Categories for Recognition

Getting Leadership Onboard for Appreciation at Work

Whenever I speak to a group of employees, supervisors, or HR managers, inevitably I hear something like the following: “What am I supposed to do if our management team isn’t interested in appreciation? They are focused on achieving goals and the bottom line – they think communicating appreciation is stupid and a waste of time.” Many leaders aren’t opposed to appreciation. They just don’t understand what communicating appreciation really looks like in daily work life, what it isn’t, and what they can realistically expect appreciation to accomplish in their organization. In recent years, the emphasis has been more on employee... Continue reading...

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May 17, 2021 9:00 am
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Resources for Building Healthy Teams

Dr. Paul White and the Appreciation at Work team have been creating and publishing some new resources to help create healthy workplaces, especially for use in the midst of this difficult time of having team members working remotely (and from home), some working on-site, and others working in a hybrid model (some from home, some at the workplace).  This creates challenges in developing and maintaining healthy work relationships. Dr. White recently completed research with a national sample of remote employees and the results were summarized in an interview with Psychology Today‘s Hope and Resilience writer, Dr. Jamie D. Aten. The... Continue reading...

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October 12, 2020 9:30 am
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Employees Are People, Not Just Work Units

Let me pose some questions for you:   *Are you a person or just a production unit?   *Do you have a life outside of work? (Think: friends, family, interests) *Are you a person, even at work, beyond your role there and what you get done? While performing one’s job as expected is critical, I firmly believe that people have worth and value no matter their level of performance. Every person is a unique individual created by God, and we all are intrinsically valuable—apart from what we do or accomplish. Many employees at all levels, including managers and supervisors, have... Continue reading...

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July 27, 2020 9:00 am
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The Power of Using Stories to Lead

How Effective Leaders Grab the Hearts of their Team Members Most leaders tend to focus on data and factual information. And accurate data is important for making good management decisions. But throughout history, communicating through facts has not been the most utilized method for sharing and developing leadership qualities. Rather, stories have been used more than any other form of verbal expression. For evidence, look to Greek philosophers, wisdom literature from Asia, and the wide range of stories from multiple cultures across the centuries designed to teach guiding principles for life. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius and Jesus all used stories grounded in daily... Continue reading...

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December 2, 2019 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

When asked to compare the various Languages of Appreciation in importance to them, employees overwhelmingly don’t choose tangible rewards as the primary way they want to be shown appreciation. In fact, only 6% of employees identify tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation. To look at the issue from the opposite perspective, employees choose tangible gifts as their least valued way to be shown appreciation almost 70% of the time. Why is this important to know? For two reasons. First, most employee recognition programs emphasize giving gifts as a reward for achieving goals. While there is obviously nothing inherently wrong about... Continue reading...

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November 4, 2019 9:00 am
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Should Appreciation Be Performance Based?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked when I’m conducting training for a business is: Should you show appreciation to someone who isn’t performing well? Tension exists in the world of recognition, employee engagement, and appreciation. There are differences of opinion on the relationship between an employee’s performance and recognizing them. Should you recognize an employee if they aren’t doing well in all areas of performance? Is appreciation independent of performance? To address the issue, I think we need to keep two foundational principles in mind: The purpose of work is to provide goods or services to customers... Continue reading...

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October 21, 2019 8:57 am
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Steps to Meaningful Affirmation

To affirm someone is to say something positive about someone directly to him or her. It is about saying something positive to the person about who he or she is. Or, it could be thanking someone for something he or she has done for you. Think of someone who has done something special for you. Maybe you think the person knows you appreciate the favor, but maybe you’ve never actually told him or her. Consider affirming that person directly, and see what happens. Let’s explore how to do that. Remove insincere phrases. First, remove phrases in your affirmation like “I... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2019 9:00 am
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The Ways People Don’t Want to Be Appreciated

Have you ever: seen a colleague become extremely uncomfortable in the midst of receiving appreciation from their supervisor or manager? tried to show appreciation to one of your co-workers, and it really didn’t go well? been at a company recognition ceremony and watched with discomfort as an award recipient seemed to be in agony while in front of everyone? The focus of our mission at Appreciation at Work is to help colleagues and supervisors learn how to show appreciation to one another in the ways that are meaningful to that person. But we’ve found that people also want to identify... Continue reading...

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July 8, 2019 9:00 am
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Employees Are People, Not Just Work Units

Let me pose some questions for you:   *Are you a person or just a production unit?   *Do you have a life outside of work? (Think: friends, family, interests)   *Are you a person, even at work, beyond your role there and what you get done? While performing one’s job as expected is critical, I firmly believe that people have worth and value no matter their level of performance. Every person is a unique individual created by God, and we all are intrinsically valuable—apart from what we do or accomplish. Many employees at all levels, including managers and supervisors,... Continue reading...

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April 15, 2019 8:22 am
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Why Employee Recognition Isn’t Working

As I have traveled across the country, working with various businesses and organizations, I’ve had the privilege to interact with numerous employees, supervisors, managers and HR professionals. When discussing their employee recognition programs, they report that their current programs aren’t working – they are not having a positive impact on employees or workplace morale. And, in many cases, the ways that most employee recognition programs are implemented actually create negative reactions among team members. Why? Because, as generally implemented, recognition is very different from authentic appreciation. Here is what we found: Recognition is largely about behavior. “Catch them doing what you... Continue reading...

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April 8, 2019 9:00 am
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The Employees You Should Worry About Losing: The Average Ones

Disturbing research was released recently by The Gallup Group, indicating that 87% of the workforce is either not engaged (read: they are there physically but not mentally or emotionally), or totally disengaged (they actually undermine the success of an organization.) This is the highest rate of disengagement ever measured, and is in spite of the fact that over 85% of organizations have an employee recognition program (which obviously aren’t working). Don’t Focus So Much on Tope & Low Performers A basic challenge in working together with others is that not everyone performs at the same level with regard to the... Continue reading...

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March 11, 2019 9:00 am
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Why we should stop ‘recognizing’ employees and start appreciating them

As I have traveled across the country working with businesses and organizations, I’ve had the privilege to interact with HR professionals and corporate trainers. Initially, I was surprised to hear reports from both professionals and front-line workers that the vast majority of employee recognition programs aren’t working. These activities generally are not having a positive impact on employees or workplace morale. In many cases, recognition programs actually are backfiring and creating negative reactions among team members. In fact, the three most common reactions I receive from employees when they talk about “employee recognition” are apathy, sarcasm, and cynicism. Why? As... Continue reading...

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May 14, 2018 8:27 am
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How Leaders Sometimes View Employee Recognition

Maybe you’ve seen what I have seen over 20+ years of trying to help many companies get their employee recognition right. Often I am dealing with managers in the middle – typically from Human Resources – who understand the importance of employee recognition and are trying desperately to rectify low recognition scores reported by their employees on the latest employee engagement survey. Even their director knows they need to improve this engagement line, which has been doing poorly for the past few years. The problem is with the most senior leader. It can be chief executive officer, president, or chief... Continue reading...

March 19, 2018 9:00 am
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Employee Appreciation Day: 365 Days a Year

Did you know that celebrating Employee Appreciation Day can actually create serious problems for bosses and supervisors? This Friday, March 2nd, is Employee Appreciation Day. And while the team at Appreciation at Work certainly applauds the thought, we want to encourage our readers to consider that authentic appreciation is something that can and should be practiced every day of the year, not just on a single, designated ‘holiday.’ At the core of the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace is the knowledge that team members will feel valued when appreciation is communicated: regularly, through the language and actions important... Continue reading...

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February 26, 2018 3:40 pm
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The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace

“Vibrant”: full of energy and enthusiasm. Spirited, lively, energetic, full of life. The vibrant workplace connotes energy, positivity, and growth — characteristics we desire for the environment where we spend the majority of our waking hours. A vibrant workplace draws people to it — quality, talented employees want to work in a healthy context and became a part of the life-exuding process. Employees bring their own gifts and unique personalities to add to the synergy in a dynamic work setting. A vibrant workplace is the antithesis of how many work environments are described: negative, energy-sapping, and toxic to growth. Employees... Continue reading...

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December 4, 2017 10:00 am
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3 Steps to Winning Leadership Support for Employee Recognition Programs

By Mike Byam What is one of the most effective ways to boost employee satisfaction and productivity within your organization? Provide recognition for employee contributions. Seems simple enough right? Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to get  everyone on-board with the idea. I’ve given hundreds of talks about the importance of employee recognition and how to do it right over the course of the last fifteen plus years. The same question keeps coming up, without fail, every time we give a talk on this topic. How do I get my executive team to prioritize employee recognition, and how do I... Continue reading...

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October 16, 2017 3:13 pm
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What Employees Don’t Like About the Holidays

Some people love the holiday season, while others really don’t. In fact, it seems that a growing number of people make comments like: “I hate the holidays!” (Maybe they are just more vocal about it.) To find out more specifics, last year we sent out a survey to find out what about the holiday season employees don’t like – partly for our own education, but also to see if there were practical ideas that when implemented could reduce employees’ irritation. And there are. Over 1,200 of our readers completed our survey (within 24 hours of it being sent out!) On... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2016 11:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

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November 15, 2016 8:00 am
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Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss (Boss’s Day is coming up!)

Boss’s Day is coming up soon, in two weeks, on Monday, October 17.  And no, it isn’t one of those appreciation days that was created recently by Hallmark, the National Association of Employers, or some other group with a potential secondary gain.  (Boss’s Day was first instituted in 1958, by a secretary for an insurance company, if you want to know.) The key questions, if you are an employee, are:  1) Should I do something for my boss?  2) If so, what?  3) How do I keep from looking like I am just “sucking up” to her or him?  Let... Continue reading...

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October 5, 2016 7:30 am
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Should Appreciation Be Performance-Based?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked when I’m conducting training for a business is: Should you show appreciation to someone who isn’t performing well? Tension exists in the world of recognition, employee engagement, and appreciation. There are differences of opinion on the relationship between an employee’s performance and recognizing them. Should you recognize an employee if they aren’t doing well in all areas of performance? Is appreciation independent of performance? To address the issue, I think we need to keep two foundational principles in mind: The purpose of work is to provide goods or services to customers... Continue reading...

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September 12, 2016 12:08 pm
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Do You Have a Colleague Who is Easily Offended?

Not everyone feels appreciated in the same way. The more often we communicate appreciation in the ‘language’ and specific actions preferred by our colleagues, the more likely we are to ‘hit the mark’ in truly encouraging them and helping them feel valued. As we have trained thousands of employees in the concepts of authentic appreciation (both directly and through our Appreciation at Work Certified Facilitators) we have found that: A person’s primary language of appreciation is often the language in which they are most easily offended! So if you have a colleague or supervisor who seems to get upset easily... Continue reading...

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July 23, 2016 12:23 pm
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2, 4, 6, 8 – Who Do We Appreciate? | Advice for Small Businesses

Have you ever had school day memories float back into your mind? They can pop in at the strangest times. I remember many celebratory events at school, both academic and sports related. At each kind of occasion a bunch of classmates would spontaneously burst into a cheerleading rendition of, “2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – Who do we appreciate?” Then they would spell out the name of the person being celebrated and loudly pronounce their name at the end of the cheer. It stirred up everyone’s enthusiasm then and still brings back pleasant memories to me now. Top... Continue reading...

April 25, 2016 10:03 am
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Cutting Through Cynicism With Authentic Appreciation – Part I

  “Are you kidding me? They don’t care about us.” “They don’t give a rip about me. It’s all about my performance. If I meet my performance goals, they’re happy. If I don’t, I’m gone.”   As I’ve worked with more facilities across the country, I’ve become aware that a large number of employees have a very cynical reaction to any discussion of positive communication from their supervisors, and sometimes, even their co-workers. The lack of genuineness in communicating appreciation may be the single biggest barrier to positive workplace relationships. One of the contributing factors to these underlying attitudes of cynicism... Continue reading...

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March 31, 2016 11:04 am
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Managers Have Great Influence, According to Ethics Study

It’s a question I am asked repeatedly. How do you get managers and employees to be better givers of appreciation and recognition? After all, they’re all busy with their jobs. Surely we can’t expect more from them. Let’s examine some research carried out on how to instill ethical behaviors in a corporation. This appears to be significantly harder than trying to teach others to give recognition. We’ll see what we can learn and apply from these findings. Personal Example is a Winner A study by Drs. Avshalom M. Adam and Dalia Rachman-Moore in the Journal of Business Ethics concluded that the example from... Continue reading...

March 4, 2016 7:00 am
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Don’t Forget—People are People, Not Machines or Rats in a Maze

Recently, I had the privilege to meet and listen to Ginger Hardage, Senior Vice President of Culture and Communications for Southwest Airlines. (I happened to be the morning keynote speaker and she was the afternoon keynote speaker.) One phrase used to describe Southwest Airlines was that they were “in the customer service business and just happened to use airplanes to help people get where they want.” Ginger’s presentation was a refreshing reminder that truly successful enterprises understand that their primary calling is to serve the customer and, that by doing so, they will be profitable.   (As opposed to the seemingly... Continue reading...

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January 17, 2016 2:50 pm
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Not Everyone Appreciates Your Type of Appreciation

One of the lessons that aspiring leaders and those who want to continue to develop their leadership abilities must learn is: to be an effective leader, you have to learn how to lead individuals who are different than you. If you don’t, you will only be able to gather and lead those who are similar to you in personality, perspective or ability; and this, in turn, limits what you can accomplish. Although at first the idea seems intriguing, you actually don’t want to lead a group of “Junior You’s”. You may be talented but you can’t do everything, and to... Continue reading...

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February 3, 2015 1:31 pm
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Early Peek (Pre-release) of Rising Above a Toxic Workplace

What Makes a Workplace Toxic? Susan, a competent young professional, looked worn and defeated. In talking about her workplace, she told us that bickering, criticism, and lack of support had spread through her organization – a workplace she used to love. Now, she said, “The tension here is so thick I hate going to work. Actually, right now, I hate my life.” In our book, Rising Above a Toxic Workplace, we surveyed hundreds of employees (and leaders) from a wide range of industries and sectors. We then individually interviewed dozens whose stories intrigued us. From our research we discovered the... Continue reading...

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August 20, 2014 9:27 pm
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Should Appreciation Only Be Communicated When an Employee is Performing Well?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked when I’m conducting a training for a business is:  Should you show appreciation for someone who isn’t performing well? A tension exists in the world of recognition, employee engagement, and appreciation.  There are differences of opinion on the relationship between an employee’s performance and recognizing them.  Should you recognize an employee if they aren’t doing well in all areas of performance?  Is appreciation independent of performance? To address the issue, I think we need to keep two foundational principles in mind: The purpose of work is to provide goods or services to... Continue reading...

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August 11, 2014 12:31 pm
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