How Appreciation Affects Job Performance

Want something you can do that is free and yields a 40%+ growth in productivity?

In today’s blog we want to remind you of a free, yet powerful tool in your arsenal to help motivate employees and get them more engaged - showing appreciation.

Different from appreciation is recognition, where you point out something wonderful someone did.  Recognition is conditioned on behavior.   But appreciation has to do with the person… and how they add to the team.

Appreciation is based on who you are (your identity), and recognition is based on what you do your performance.  The benefits of expressing appreciation are stunning.  Both recognizing others and appreciating others has tremendous impact on employee performance.

According to a study by the HAAS School of Business at UC Berkeley, when people are recognized for work they did well (their actions) they are 23% more effective and productive over those that were not recognized.

Yet, when people felt valued and cared for by the team and you, the manager, they were 43% more effective and productive than people who weren’t valued.  That’s nearly double the gain in productivity compared to recognition.   

In addition, 66% of employees (76% for millennials) say they would “likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated.”

When you recognize someone you are highlighting their work and the things that they did that were successful, meaningful and important to the group or to them.

You recognize peoples’ specific accomplishments.  For instance, “you did a great job creating the report for the City Council last week it was super easy to understand. Great job”

So recognition is about reinforcing good behavior and recognizing excellence as you see it in your local government.  A person will ONLY receive positive recognition when they do something positive but a person can always receive appreciation as it is not contingent on what they do…it’s more about who they are.

When you give appreciation it needs to be sincere and not seen as flattery or superficial or as something that is manipulative to get them to think positively about themselves or you.

It will require that you actually think about how you value the person and what you like about what they bring to the team, such as their attitude or just their very presence.

For instance, you might say:

“Bob I want you to know that I really appreciate having you on the team. Since you’ve been with us you made a great impact on morale and the effectiveness of the team and having you contributing from your experience is really awesome.  I’m glad you’re on our team.”

Or you might say:

“Lashandra I want to let you know that I really appreciate your good attitude. The way you come into the office each day adds a lot of levity, brightness and joy to the morale in our workplace. I really like that about you. I appreciate how you are so consistent with your attitude…it makes such a big difference on our team.” 

Recognition points out something specific they did recently that was excellent that you want to reward in publicly or in private.  But appreciation is about valuing them as a person, for being who they are.

There are a lot of benefits to showing appreciation.

  • As stated earlier, employees are 43% likely to be more productive
  • Improves morale and perhaps turnover
  • It helps build trust on your team

Best Practices:

  • There’s no set limit on how often to give appreciation, but we’d recommend perhaps monthly or whatever works naturally for you.
  • Don’t do it too often as it may appear superficial
  • For shy or reserved team members, you may want to do this in private
  • If the person is outgoing and likes public attention, you may want to do it in front of others.

We hope you become a believer in showing appreciation.  It can change your culture and the performance level or your employees and team.    

If you want your managers to grow in skills like appreciation, let us know and we’ll share more about how LeaderGov’s online workshops may help your team.  Email us at [email protected] 


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