If your boss gives you a high five ✋🏻or a fist bump 👊🏻as a form of appreciation for your work, would you like it?
Would you like it even more if your boss lunches with you?
Or, if your boss gives you tips on how to address work challenges over a casual lunch?
Everyone wants to be appreciated, whether you’re a homemaker, a worker, a student, or even when you’re the boss. We feel valued, relevant and liked.
As Samuel Goldwyn said, “When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy.”
Knowing that someone else acknowledges your work and contribution is psychologically gratifying and nourishing.
In what way should appreciation be shown? Affirmative words, tangible gifts, or physical touch? Or perhaps when your boss or co-worker spends quality time with you or offers practical assistance to you?
In a recent paper titled “The comparison of preferred languages of appreciation between Singapore employees and US employees” published in the Journal of Development and Learning in Organizations in 2019, authors Paul White, Natalie Hamrick and Jasmine Liew explored this particular issue.
They found that Singapore employees preferred a helpful manager who offers acts of service or assistance as the form of appreciation. They also liked words of affirmation.
The study involved 967 employees in Singapore who completed an online assessment called the “Motivating By Appreciation Inventory”.
It was suggested that the acts of service or assistance could take place during lunch where work challenges are discussed. Such interactions at a more personal level were desired by Singapore employees.
In another study, the Qualtrics group reported that Singapore employees would continue working for the company for at least the next few years if they had managers who consistently acknowledged them for doing good work.
By comparison, receiving a thoughtful, tangible gift of appreciation from your manager happened to be the least preferred form among employees in Singapore.
No matter what form of gratitude and appreciation is shown, the impact on the receiving party is always good.
Medical studies show that the hypothalamus – which controls basic body functions such as eating and sleeping – and dopamine levels in the brain are heavily affected by feelings of gratitude.
Gratitude creates good feelings, cheerful memories, better self-esteem, relaxation, and optimisim. It impacts the workplace and organisation.
For employees, any form of appreciation is good. Employees can initiate that by asking for feedback from your manager.
For managers, do find ways to show appreciation to employees and co-workers. Say “thank you” and “good job”, if that’s the least you can do.
Genuine appreciation is about respecting and valuing employees for who they are. When employees feel valued and appreciated, results are better and everyone wins.
Make appreciation contagious.