How to Show Appreciation for Good Work?

Did you know that more employees report that they’d rather receive praise from their manager than get a pay increase? It’s shocking but true! In fact, reports have found that 67% compared to 52% of respondents said this is their biggest motivator. And since employees are a vital part of any successful company, it’s essential to understand the value of thanking employees. Take a look at the information below to learn more about showing appreciation for good work.

Appreciation for Good Work in the Workplace Matters

As we mentioned, around 67% of employees say they’d have the motivation to work harder if their efforts were well recognized. However, the problem is that some managers have a hard time saying thank you to an employee. Most of these people believe that employees only want raises to show appreciation, but as you can see, this isn’t true.

The message is loud and clear: Employee recognition has a stronger effect on workers than anything else. In turn, this inevitably affects the entire company because when your employees are happier, your customers are too.

In today’s world, a certificate handed out once a year no longer cuts it. So, it’s essential to come up with and implement an effective employee recognition program. This program should address the needs and wants of employees while also aligning them with the company’s values. Just keep in mind that every organization is different, so what works for one may not work well for another. However, in general, recognition programs should be comprehensive so that the feedback received is specific, authentic, and relevant.

Types Of Appreciation for Good Work (Employee Recognition)

There are many ways that a company can show appreciation for good work. The three most common are information recognition, formal recognition, and micro recognition. We will explain each of them in more detail below, as they can be used for different purposes.

Informal Recognition

Informal recognition is best used for teams or individuals who make progress toward milestones. This can be upon project completion or when goals are achieved. Some common examples of informal recognition include hosting a potluck, throwing a pizza party, or planning a happy hour at the local pub. Informal recognition doesn’t usually happen every day, but it’s more frequent than formal programs.

Pizza for lunch at the office to show appreciation for good work
Pizza for lunch at the office to show appreciation for good work.

Formal Recognition

As you may have guessed, formal recognition programs are structured and are awarded via special events or ceremonies. This type of employee appreciation occurs the least frequently and requires more planning and a larger budget.

Micro Recognition

Micro recognition is the most commonly used type of employee recognition and should be ongoing within your organization. It can include giving cards, sending notes, making an announcement on a bulletin board, or anything else you can do to publicly say thank you in a way that makes the person feel valued without using a lot of time or money.

What Can Strategic Recognition Do For Your Company?

When you opt to use this strategy, you will notice positive changes within your company. For starters, your turnover rate can be up to 64% less than companies with ineffective recognition systems in place. This coincides with estimates finding that 60% of employees who do not feel appreciated end up looking for a new job.

Here are some other key benefits of thanking the team every now and then:

Engaged Employees Are Productive Employees

Have you noticed a decrease in productivity? If so, it may be time to send out some employee appreciation for good work messages. Research has found that engaged employees are also more productive, safe, profitable, and customer-focused.

Satisfied Employees Help Increase Operating Income

Satisfied employees are also known to help increase a company’s operating income. It’s been found that organizations with low engagement see a -36.50% drop in operating income over 12-months, whereas companies with satisfied employees can have a 19.20% increase.

Appreciated Employees Increase Operating Margins

Studies have also shown that workforces with high sustainable employee appreciation featured one-year operating margins that were three times higher than disengaged workforces.

Employee Appreciation Day

If those statistics weren’t enough to convince you, then maybe knowing that there’s a dedicated Employee Appreciation Day each year will. This day falls on the first Friday in March each year and focuses on employees in every industry. So, it’s common for employers in the US to plan employee recognition celebrations where achievements and contributions are honored.

Chances are you’ve heard of this day since it was created in 1995 by Bob Nelson. His company, Workman Publishing, created the National Employee Appreciation Day to dedicate at least one day per year to those who help keep a businesses’ doors open.

Creative Ways To Say Thank You to Employees

Now that you understand how vital appreciation for good work is, let’s take a look at some creative ways to thank your employees:

Celebrate Employee Birthdays

Everyone has their own special day each year, which is their birthday. This is something that really shows someone you care. It can be something as simple as having cake, ordering in some lunch for the office to eat and mingle, or even allowing the person to take that day off with pay.

Happy team with cake and drinks celebrating colleague 21st birthday at office party

Recognize Star Employees On Social Media

Are you looking for a small but special gesture to thank an employee? Take to your organization’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to publicly recognize them. Social recognition is an excellent way to show someone you’re proud. This not only builds your employer brand by showing your values and culture off to the world, but it also enables the employee to share the message with their followers to create brand ambassadors who represent an organization.

Create A Wall Of Fame

A picture is worth a thousand words! Creating an employee wall of fame is a fun way to highlight accomplishments made by teams or individuals. It’s also a special way to display your company’s culture for all to see. Snap candid photos of your employees hard at work, or have them bring in a baby photo to put on display. This is a fun game that makes employees want to be included.

The Bottom Line

In the end, most companies would never survive without the work of their employees. And the truth is that it’s easy to feel underappreciated and overlooked even when sales or profits are up. So, as a manager, the best thing you can do for the well-being of your team and organization is to take a little time occasionally and show appreciation for good work.

In honor of the Labor Day holiday, we’ve put together this little infographic as a visual reminder of the bottom-line business value that comes from appreciating your workers.

Original infographic via (formerly in 2012, content updated October 2021.

Appreciation for good work Infographic

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