Are Your Appreciation Efforts Missing the Mark?


Think money is what will keep your employees happy? Think again.

While most people work to pay the bills, money isn’t the primary reason people stay or leave. People stay because they feel like their contribution is valued, noticed, and appreciated.

79% of people cite feeling under-appreciated as a key reason for leaving a job.

We know that feeling appreciated at work is important, but despite their best efforts, most leaders still aren’t getting it right. How do we know? 65% of North Americans don’t feel appreciated at work, and 79% of people cite feeling under-appreciated as a key reason for leaving a job.

Is finding and keeping top talent a priority for your organization? Appreciation is an essential part of that, and it’s easy to know if you’re not getting it right. Your employees are leaving you all kinds of clues! Signs a team member isn’t feeling appreciated:

  • Discouragement
  • Irritability and Resistance
  • Increased Absenteeism or Tardiness
  • Cynicism and Sarcasm
  • Apathy and Passivity
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Negative work environment

Seeing some of these signs in your organization? Here are 3 important reasons your appreciation efforts might be missing the mark.

1. There’s a disconnect. A generic “way to go” long after the fact doesn’t mean much, and won’t lead to employees feeling genuinely appreciated. Making your appreciation efforts count means making your feedback specific, sincere, and personalized to the individual.

2. It’s seen as just another box to check. Employees can see right through inauthentic expressions of appreciation, and appreciation needs to be more than just another item on your To-Do List. To resonate, you’ll have to do better than a cascade of scheduled “Thank Yous”. To be effective, expressions of appreciation need to be authentic, timely, and sincere.

3. You’re not speaking their language. People want to be appreciated in the ways they find most meaningful! To get better results, your appreciation efforts need to resonate on an individual level. Everyone is different, which means each person is unique in the ways they like to be appreciated (Hint: Not every employee is going to be excited by a “stand-up-and-take-a-bow” public recognition approach). There are Five Languages of Appreciation at Work and countless ways of showing appreciation, so take the guesswork out of the equation by learning the language your employees will hear when you are appreciating them.

Your Engaged Assignment: Over time, a lack of appreciation can lead to a toxic work environment. Do a quick scan of your workplace – are employees showing signs of feeling underappreciated? It could be time for an appreciation makeover. Need some help cultivating an attitude of gratitude in your organization? Join Engaged’s The Power of Appreciation workshop!