7 Motivators

7 Powerful Motivators to Improve Workplace Performance

A recent research study of 200,000 plus individuals concluded that 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.  When employees don’t feel valued for who they are or what they bring to the workplace, they disengage and often leave.  Disengaged employees have a negative impact on the work environment.  Turnover is disruptive and costly to companies, and it’s also disruptive to all the individuals involved – to those who leave and to those who stay behind.  The statistic is disheartening – but the condition is easily preventable.

We all want to be valued.  We all want to be heard.  And we all want to belong.  When those three elements are lacking, it becomes easier to doubt ourselves, to feel uncomfortable, and to withdraw.  When we don’t believe that others care, it’s too easy to become discouraged and resentful and to disengage.

We all want to be valued.  We all want to be heard.  And we all want to belong.

In contrast, when we feel that those around us care about us and value our contributions and characteristics, we engage more fully.  When we receive validation and sincere appreciation, we are energized to do our best work.  That kind of environment encourages us to be productive and to feel connected to our work and to those around us.  When we feel valued, we typically enjoy the people around us and develop positive thoughts and feelings about the place where we work.  We are more likely to make stronger contributions when we feel valued for what we’re already bringing to the table.

Somehow it’s easier for most of us to comment on what’s not working than what is, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  In his book [easyazon_link asin=”0071351450″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”achievstrate-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Bringing Out the Best in People[/easyazon_link], Aubrey Daniels concludes that “recognition and appreciation are the most powerful motivators of improved performance”.  Numerous studies have shown that work places that have an established culture of appreciation are three times more productive and profitable when compared to those that don’t.  Appreciation pays big dividends.

Recognition and appreciation are the most powerful motivators of improved performance.

How can we make sure those around us feel that they are valued and heard, and that they belong? Below are some tips and ideas to consider:

1. Pay Attention

Take note of those around you who brighten your day, contribute to your success, or make your job easier. Observe and share your observations out loud.

2. Take interest

Get to know your co-workers or employees. It doesn’t take much time to share a warm smile or to take an interest in another person, but those actions communicate that I care about you and am interested in who you are. Taking interest helps people feel they belong. How you treat others is a form of appreciation. When you treat people with respect and show interest in them, they tend to feel valued.

3. Listen

Take the time to listen to others’ viewpoints, ideas, and suggestions. When you take the time to listen and gain understanding, you help others feel that they are heard and that what they say is important.

Taking interest helps people feel they belong. How you treat others is a form of appreciation.

4. Ask questions

When people ask our opinions, they are communicating that they value what we have to say and how we think. You can make asking questions an even stronger signal by communicating “I value your opinion; would you share with me what you think about this?” When we are asked for our opinions, we recognize that we are valued members of the team.

Recognize those who do good work and make contributions. We can’t read minds. We make assumptions and interpret behavior, but we don’t necessarily know what someone else is thinking unless they tell us. The absence of acknowledgment or interest has an impact on us just as positive and negative messages do.

To assure that your appreciations will be meaningful to those you communicate with be sure you:

  • Are Sincere. Make sure you don’t have an ulterior motive. When you appreciate, avoid attaching a request for something else with it. Be authentic and genuine and believe in what you are sharing.
  • Are Specific. Be clear and specific about the behavior, actions, characteristics, and/or qualities that you are acknowledging.
  • Share the impact. Let the person you’re appreciating know the impact their behavior has on you and/or the organization.
  • Appreciate people one at a time. It means so much more when we are appreciated individually. A group of people may have worked together on a project but each individual contributed something. Letting them know that you recognize their specific contribution helps people know that you see them as individuals.

6. Consider that individuals vary in the way they like to be appreciated

Each of us is unique. Some of us like public recognition; others prefer private acknowledgment. Giving an acknowledgement to a more introverted person in a large room of people may actually detract from your overall message.

Dr. Paul White’s book, [easyazon_link asin=”080246176X” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”achievstrate-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace[/easyazon_link], identifies the five primary ways most of us like to be appreciated. Often our appreciations miss when we don’t offer them in the manner that the recipient prefers. Some people enjoy receiving words of appreciation. Others feel appreciated when you choose to spend quality time together; some feel cared for when offered help and support. Still others feel special when they receive gifts or a high five. It’s important to know how the person you’re appreciating likes to be acknowledged or your message may not be received as you’d like it to be.

Often our appreciations miss when we don’t offer them in the manner that the recipient prefers.

7. Follow through

When we follow through on the commitments and promises we make, we are saying, “You are a priority to me. You matter.” Following through builds trust.

When people share sincere expressions of appreciation with us, we feel validated. We feel seen. We feel that we matter. We gain confidence when others re-enforce for us what they see and how they value our contributions. Your appreciation may also change the way others view themselves, may show them a quality they didn’t realize they had, or help them realize the impact they’ve had.

Research has shown that people who appreciate others and those who receive appreciation are both happier. When we give to other people, we feel happy. Make sure those people who work with you are appreciated. They will feel great, enjoy working with you, and do their best work. You, your co-workers, and the company all win.

When we follow through on the commitments and promises we make, we are saying, “You are a priority to me. You matter.” Following through builds trust.


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Copyright: yganko / 123RF Stock Photo

Margy Bresslour is the Founder of Moving Messages, a company dedicated to encouraging the expression of appreciation. Moving Messages works with organizations to create a positive and productive culture where employees feel valued and are fully engaged, and where customers and clients love doing business. Margy offers consultation, coaching, and mentoring that develop individuals who thrive, cohesive teams that enjoy working together, and organizations that get rave reviews and improved outcomes.

  • http://www.tapmyback.com/ Guilherme Duarte

    First of all congratulations on the great article, I totally agree with everything that was said. I would only emphasize one important aspect of employee happiness which is the recognition, specially the one made public, from leader to employee and from coworkers. In order to have a recognition type culture in a company I think it has also to be initiative from the the team leader. If it is done in a fun and simple way, all peers will come on board and all team will be happier :) There are some apps that try to implement this aspect in a company’s daily routine and one of them is Tap My Back. If you want to take a look just to go http://www.tapmyback.com! Great article, keep them coming :)

  • http://www.activia.co.uk/blog/ Ashley Andrews

    I couldn’t agree more, Margy. Often we don’t even realise how big an impact these things (like simply listening and paying attention to each other and asking questions) have but they really are essential for good performance.

    Great post!

    The Activia Training Blog I Our latest post

  • http://www.lifeisntbroken.com lifeisntbroken

    I so appreciate seeing another great post by you on such an important topic. We can’t be reminded enough the power appreciation has to move others and to improve ourselves. By focusing on noticing what’s right we shift our energy into an entirely new direction. It works at work, it works with our children, in our friendships and in our marriages. Appreciation. like love is a universal language. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Margy

    What a great way to start my day with such a complimentary comment from you! Thank you! I whole-heartedly agree with you that leaders and managers play a pivotal role in employees recognizing that they are valued. Thanks for the introduction to Tap My Back. I look forward to exploring it in more detail. Love the concept! Thanks again for your comment.

  • Margy

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Ashley. It’s validating to me to know that what I write resonates with other people. Thank you.

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