I have been an innovation consultant since 1986 and have worked with hundreds of organizations in more than 15 industries. The products and services of my clients have all been different — as have their acronyms, mission statements, and cafeteria food.
But they all have one thing in common — and that is a pronounced tendency to undervalue the power of appreciation.
Sure, they give out gold watches and Employee of the Month awards, but the simple act of acknowledging and appreciating each other on a daily basis is in woeful short supply.
The reasons are many.
Too many managers have come to believe that the expression of appreciation will be counterproductive, leading to a self-satisfied workforce — a workforce that will be entitled and unmotivated.
The perceived lack of time is another reason.
Most people’s plates are so full these days that the time and attention it takes to acknowledge another for their efforts is considered a luxury that cannot be afforded.
A third reason?
The majority of people who work in an organization do not know how to appreciate others. It is not, shall we say, their default condition.
Why should this matter to your organization?
Because there is a direct correlation between appreciation and success. The more appreciation, the more morale improves and the more moral improves, the more willing people are to go the extra yard.
Indeed, recent U.S. Department of Labor data shows that the number one reason people leave their jobs is that they do not feel appreciated. When you quantify the cost of recruiting, orienting, and training people, that adds up. Big time.
Further research has revealed that companies that effectively value and appreciate their employees enjoy more than triple returns on equity and assets and achieve higher operating margins than companies that do not.
Time and again it has been proven: money is not the key driver of employee satisfaction. It is the experience of being appreciated.
“Celebrate what you want to see more,” advises management consultant, Tom Peters.
“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business,” advised Sam Walton, former CEO of Walmart. “Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise.”
Mother Teresa agrees: “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”
Business leaders want their stocks to appreciate, but they don’t see the relationship between rising stock prices and the rise in employee performance that comes from employees being genuinely appreciated.
In what ways can YOU lead the charge by authentically expressing your appreciation to someone with whom you work?
Mitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.