Author: Imelda Bickham
Often employees leave jobs because they feel unappreciated. Employees need more than making a good salary and having a nice work environment: They need to feel appreciated for who they are and for their contributions.
Whether right or wrong, human beings have a need to feel appreciated. Most of us have at some point felt discouraged after working very hard and giving it our all, only to see that no one pays any attention to our efforts.
Perhaps is a sign of maturity not to need appreciation, to be able to be satisfied with knowing you did the right thing, and that you gave it your best. Few people are so mature; most people need to know their efforts mattered, that someone or something benefited from their contribution.
How to Express Your Words of Appreciation to an Employee
Mean it - Expressing appreciation just for show is just a tiny bit better than not expressing it at all. But showing appreciation that comes from the heart is infinitely better.
I've seen managers that praise their employees or go though elaborate recognition events in an effort to fulfill their quota of showing appreciation to employees. Those managers don't really feel grateful, but they know they need to appear that way.
Employees know when words of appreciation are authentic, when they come from the heart. Call it a sixth sense, but an employee can tell when he's getting recognized for real, and when for show.
Say why the appreciation is there - Explain how the employee helped you or the company, so the person can see the full reach of their actions. The employee may have done the deed because it made sense to him and seemed like the right thing to do. But he may not have the complete picture as to how that deed helped you. Tell him how using the right thank you phrases.
For larger deeds, give your words of appreciation in person, take some little goodie with you: a plant, a box of chocolates, whatever may fit the person. For smaller deeds, you can write a hand written note and put in the mail. Or make a phone call. Use email as a last resort or for more common deeds where you still want to show your appreciation.
When the deed calls for it, involve a third party. You can express your appreciation for what the employee did to someone else, like your boss or other people in the department. The employee will know that you feel appreciative enough about what he did that you are willing to talk about it with others.
When You Don't Feel Appreciative Toward Employees
What if you don't feel any gratitude for what your employees are doing? Perhaps you think that they are doing the bare minimum to get by. Or perhaps they make lots of mistakes, or are constantly complaining or wasting time. If this is the case, you are facing more basic morale problems than someone feeling unappreciated at work. Skip this article altogether and read more about workplace communication.
Perhaps you do feel appreciative, but doubt that employees need your words of appreciation. Just put yourself in their position, try to remember the times you received appreciation from your manager for your contributions. It felt good, didn't it?
Beyond Words of Appreciation
There will be deeds that merit more than words of appreciation; they will merit raises, promotions, and full blown recognition. By any means, give them.
Still, never forget that sincere words of thank you are worth more to some people that all the awards and the spotlight. The praise goes to the head, the appreciation goes to the heart.
Showing appreciation for your employee can make the difference between him leaving or loving his job.
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