"A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected."
I started off with this quote because I wanted to remind you how important words and small gestures can be. We are all desperate for a little love and appreciation, and regardless of what we do, the first thought that we get after doing something that was asked of us, we feel the need to be appreciated. Whether it's a student, a teacher, a mother, anyone.. me or you, we do expect appreciation. And there is nothing wrong with that, its human nature.
And let's not forget that employees are humans too. Don't take it the wrong way; I'm sure you do your best to mingle with your team members and do appreciate them when you can, but let's be fair, praise in public is such a boost to the self-esteem. Just a little, "You did great" addressed to a member in front of the entire team can do such wonders, not just for the person but for the entire team as well.
I'm sure this is why social media is so popular. People post their photos and life events and can't wait to get other people's recognition and likes. We all thrive on praise, and some people like public praise more than others.
Remember the saying "praise in public and criticize in private?" Trust me; there is no better feeling than knowing your efforts are being appreciated. Especially when it comes to publicly announce that your team has been giving their best given everything they were faced with. Whether it's been a good week or bad week, when your team members feel like their efforts are recognized, they will be motivated to give more.
Dr. Ashley Whillians from the Harvard Business School says in a 2019 article that what really matters at work is to help people feel appreciated. If done properly public appreciation can help spread positive vibes on your team.
If you feel like public appreciation is difficult or you feel like its just not your thing, I have listed a few pointers that can help you get started:
Encourage Their Feedback
One of the easiest and the most effective ways to appreciate others is to ask for their feedback because people want to know that their ideas and opinions matter. Ask a team member how they want to approach a project or their opinion on something in their work and they will thrive. Asking for feedback helps build accountability and involvement.
Appreciate them in Public
Increase awareness, help people feel valued and increase performance all by appreciating success to your team.
Whenever any of your employees receive good feedback, don't just back them up by calling them privately in your office. Appreciate them by setting aside a few minutes, getting out of your office, and in front of the entire team. And just to make sure that no one feels left out, tell them that every single one of them is doing a brilliant job. Sharing success with the entire team will strengthen bonds and build stronger relationships. It also encourages employees to give positive feedback to each other.
It's a good idea to start every formal meeting with some sort of praise or recognition. Point out individual success as well as a team accomplishment. It also helps to show people how the day to day work they do makes a difference.
A Digital HR article recommends a Cheers for Peers program that looks really fun. This involves a regular end of week celebration highlighting the little things that have impacted peoples week.
Take Them Out For Food
Everybody likes food. As a keynote speaker, I'm always surprised to find out it is a key reason people attend an event! Whenever special food (usually sweets) comes out, people scramble to participate.
One of the best strategies for appreciating your teams as a whole is by taking them out for food. Or if that seems too difficult to manage, feed them every once in a while! Get them donuts or cupcakes. It's a small gesture that can make a huge difference in the overall performance of the team. When someone sees that their hard work is not going unnoticed, they tend to work harder.
Appreciate Them Through Social Media
It's not necessary that you write a whole note regarding their performance on social media; what's important is that you remember their birthdays or their service anniversaries. Just include a photo with a small caption of how you are thankful for their hard work and why they are an important asset for the team. A few words can go a long way! The beauty of social media is it's quick and powerful. One simple mention can be reinforced by family, friends, teammates and more. This can create a great conversation all-around positive feedback, which is invaluable. Some leaders find that this public positive reinforcement helps them as a recruitment tool.
Remember that a few good deeds can help your team get better and that by appreciating your team members, you are actually motivating them to do better. Kind words and kind gestures will make your team members feel like they belong there, and that's really all you need!