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How to show appreciation to all of your team

Discover how consistent employee appreciation can drive success in your organisation. Learn from industry leaders about the tangible benefits of expressing gratitude beyond occasional events like Employee Appreciation Day.

While designated initiatives such as Employee Appreciation Day are certainly a great way to acknowledge employees’ hard work, showing appreciation should be your regular practice.

Why? From fostering a positive working environment to boosting morale and productivity, here different experts discuss the tangible benefits of appreciating your team all year round, and not just on special occasions.

A proven pathway to improved wellbeing and enhanced performance

Lesley Cooper, the Founder and CEO of WorkingWell, emphasises that appreciation, being one of the most fundamental human needs, is directly linked to performance-enhancing states such as a feeling of belonging, trust and psychological safety.

“According to our survey data, nearly 40% of employees say they don’t feel recognised in their roles. Interestingly, when asked about their preferred form of recognition, the answer is consistently personal appreciation. If employees feel appreciated and sincerely valued, they are more likely to feel secure inside a mutually beneficial partnership, rather than trapped in an unfulfilling one.”

Research indicates that expressing gratitude at work improves people’s wellbeing and empowers them to have a better stress response during challenging moments. “A sense of security among managers and colleagues is key to productivity, creativity, engagement and the release of discretionary effort. Genuine and tangible appreciation of your workers, not just their work, lays the groundwork for a thriving and motivated team,” concludes Lesley.

Nurturing potential, fostering growth

Expressing appreciation is a powerful tool at your disposal to nurture people’s potential and prepare them for their own career inflection points, argues Sharath Jeevan OBE, the Founder & Executive Chairman of Intrinsic Labs and Author of “Inflection”.

“When employees feel appreciated and recognised for their achievements, no matter how big or small, it not only boosts their self-esteem but also fuels confidence in their abilities. This positive reinforcement creates an environment for growth, encouraging individuals to take on challenges with assurance,” says Sharath.

Chances are, everyone will have to face an inflection moment at some point in their career. Sharath believes that showing gratitude on a regular basis can help prepare team members for the challenges ahead. “A culture of appreciation equips teams with the right mindset and support needed to face and overcome obstacles effectively. As challenging as they are, inflection moments are also an opportunity for development and personal growth. Why not show the most gratitude and appreciation as an employee successfully steps up to their inflection moments and builds a new direction and skills?,” Sharath sums up.

Building mutually supportive relationships across the organisation

In any organisation, every single individual is a vital cog in your machine. When David Roche, author of “Become a Successful First-Time CEO” assumed his own first CEO position, the people on reception and in the post room were as important as the CFO and head of marketing and he was as responsible for one as he was for the other. This is why your appreciation should extend to every facet of the organisation, including clients, suppliers and customers.

In addition, David argues the best ideas tend to come from those working within the business, but if you haven’t built a relationship with these individuals, they will be far less likely to share this with you. “You don’t always know whose assistance you will need and when, so be consistent in your communication and appreciation,” he says.   

“By authentically demonstrating your appreciation year-round and actively listening to people from the breadth of the organisation, you build mutually supportive relationships that you can call on for support and guidance when you need it,” says David.

A catalyst for a thriving, inclusive company culture 

When making employees feel valued becomes a leadership priority, it has a positive knock-on effect on company culture. However, with more than half (64%) of employees experiencing a toxic working environment, it’s clear that many leaders are not prioritising appreciation and gratitude in their workplaces, argues Judith Germain, Principal Consultant at The Maverick Paradox

“Sometimes leaders neglect the direct connection between expressing gratitude and their company culture. If employees do not feel valued in their role, or are seeing others being valued or praised more highly for a similar contribution, discontent can spread like wildfire, damaging your company culture,” Judith highlights. Without a positive and inclusive company culture, leaders will struggle to recruit and retain both employees and customers. 

“Appreciation needs to be role-modelled from the top-down. When leaders are actively encouraging and demonstrate their appreciation for the contributions of their team, others will follow suit which builds an inclusive and positive company culture that will draw others to your organisation,” says Judith. 

Cultivating positive ambassadors

Your employees are key mouthpieces for your organisation. Whether that is through word-of-mouth or online platforms such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor, their experiences directly shape your employer brand. If they feel unappreciated during their time with you, they are very likely to tell others. 

However, if you are proactive in making your team feel valued, they can become powerful Employee Ambassadors for your organisation, say Ivana Brutenič and Kristína Cichý Kováčiková, co-authors of ”The Magic of Employee Influence”. “Happy employees will proudly represent your organisation, its values and its successes because they have been rewarded for their contributions.”

More organisations than ever are looking to unlock the power of LinkedIn by establishing gamified Employee Ambassador Programs to share the authentically day-to-day employee experience online. “Employees are far more likely to naturally want to take part in this initiative if they feel like their contributions are truly valued because they will want to showcase what a great company you have collectively built,” say Ivana and Kristína.

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