Saying ‘Thanks’ Is Not Enough

Apr 29, 2016 1 Min Read

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. —John F. Kennedy

It is inevitable. The hustle and bustle of modern career life pulls us in so many directions that we often find ourselves on autopilot – only able to offer expected pleasantries to the people who work for us and with us. We automatically say thank you to someone who’s done well in the moment and then carry on.

Yes. We thank them for what they did, but do we appreciate the human being? Do we recognise the values and strengths that make them great? Do we see their good work as a much larger picture of their potential?

The act of recognising and appreciating employees is crucial. Making it a principle is pivotal to enhancing and building the strengths and characteristics that are already present in the individuals.

In practice

Appreciation and recognition must go hand-in-hand to be effective so it’s important to understand them individually before synthesising
the concepts.

1. Recognition

  • Communication is key between management and employees which rewards them for reaching specific goals or producing high quality results in the workplace.
  • Recognising or honouring employees for this level of service is meant to encourage repeat actions, through reinforcing the behaviour you would like to see repeated.

2. Appreciation

Appreciation is, collectively, the full awareness and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone. Showing gratitude towards someone and by doing so increasing their value in your eyes and in the eyes of the company.

One could view recognition as the extrinsic part: rewarding someone for his or her performance through bonuses, promotions, and acknowledgement. Appreciation, however, is more intrinsic – it is how much you value people and who they are as well as what they have to offer. You need to sincerely feel appreciative in order to be appreciative.

A recent survey found that employees were more loyal and productive when their superiors took time to say, face-to-face, what they appreciated about them and pass on these praises to senior management.

In fact, when bosses specifically thank employees for a contribution or a quality, it made them more receptive to feedback. All it took was a minute to leave them a handwritten note, drop them an e-mail or just say, “You did ____ great!”

In short

When you recognise and appreciate people, you highlight their strengths, you reinforce good behaviour and you make them feel significant. Most importantly, you grow their potential and they became a greater asset to the company.

Employee appreciation and recognition is never out of place. In fact, in many organisations, it is often a scarce commodity. So, make your workplace the exception.

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Louisa was formerly an editorial associate and freelance writer with Leaderonomics. An extrovert who loves the outdoors; she thinks change is exciting and should be embraced.

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