8 Ways to Show Appreciation at Work: Tips for Managers and Employees

7 min read

Appreciation. Who doesn’t love to feel appreciated? 

It’s easy to see why. Appreciation makes anyone feel good about themselves. It makes us feel seen, valued, and connected to others. 

Now more than ever, we’re witnessing that appreciation is a driving force for employees. 2021 became known as the year of The Great Resignation with the number of US workers leaving their jobs reaching an all-time high.

A survey by PlanBeyond, an American market research agency, showed that feeling undervalued was the number one reason for quitting a job last year.

A culture of appreciation at the workplace can help prevent employee turnover and foster feelings of belonging and loyalty. 

In this article, we’ll give 5 recommendations to managers who want to express their appreciation to their employees. We’ll also share 3 quick tips if you’d like to say, “thank you!” to your colleagues.

5 Ways Managers Can Show Appreciation to Employees

1. Get In Touch Often

Managers need to create the habit of checking in regularly with their employees. A simple “how are you?” can go a long way toward making someone feel seen. These points of contact develop a bond between both parties. This connection can benefit them–and the organization–in the long run.

Be mindful not to turn these check-ins into micromanagement moments. Your intentions here should be solely about creating a connection, not as a way to subtly bring work into the mix. You’ll get other opportunities for that. For now, focus on the person you’re talking to as an individual, not only the employee who works for you. 

2. Show Your Appreciation for Something Specific

It’s easy to say thank you after a quick exchange with staff. Yet, those two words can be much more meaningful when you say them for a specific reason.

Take a few minutes per week to write to your employees about what you specifically value about the work they’ve done. This kind of specific and timely message of appreciation can have a bigger impact than you may imagine.

Research on gratitude by the University of Pennsylvania showed employees felt motivated to work harder when managers remembered to say, “thank you”.

3. Learn What Makes Employees Feel Appreciated

To make someone feel truly appreciated, personalization is key no matter what you want to do or give. Discover what’s meaningful to the employees you want to show appreciation to. What are their career goals? What is important to them in the workplace? Are they working hard in developing new skills? 

Find out your team members’  answers to these questions and others. You can better know how to communicate your appreciation to employees when you know what they value and strive for. This will later lead to genuine comments that are specific to the employee and situation at hand. This sort of personalization is where true appreciation lies.

4. Highlight the Value of Employee Contributions 

Managers can often understand clearly how each employee contributes to the department and organization. For employees, it can be hard to see that bigger picture. This can lead them to struggle to see their work’s value and the difference they make.

From time to time, a good manager should highlight how their employee’s work is important for others and how it fits in with the company. That’s an important way to show appreciation, but it also fosters a feeling of purpose within the staff.

5. Discuss Career Opportunities

Career-oriented individuals feel the need for their potential to be recognized beyond their current job title. To keep them engaged and feeling valued, managers should talk to them about their future opportunities and overall growth potential within the company.

It’s also the mark of a good manager to be aware of the potential of everyone, not only those who are not so wired for ambition. It’s those little details that show your degree of care towards your employees.

Appreciation is also shown through looking out for your employees and communicating clearly with them that you are doing so. This can be seen when a manager knows when to champion someone under his wing for bigger projects and even other job positions in the company. 

Managers should always look for opportunities to show appreciation. That said, they aren’t the only ones who should show appreciation in the workplace. Employees also have a big role in cultivating an appreciative culture around the office. Let’s discuss what employees can do to show their coworkers appreciation. 

3 Ways for Employees to Show Appreciation to Colleagues

1. Express Your Gratitude

Do you want to express to a colleague how much you appreciate what they’ve done? Well, you can’t go wrong with a direct and specific thank you.

Taking the extra time to clearly state how important what they’ve done was to you can be more than enough. Be sure to be specific in your appreciation: express what situation you’re addressing and its importance.

2. Recognize Them in a Team Meeting

Sometimes, public appreciation may be just the thing. In times like these, take a moment to appreciate a specific coworker’s contributions when you’re all gathered for a team meeting.

During a project update, for instance, it would be a great time to give a shout-out to the colleague whose work made all the difference. 

3. Go the Extra Mile

If you wish to go beyond words, why not consider bringing in a treat to the office? Most people would be taken by surprise with this extra step of consideration. It shows them their colleague notices their work and appreciates them for it. 

If you feel too awkward to single out a coworker, then bring enough cookies or donuts for the entire team and leave a note thanking them for their hard work. You can still give a special shout-out to the colleague you meant to express gratitude towards.

Final Thoughts

You can build appreciation through many small steps along the way. Most importantly, though, it must come from a place of authenticity. It all boils down to seeing people as more than just employees and not taking them for granted.

We offered some suggestions into how you can incorporate appreciation at your workplace. Still, each person should find their own way of expressing themselves. Be sincere in your efforts, and discover which ways you feel more comfortable showing your appreciation.