The Most Effective Way to Show Employee Appreciation

Lorena Martinez

Author

A Great Workplace does not determine its success by the health of its balance sheets alone but also on the basis of achieving its mission and vision, which includes recognizing their responsibilities in building their people. The propensity of some leaders to overlook an employee’s contribution, also known as “Invisible Employee Syndrome”, has a great impact on their effectivity. Lack of appreciation is one of the reasons for high employee turnover. Based on an article by ManilaRecruitment.com, 46% of the HR Managers conclude that employee burnout compromise half of the their companies turnover rate. As human beings, appreciation makes us happy and have a more positive disposition and mindset in the workplace, inspires us to stay with the company, motivates us to work harder; and transforms us to better employees. Treating the employees as if they were your best customers and giving them the appropriate recognition, may lead to a more TRUSTING work environment and ultimately affect the company well-being. This article by Lorena Martinez published on the US website of Great Place to Work last October 22nd gives a cunning take on a sinister character from a beloved movie of 2006 and how leaders of Great Workplaces would probably do things differently.

– Gladys Santiago-Zafra, CHRP® – Consultant, Philippines

“Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. Means it’s time for a promotion.” This is the advice Nigel gives Andy in a scene from the 2006 movie, “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Promotions are the only appreciation employees receive at Runway Magazine. A Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® would never hire Miranda Priestly!

Unfortunately, the sarcastic humor in the movie is not too far from reality for more than half of us. According to our normative study of the US workforce, only 42% of people believe that everyone has an opportunity to receive special recognition at work.

This figure matters because feeling appreciated is one of the top 10 drivers of a high-trust experience, according to my analysis of what drives trust in company culture. I analyzed hundreds of employee comments to learn what makes them feel appreciated in the workplace.

I found that feeling appreciated is more important for employee engagement than pay, benefits, time off, training, or celebrations.

Why employers don’t show appreciation

In my 11 years of consulting, I have heard the same excuses from leaders. Corporate executives, call center supervisors, police lieutenants, lawyers, doctors, and teachers all defend why they don’t show appreciation.

1)  Fear of stimulating underperformance. Many managers say, “I shouldn’t thank people for simply doing their jobs. That’s what’s expected of them.”

2)  Creating a sense of playing favorites. “Recognition is a double-edged sword. If you thank people publicly, others will think you have favorites. So, I just play it safe and do not thank anyone publicly.” I heard a similar argument from an executive, a doctor, and many others.

The best way to show appreciation

Employees need more than a meaningless “Thank you’” to feel appreciated.

1)  Make sure people feel heard. What makes people feel most valued and appreciated, is having their ideas and suggestions genuinely listened to, regardless of their role, department or level.

2)  Be an approachable leader. When everyone, regardless of level, finds leaders easy to talk to, they can be heard. This leads to feeling appreciated. Leaders at our Fortune 100 Best Workplaces do this regularly. They create a culture of appreciation by giving people exposure to different leaders in the business.

3)  Acknowledge your people from everywhere. Celebrate employees even when they are not in your team or department. Hearing praise from different places, is at the heart of true appreciation. This also relieves pressure from one person having to make a whole team feel appreciated.

Fair Appreciation is a Two-Way Street

It’s not only leaders who have a part to play. Employees also need to own the opportunities their organization provides. Many employees say themselves that those who put themselves out there and collaborate with others get more opportunities.

Kimley-Horn encourages people to build their network by providing “Lunch on Kimley-Horn.”

“One of our most popular integration tools is our ‘Self-Directed Career Development’ lunch coupons, which gives all new hires a chance to choose 30 or more senior coworkers and take them to lunch on the company for mentoring and career guidance. The freedom to select multiple colleagues over time is important because we expect young professionals to spend time exploring their professional direction. Our goal is to allow each staff member to discover the role in which he or she will thrive, and these lunches often serve as the catalyst.”

Kimley-Horn is 2nd on our Best Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services™ 2019, number 5 Best Workplaces for Millennials™ 2019, and at the 18th spot on 2019 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®.

When both companies and employees do their part, people can have a very strong sense of appreciation. An employee of Kimley-Horn explains:

“This company loves to show their appreciation to their employees, as they figured out, ‘so goes the employees, so goes the company.’ Employees work harder with ease and enthusiasm to exceed expectations when they feel their talents and skills are valued. This is my experience here at Kimley-Horn.”

If Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada” would have gone for lunch with employees and genuinely listened to their ideas, we wouldn’t have such a funny movie. However, let’s work to keep this leadership style just for the movies.

Lorena Martinez

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees