoy their work more. (We have 50+ research citations in chapter two of our book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.) In fact, the Gallup organization found that communicating appreciation effectively is one of the top factors that leads to healthy organizations.
Resources for Other Questions
We know that there are other common questions asked about appreciation in the workplace, this addresses a few. For information on additional topics search our blog, our Appreciation at Work channel on YouTube, or the “Learn” page on our website which features numerous videos, blogs and podcasts addressing a wide variety of topics related to appreciation.
Categories 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Appreciation, Busyness, Managing By Appreciation, Questions, Workplace Culture