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The Art of Appreciation

Written by: Craig Twombly
Published: November 2009

Appreciation as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary is an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude. Appreciation in the workplace is not only valuable but necessary. Appreciation is the "Thank you for a job well done" and other gestures that are displayed at work. Seems pretty simple, right? For something that seems so simple, it often becomes a challenge during day to day work lives. It is often assumed that the only way to truly appreciate people is through financial means. It would only stand to reason that during tough economic times everyone just wants more money. Most studies show that Appreciation and Participation are very important to employees' happiness in any organization.

When we think about Appreciation, we may more often think of our personal lives. We have holidays and birthdays to show our appreciation, admiration, and love to those close to us. When we don't recognize our loved ones on these few holidays, the chances are the relationship might strain and the "You don’t appreciate me!" comments might start. It seems like, when the "honeymoon" years have gone by, Appreciation can sometimes go by the wayside. As in our personal lives, we can sometimes forget to appreciate the people we spend time with at work, day in and day out.

imageWe have a few thoughts about Appreciation. The Boston Globe recently released the top 1oo companies in Massachusetts that are The Best Places to Work. One of the reoccurring themes throughout the top 50 list was forms of Appreciation from the organization to the employees. Two of the top 50 companies (there were 1,000 companies involved in the study) offered free coffee. One of the two organizations Continuim offers its employees the choice of on the house Dunkin Donuts, Star Bucks, or Espresso. This was cited as one of the top reasons people enjoyed working for the organization. The employees felt valued by the organization's commitment to of the caffeine needs. They enjoyed the friendly rivalry between the three different camps, making the organization work as a larger team. The coffee is one example of many ways to appreciate employees. Supplying a break room with coffee might be more than you can do or out of your control. Let's focus on some things that we can control.

Thank You:

At home I often find myself doing little things throughout the course of a day. Sometimes I will get up early and cook breakfast or try to get ahead of the daily chores before anyone else does. I do this to show my appreciation for those in my life. It is a little weird to think of it that way but I am showing a "Thank you" and when a "Thank you for the breakfast" is said, it makes my day and I smile. The day to day operations, struggles, meeting demands and dealing with conflicts slow down and sometimes stop our appreciation of others. It is sometimes difficult but important to stop and just say, "Thank You." A sincere thank you with the specific information goes a long way. During prosperous or lean times in the work place, employees still want to be acknowledged.

Sweeten It Up:

As a young manager I was once given advice from a cook. Bring us candy - it makes us know you care! At the time it seemed simple and not really important. I purchased candy and brought it in on the next day of work. People loved it. Not only did everyone enjoy the candy but the day was light hearted and relaxed. Over the years, this simple act of Appreciation stuck. Not unlike Valentine's day when we would wait for an admirer. Candy on the desk or brought in for an upcoming long day can mean a lot. People see that their hard work is Appreciated.

Give A Card:

Recently, during a public workshop I sat and spoke with an individual who traveled up to Maine for two days to attend a workshop. We had a long conversation during lunch. We spoke in detail of his personal life and the challenges he faced at the job and the stressors of the economy. A few days passed and I received a card in the mail. It was a card from the individual at the workshop. He wrote to thank me for the time we spent not only at lunch, but during the two days. I was honored to have someone take the time and make the effort to thank and appreciate what had happened over the course of those two days. It is safe to say he moved me. When the effort is made to share a thank you on a detailed hand written card, it can be seen as a very important gesture.

Appreciation is something we at Priority Learning feel is very valuable and important. We will continue to come back to Appreciation in the future. We would love to hear from you on the topic of Appreciation. Thanks for reading.

Craig Twombly

Craig Twombly

Craig is the primary facilitator at Priority Learning, he is responsible for conducting an array of leadership series offered and consulting assignments from communications to team development in organizations ranging from the service industries to finance, manufacturing and more. Having extensive experience at balancing the business needs with the wants and desires of people are Craig's strongest assets.