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5 Small Yet Powerful Ways to Appreciate Your Colleagues


“When employees recognise and appreciate each other, their connection transcends the immediate culture to create a shared bond. The power of this bond is stronger than you might think; indeed, it’s the power that holds together great organizational cultures.”

– Erik Mosley and Derek Irvine, co-authors of The Power of Thanks: How Social

Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work

It is said that no man is an island. If we were to apply the same logic to a workplace ecosystem, we could say – no employee can ever work in a silo. This statement holds because just like we yearn for companionship as humans; we also yearn for a happy workplace as professionals. Among the cornerstones of such a workplace are recognition and appreciation.

According to Gallup, employees feel about 82% more motivated to work when recognised for their contribution. Many misconstrue the concept of ‘appreciation’ to be something loud and public alone. Contradictorily, it is a departure from being ‘functional robots’, whose ultimate focus is to mechanically go through daily motions of the day.

Appreciating your employees, peers and colleagues is imperative if you wish to foster deep-rooted bonds that add to workplace productivity. Here are 5, subtle, yet impactful ways of showcasing appreciation.

Fill up the jar of appreciation

This is inspired by the theory of bucket fillers and bucket dippers, as explained by Don Clifton and Tom Rath in their book – How full is your bucket? Here they speak about two types of employees.

One, who fill up the bucket/jar of appreciation by doing small acts of kindness, showcasing empathy, listening actively, expressing gratitude and so on. The second ones are bucket dippers or jar breakers, who prefer being negative, are prone to ignoring their peers, being passively disrespectful, etc. The next time you choose to interact with your colleagues, remember to be an appreciation jar-filler rather than a breaker.

Be an extrovert when communicating gratitude

Often, when it comes to appreciating colleagues, many feel like they are standing against a brick wall of discomfort. This hesitancy can become a major hindrance when it comes to acknowledging your peer’s efforts, which may lead to discontent on their part.

Feelings of appreciation, when shared have been recorded to have a positive impact on the overall wellbeing of employees. You can begin as small as acknowledging emails with a simple ‘thank you’. You’d be amazed how far along it might take you.

Start ‘appreciation circles’

Many workplaces have already established gratitude huddles, wherein every week team-members meet and appreciate each other for work, well-done. Why not implement that exact strategy daily?

When you begin your day by gathering your peers together and highlight one positive work quality of each one of them, your day is bound to start on a positive note. This practice does not necessarily have to be company-wide; it can be limited to a small team too as long as it is inclusive.

Participate in nomination drives

Peer-to-peer appreciation is one of the most potent ways to ensure that all employees feel respected and valued. Conduct small, informal nomination drives with a range of categories such as – ‘Upholder of workplace values’, ‘True Rockstar’, ‘Most Valued Team Player’, ‘Treasure chest of insights’, ‘Mountain of Help’, ‘Perfectly Punctual’, etc.

Such nomination drives allow for more participation and ultimately lead to more appreciation. Sometimes, the vote could be unanimous, while other times there could be multiple winners in categories. It is a healthy practice and can be implemented during team outings to add to the merriment.

Gift a meal

A gift as small as a fountain pen would be appreciated by a colleague who was a contributor to a project’s success. Another appreciative step is gifting a meal. Food has always been an excellent way to nurture strong bonds, and sharing that experience with a colleague is rewarding.

When you gift a meal, it is equally important to detail out the reasons for the same. It makes the gift more personalised and encourages the colleague to continue to outperform in the future. If you are a manager, then team lunches are a great idea to showcase your gratitude towards your team.

Practising the above five small, yet powerful ways will work towards strengthening your professional relationships and creating a happy workplace.

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