by  Will Lukang  |  Leadership Development

With the demand to do more with less, we are asking a lot from our people to do the same amount of work. That means we look for efficient ways of getting things done and doing more to fill the gaps that were left by their peers that left or were let go. Leaders are presented a great challenge to continue to lead their people and meet business goals. Therefore it is important for the leaders to show appreciation for their people by recognizing them for their contributions.

The question is: How appreciated do you feel at your workplace? This is an important question because not all employees respond to a cookie-cutter recognition and demonstration of appreciation. According to 12 employee appreciation posts, 39% of employees feel underappreciated at work, with 77% reporting that they would work harder if they felt better recognized. Eighty-nine percent of employers assume that their employees leave for more money elsewhere, but only 12% of employees actually earn more from their next company.

In my search to learn more about the topic of appreciation, I found Paul White’s 5 Languages of Appreciation and was intrigued.   I decided to take that course, I learned that appreciation is not a touchy warm relationship, nor it is verbal praise, and it is not always done through words. It was an eye opener to learn that inasmuch as we want to recognize or reward our people, we need to learn how they prefer to be rewarded.

Why is it important to reward our employees? It is important to reward our employees because it has a direct impact on team performance. Rewarding your employees will improve retention and reduce absenteeism. With the positive impact, it can create a great work environment that can help retain our employees.  So, how should we recognize our employees and make and impact?   There are five ways of doing this, but it is important to learn what is the preference of your employee. Here are the five ways of recognizing our employees:

  • Words of affirmation – this is verbal affirmation. Either one-on-one or praise in front of everyone. Written communication and public affirmation
  • Quality time – spending time with the person either on a project or group activities
  • Act of service – showing appreciation through your actions
  • Tangible gifts – meaningful gifts like team lunch or corporate products
  • Physical touch – this is the least favorable one. Especially with HR mandates. I would not recommend this.

Learning the five ways of showing appreciation, I would like to shift my focus on learning more about your people, on their preferences, be it one-on-one or group/public setting. We have to keep in mind that recognition is an important part in creating a cohesive organization that can elevate its performance, especially during challenging times. As a leader, you need to think what is best suited for your team and make sure you recognize your people and let them know you care. Remember that people matter, because people are your most valuable asset.

Which of the five methods would you prefer if you were being recognized?
Photo Credit: iqoncept/123rf

About The Author

Articles By will-lukang
A dynamic, multi-faceted Information Technology Leader who demonstrates expertise in translating business needs into technology solutions that meet business objectives while developing strategies to optimize processes that improve efficiency and reduce costs. A certified coach, speaker and training from John Maxwell Team. A co-author of The Character-Based Leader.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Hari  |  15 Oct 2016  |  Reply

Great Post, Will. True Leader shares knowledge and develop people. You lead by example of being one such Leader. Always interesting to know your insights

Will Lukang  |  17 Oct 2016  |  Reply


Showing appreciate does not cost us anything. However in the society that focus on “ME” our employees are suffering. We need to give credit when credit is due.

Will Lukang

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