OK. That was a loaded question.
But seriously have you ever wondered why, when you consider we spend roughly 90,000 hours of our life in this place we call work, that more attention isn’t given to ensuring every employee feels good about their role?
Having enough money is good, especially at a time when the cost of living is rising faster than all the hot air of the Federal election balloon.
But money alone doesn’t buy your health and happiness, no matter how much you invest in plastic surgery and health retreats.
Can eating pizza make you more productive?
This is the question researcher Dan Ariely wanted answered.
And indeed, he found, that given the option, being given pizza, or being paid a compliment by your boss was a bigger motivator to work harder than being given a bonus.
While the pizza led to a 6.7% increase in productivity on the first day, after a while the novelty of all that pizza wore thin, and the most successful group were those who received compliments – and that’s also kinder to the waistline.
Because as humans we yearn for praise and recognition.
We care deeply about what other people think about us, and being shown appreciation, even in a small way such as a hand-written note, a phone call or a face-to-face conversation goes a long way to raising happiness and putting you in a more positive state of mind.
A vibrant workplace is one that feels energising and inspiring.
What better than to go to work knowing you’re going to be working on a task you enjoy; with people you like and that you get acknowledged for.
Why aren’t we shown more respect and appreciation for our efforts?
Another good question.
Because it takes only a modicum of effort on the part of the manager or leader but can transform the interpersonal working relationship you have with your colleagues, other team members and your boss.
As a leader, showing your appreciation by saying thank you, calling out good work and praising hard work and effort allows everyone to know they matter which is a fundamental human need.
Who doesn’t want to feel noticed, heard and understood?
Showing appreciation raises your significance and this is described by social cognitive neuroscientist Robert A Snyder as the primary lens through which we filter our thoughts and feelings that determine our behaviour.
It’s about authenticity.
This is not about being given a participation certificate because you showed up to work five times this week.
Workplaces are dynamic, energetic and sometimes face significant challenges and issues.
Authentic appreciation is about specific gratitude for a particular person or event.
It’s genuine and heartfelt.
It’s a direct communication between the person showing the appreciation and the recipient.
It demonstrates trust, respect and affirms the position of the recipient as a valued team member.
Does it really make that much difference?
Boston Consulting Group showed that the top reason given for 200,000 employees why they enjoyed their work, was…. because they felt appreciated.
The second most important reason they gave was having a good working relationship with their supervisor closely followed by having good working relationships with their colleagues.
Glassdoor’s survey of 2000 US adults found that when shown appreciation, employees want to stay in their role for longer, 81% said feeling appreciated made them want to work harder.
Money can buy favours and few are going to turn down the offer of a bonus, but many also stated they would like to be shown appreciation through unexpected rewards and treats, being included in decision-making processes and being given career opportunities to further their professional development.
It’s not about the money.
It appears that being treated as a grown up, and as a person, goes a very long way to raising motivation, engagement, and contribution. That’s good for the individual, for teams and for the organisation.
How good a job do you think you’re doing as a leader, in showing appreciation to your staff?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is now available for purchase.
If thriving in life and work is something you’d like to find out more about, please contact me to set up a time for a chat.