Appreciation is a critical part of the Employee Experience

Appreciation: Feeling acknowledged and appreciated for my contributions

Everyone wants to be appreciated. We all want to know our work is being seen, noticed, and that it matters. Targeted, authentic appreciation is a powerful force — both for the person getting it and the person giving it. It can transform culture with tangible business benefits.

Employee experience means knowing our company has our best interest at heart. … As an employee I would like to be appreciated more, as well as have a company that’s concerned about the wellbeing of their employees.

Porcha, Finance Industry (From YouEarnedIt Market Research)

It’s important to bring this appreciation into your employees’ daily jobs. “Most of our waking hours are spent on the job, and gratitude, in all its forms, is a basic human requirement,” says Robert Emmons, author of The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks, and a leading researcher on the subject. “So when you put these factors together, it is essential to both give and receive thanks at work.”

The act of giving thanks changes companies from within. Researcher Marcial Losada has found that among high-performing teams, the expression of positive feedback outweighs that of negative feedback by a ratio of 5.6 to 1. A recent GlassDoor Survey showed that half of employees would stay longer at the company if they felt more appreciation from their boss. And 81% of employees said they’re more motivated to work harder when their boss shows them appreciation.

The strategic application of appreciation shifts team dynamics. When different groups of employees were given a bonus to pass on to their teammates to say “thank you,” their teams performed far better (in some cases more than 47% better) than when the company gave each person the bonus directly.

Building appreciation into your employee experience

  • Make recognition detailed and specific. Just telling an employee or team they’re doing a good job is okay — but calling out details resonates more strongly. Recognize the time they’ve put in, the sacrifices they make, or areas where they’ve stretched to get something done. That way, the employee or team member knows what they did that mattered — so they can do it again if needed. Also, take time to recognize an entire team’s effort. It encourages teams to collaborate and support each other to reach a common goal.
  • Keep appreciation authentic and personal. Different employees and different cultures express and receive recognition in different ways. Giving a gift card to a steakhouse to a vegan, for example, is going to fall flat. So, take time to empathize with your employee or team and show recognition in a way that matches who they are.
  • Make appreciation a regular occurrence. Employees don’t want to wait for their annual performance review to hear what they are doing well. Frequent appreciation helps employees know which parts of their work make a difference. And if you add appreciation and rewards for the mundane day-to-day tasks, it makes them much more appealing and more likely to be completed.
  • Make appreciation public. Publicly appreciating employees who live up to core values or are performing well can create positive peer pressure for other employees. And to quote Harvard Business Review, “Positive Peer Pressure is a powerful ally to change.”
  • Make appreciation a team activity. Setting up a structure for employees to recognize each other is a powerful tool for building a culture of appreciation. One-way appreciation coming only from management is ineffective. Managers rarely have visibility into what each employee is doing minute to minute, and employees gain a lot by giving appreciation to each other.

To get more ideas about building an appreciation-filled Employee Experience, see our guide: The Employee Experience Defined.

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About YouEarnedIt
YouEarnedIt is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, YouEarnedIt grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation. To request a demo, visit