Want to know how important appreciation is in the workplace? The book, “Appreciate: Celebrating People, Inspiring Greatness,” by David Sturt, Todd Nordstrom, Kevin Ames, and Gary Beckstrand, reports that “79% of people who leave jobs report ‘a lack of appreciation’ as the reason they left.” Wow.

Being intentional about recognizing and appreciating great work increases employee engagement. And engagement can result in not only higher employee retention, but better outcomes with customers. But what is great work? Sturt et al say that it’s different for every team, but includes, “things you value that contribute to your team’s results.”

How to improve employee retention and get better results with customers? Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate! #appreciation #leadership #businessbookclub Click To Tweet

Easy enough. But where to start? “Appreciate” highlights three areas – effort, results, and careers – and recommends treating them each a bit differently.

Encourage Effort

When you see a team member working towards something that you, your organization, and/or your customers value, be sure to cheer them on. You’ll be reinforcing behaviors you want to see more of, and that can help your team members stay on the right track.

Reward Results

Rewarding your team for results that align with your goals and values will help your team know what’s important so they can do it again. And going above and beyond expectations deserves more “oomph” from a recognition point of view.

Sturt et al differentiate this type of appreciation from incentives, which have more of a quid pro quo transaction (e.g. make this sales goal and get that amount of bonus). And as a career compensation person, I concur!

Celebrate Careers

A career is the sum of our efforts and results over time. When you take the time to celebrate a career milestone, whether it’s at the first-year mark or at retirement, you’re showing your team that you value them more broadly than just a single result they achieved. This is also a great opportunity to highlight how the person got their work done – supporting others, excellent research skills, ability to stay calm under pressure, or closing sales.

Using effort, results, and careers as guideposts for when and how to recognize and appreciate great work can lead to increased employee engagement and better outcomes with customers.

I hereby challenge you to find at least one way to appreciate your team in the next week! How will you do it? Let me know in the comments below!