Showing Appreciation in a Remote Work Environment

by Doug Claffey

What’s one easy thing that people should be doing right now, but they’re not? Our research suggests organizations are struggling to find ways to show appreciation. We sat down with Doug Claffey, Energage Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, to talk about its importance in a remote work environment.

Appreciation is a key culture driver, especially now

We’ve pinpointed 15 key culture drivers – and appreciation ranks consistently in the top five. The fact is, the human need for recognition has not changed. Yet, what we’re seeing in the pulse survey data we’ve collected for our customers is that appreciation – being grateful for your employees – is the spottiest.

Our research shows that organizations aren’t consistently practicing recognition, whether among peers, within teams, or at the leadership level. One department may not be showing it. One manager may not be showing it. A couple of departments may be feeling some pain around that area.

Showing gratitude is the easiest, least expensive way to improve engagement

Managers are not the only group responsible for showing appreciation. It should occur throughout the organization. It remains one of the simplest ways to impact employee engagement, from a quick “Wow, thanks for that” or, “I really appreciate that” to “Great job … thank you.”

Now that many of us are working in a virtual environment, it’s important to be intentional about showing appreciation as often – and authentically – as you would have in the office.

Ways to show appreciation in a remote work environment

I can share an example of how we use Slack to show appreciation here at Energage. The tool gives us the ability to send a quick thank-you note or an emoticon to recognize another person. We also use channels as a way for groups to share something about life outside of work. Actions like this take less than a minute. But the message is very meaningful in terms of terms of connection.

Using video is another way to show gratitude. Show your appreciation with your words, with your expression. Take the opportunity to lean in a little bit to the camera when you’re saying, “Thanks. I really appreciate that.” Use your webcam and make sure nonverbals – such as tone and facial expression — mirror what you are delivering. This will strengthen your message.

Develop this habit to strengthen your culture

Everyone shows appreciation based on their personal journey, how they grew up, how people showed appreciation to them, what kind of a domain or sector they’ve worked in, and even where they’ve worked.

I come from an engineering background. I can tell you that appreciation was not something that you showed to people. It just wasn’t part of the engineering mindset. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Appreciation is a habit. Failing to show appreciation is also a habit. That’s why it’s hard.

The best way to start showing appreciation is to be intentional about making it a habit. Remind yourself to do it. Be consistent and be authentic. Making appreciation a regular exercise is how you get beyond it.

The bottom line on appreciation

A culture of appreciation has a direct impact on employee motivation. Motivation leads directly to business results. When people feel genuinely appreciated, they’ll give more effort – and maybe even a lot more effort to your organization.

Organizations are more cost-conscious than ever. A culture of appreciation is low cost and high impact. It’s really about taking a few seconds to say, “Thank you.”

Request a complimentary, 15-minute consultation with a survey specialist.