How NOT to show appreciation

Do your people feel valued and appreciated at work?

If you're a leader, one of the most important things you need to be doing is thinking about how can you demonstrate appreciation – that's right – appreciation for your people and what they are doing for you.

We cannot assume that just because we pay people – and often pay them really well – that that alone constitutes appreciation.

Nor can we assume that just because we don't need appreciation, which may or may not be the case, but even if we don't, that others don't as well.

Because even if we've worked really hard and we’ve kind of done it our own way and did it even without recognition and reward along the way, many, many people need appreciation, recognition and understanding that they are valued

We know that workplace engagement is down. We know that general workplace morale is down. We know the attitudes towards work is down.

These are all facts. There's research and data to support it.

So, what can we as leaders do to help our people feel valued?

The printed card we received.

The printed card we received.

Let me tell you what we CANNOT be doing. Here's an example of a card that I received a short while ago for a Bar Mitzvah gift.

Typically speaking, you send a check, you send a gift, whatever that might be and sometime down the road you get a letter in the mail saying thank you and nice little card. Dear Mister and Mrs., Rabbi and Mrs., thank you so much for the generous gift that you gave us or gave me. Signed X.

In this particular case, the card I showed you before and I'll show it to you again, was not hand written. It was printed and probably we got the same card as everybody else with zero-thought involved.

All we got was our name on the envelope, but the actual letter, the actual card was not crafted at all for what we gave. It wasn't handwritten, it wasn't even signed. It was all done by printer.

Which leads me to believe that they were just trying to get it done and get it out of the way and spare their child the need to write however many thank you cards.

As a leader, that is a huge no-no.

We have to be able to customize, whether it's in word, handwritten notes are fantastic, a little piece of chocolate in their cubicle, on their desk, if they have a mailbox or some other place that you could leave it.

Leaving something that is personalized that says, I value you for this particular reason and this what your impact is on the office, the team, my work, et cetera.

Make your feedback personal. Make it specific.

Hand write it or do something where you can show that there's a human touch to it, not just generated by a computer.

Follow these steps and you will increase motivation, engagement, morale in your building. A simple step, but sometimes so often overlooked.

Find opportunities to recognize and reward your people on a regular basis so they feel that their work really matters.