The power of appreciation

Tips for showing appreciation in the workplace

3 min read

April 2024

Side profile of a person sitting at a laptop and smiling at another person on the screen.

When you think of being appreciated at work, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s financial compensation, a promotion, or even a tangible reward or certificate. A 2015 survey conducted by the O.C. Tanner Institute showed that a whopping 37% of respondents chose “recognize me” in response to a question about what their manager or company could do to help them create great work. Considering those that work full-time spend nearly a third of their waking hours at work, is it any surprise that people value being appreciated while on the job?

While there can be some overlap in the terms “recognition” and “appreciation,” they do vary in several ways. Recognition can be a way of saying “thank you,” but it’s often performance based and therefore can be conditional—such as a pay increase or bonus. Appreciation, on the other hand, isn’t about performance or accomplishments but seeing people for their worth and value. Simply put, appreciation can be a way of saying “I see you.”

It’s clear that appreciation in the workplace matters. And it’s not just something managers should do—we all need to get into the appreciation game.

Here are some actionable ways you can show appreciation at work.

Words of affirmation and encouragement

The simplest (yet possibly most impactful) way of showing appreciation at work can be through words of affirmation. Expressions of gratitude can be shared verbally, by email, or even via a handwritten note. For the past several years, we’ve celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Week at Progressive by encouraging employees to send digital greeting cards with kind messages to their peers. Regardless of how you choose to share the message, the important thing is that others know you see and appreciate them and their contributions.

Many of us can relate to times when we’ve doubted ourselves or our abilities at work. Sometimes a bit of encouragement can help us tap into skills we may already possess but haven’t yet unlocked. Helping someone realize their potential can in turn have a positive impact on their morale at work, which could lead to improved job satisfaction and productivity. Now imagine the potential trickle-down effect when we make others feel valued and the boost this can have on your team’s morale and performance.

Acts of service

Sometimes the best way of showing appreciation is by lending a helping hand. We’ve all experienced moments of feeling overwhelmed or even unappreciated. One way to show appreciation and show someone that you see them is by offering them assistance. This not only takes a burden off their shoulders, but also serves as a way of acknowledging the work they’re doing.

While an offer to help can be genuine, make sure it’s what the person actually wants or needs. Truly making them feel appreciated means not just offering to help, but understanding what they need.

Tokens of appreciation

Sometimes just a simple token of gratitude can say more than words or actions. Tokens of appreciation can range from a sweet treat to a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. Or maybe they have a hobby you can help to support. Whatever option you choose, take some time to learn more about what they like or some of their favorite activities outside of work. Nothing says “I see you” more than listening and then acknowledging their passions as a form of gratitude.

Hopefully you’ve found these tips useful in showing the power of appreciation in the workplace. Learn more about Progressive’s unique culture that values people for who they are and the energy they bring.

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