Workplace Appreciation Can Be Pretty Simple — and Effective

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 Do you think telling someone they’re doing great work on the job will fall on deaf ears? Research says differently.

In an economy where money is still tight, positive feedback can help keep employees motivated. In fact, according to a survey by Kelton Research nearly 50 percent of working Americans say they would rather be appreciated than have an opportunity to advance in their careers.

The study also found, with escalating workplace demands, employees aren’t feeling valued by executives and superiors.

Appreciation can be simple — and effective

Nearly 70 percent of working Americans complain they haven’t received useful feedback from their supervisors in the last six months and over 80 percent haven’t established their career goals with their superiors.

But it’s easy to turn those numbers around.

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Appreciation doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or a huge raise. A little recognition from leaders goes a long way toward employee satisfaction and motivation. Something as simple as making time to stop by an employee’s desk to speak to them face to face can help close the communication gap and empower employees to perform well in their roles.

More easy-to-execute ideas

Here are a few other ideas on ways you can keep employees motivated and engaged at work:

  • Remember special days — Never let a birthday or anniversary pass without recognition. Let your people know you care about them as individuals and it will help foster camaraderie in the company.
  • Get people talking — It’s been proven – having everyone involved in spreading appreciation positively impacts the culture. Encourage your employees to send e-cards to each other. This spontaneous recognition can help cheer someone up on a rough day or let them know something they thought went unnoticed made a difference.
  • Give immediate feedback for a job well done — Grab a thank you card and jot down a hand written note specifically thanking them for what it is you appreciate. Let them know how it helped you and the company. And don’t forget to include why they’re an important employee. In just 90 seconds you can make sure someone knows they’re appreciated and the work they do matters.
  • It’s OK to keep it simple — Don’t overlook opportunities to appreciate an employee no matter how small, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to recognizing an employee for a job well done. Even simple acts of recognition and appreciation will greatly improve employee morale and loyalty.

The post originally appeared in a somewhat different form on

Named as one of the Ten Best and Brightest Women, one of the 25 Most Influential People in the incentive industry, and selected for the Employee Engagement Power 100 list, Michelle was inducted into the Incentive Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame and received their President’s and Karen Renk Fellowship Awards. She’s a highly accomplished international speaker, author, and strategist on leadership, company culture, workplace trends and employee engagement.

Michelle was the Founder and Chair of the Editorial Board of Return on Performance Magazine, and has been featured on Fox Television, the BBC, in Fortune, Business Week, Inc. and other global publications, and contributed to the books Bull Market by Seth Godin, Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk, and Social Media Isn’t Social.   Connect with her via LinkedIn or Twitter