Appreciation in the Workplace, Wins

Wouldn’t it be great if we loved our work?

I hope you derive satisfaction and reward from your work, but research shows that’s not the norm. Let’s walk you through some of the current research on the typical American workplace and employee dissatisfaction, and then look at how we can improve.

Employees in 2013: Checked out

A recent Gallup study of the American workplace found that among the 100 million people in this country who hold full-time jobs, about 70 percent either hate going to work or have mentally checked out to the point they cost their companies money. The same study also concludes that “7 in 10 American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive”.

70 percent of Americans either hate going to work or have mentally checked out

Two other studies point to similar findings. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they “do not feel appreciated.” In a number of polls, 65% of Americans report receiving no recognition during the past year at their work.

A study of over 1,700 employees conducted in 2012 by the American Psychological Association (APA) indicated that more than half of all employees intended to search for new jobs because they felt underappreciated and undervalued. 

Valuing Employees: The path forward

These statistics are bleak and present a sad commentary about the modern workplace. However, there is hope when it comes to building strong organizational cultures that support and retain employees. Other studies show when employees feel appreciated and valued they:

  • increase their individual productivity;
  • increase engagement among their colleagues;
  • are more likely to stay with their organization;
  • receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and
  • have better safety records and fewer accidents on the job.

Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated. – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

We all want to be appreciated for who we are and the value we offer in the workplace. Studies show that employee engagement is directly linked to how leaders and managers interact with employees. Gallup found that managers who focus on employees’ strengths eliminate active disengagement and double the number of workers who are engaged.

Studies show that employee engagement is directly linked to how leaders and managers interact with employees

A worldwide study by Towers Watson concluded that “the single highest determinant for engagement is whether or not employees feel that their manager is genuinely interested in their well being”.

Appreciation also leads to positive changes in attitude, relationships and viewpoints

In his book, Bringing Out the Best in People, Aubrey Daniels concludes that “recognition and appreciation are the most powerful motivators of improved performance”. He states, “Building a successful business means most of all bringing out the best in people – only people-oriented positive reinforcement in the form of appreciation, recognition and gratitude can do that.”

In addition to improved work product results, appreciation also leads to positive changes in attitude, relationships and viewpoints, which help build a strong organizational culture.

There is evidence that sharing positive messages with others promotes a feeling of happiness in the person delivering the message.

When you work for an organization that doesn’t care about you (or doesn’t demonstrate that it does), it’s common to question your self-worth, including your strengths and contributions. You may start to ask, “Do I matter?” This attitude tends to follow you outside of work. In contrast, when people notice and acknowledge the good qualities and characteristics you have, you begin to see them too.

There’s even more good news to share: people who give appreciation benefit as well. There is evidence that sharing positive messages with others promotes a feeling of happiness in the person delivering the message.

The results are simple and intuitive. There’s a tremendous amount to gain by appreciating those around you in the workplace. Wouldn’t you enjoy working with productive and fully engaged employees who are proud of and speak highly of the organization where they work?

What will you do and say to appreciate the people you work with?

Photo by  widyan

Margy Bresslour is the Founder of Moving Messages, a company dedicated to encouraging the expression of appreciation. Moving Messages works with organizations to create a positive and productive culture where employees feel valued and are fully engaged, and where customers and clients love doing business. Margy offers consultation, coaching, and mentoring that develop individuals who thrive, cohesive teams that enjoy working together, and organizations that get rave reviews and improved outcomes.

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  • johanngauthierakamrrenaissance

    Great post Margy !
    What if workplace excellence was really about our ability to inspire others and be inspired by their greatness.
    That’s it, that’s all!
    Let’s sing and dance now, on paper in our briefs and in meetings everywhere!
    Appreciate you.

  • Al Smith

    Wow. Great post Margy. You inspire me every time I read your stuff. A great reminder to practice and remember CARE. The A in CARE, is for Appreciation. I hope leaders read this and put into practice. Today ! We need it.
    Thanks so much for carrying the “Appreciation” torch. You are Awesome !

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  • There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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