Things for teams to try: Improving Appreciation

Sometimes we take appreciation a bit for granted – people must know we were grateful to them for getting something done or supporting us – but appreciation is so powerful, it’s great to increase feelings of it in your team. Here are some suggestions on how…

5 Appreciation - team

1. Say thank-you

Who did you receive help and support from this week? Make a mental note to thank them. You can say thanks in Friday and a thank-you email will land in their inbox. Or take it offline if that feels more appropriate for your thank-you.

During a busy trading period, one client used the power of the thank-you to sustain morale. The team leader asked everyone in the team to say thank-you to another colleague every day, creating 160 positive interactions for her team of 32 people each week.

2. Be clear about what you appreciate

We feel appreciation a lot more when the thanker provides a bit of detail and context. For example, saying "The way you managed the time in the client meeting yesterday was really helpful for getting the next steps agreed" carries a lot more emotional weight than saying "good job yesterday".

The second short thank you in the example is too generic for us to learn and build from. However, the first thank you highlights where you've added value and provides clues about what to do to feel appreciated in the future.

3. Count your blessings

Once a week, make a list in Friday of the good things for which you are thankful, or simply write them on a piece of paper to be thrown away.

List three things that have felt positive which you are grateful for - this could be anything from your physical health, a moment of inspiration, something that made you feel proud or someone who helped you out. Over time you will feel better for noticing the things that improve your quality of life. The same benefits accrue if you practice gratitude during a difficult time, when a lot of things at work or at home don’t feel like they are going right.

4. Appreciate yourself - every week

Work-life is tough when we don't feel like our efforts are ""seen"" or recognized by others. You might be aware the people who would normally give you a bit of a boost with a thank you are stressed, preoccupied or just not showing as much love as they normally would because they're working remotely. When it feels like appreciation is running low and you can't expect more from people around you any time soon, it's important we find ways to wrestle back some control around the experiences which define our working week.

Try looking at the situation from the inside out and ask ""What have I done to appreciate myself this week?"" If it's been a long time since you felt appreciated, then this might be a difficult question to answer. Take a moment to remember a time when you did feel valued and appreciated. Make a note of the things that make you feel special - and then set about treasuring youself. For example, if it was a time someone bought you a thoughtful gift, buy something to treat yourself. If it was a time when someone gifted you some peace and quiet away from the daily frey, create a bit of this time for yourself.

5. Schedule 1:1s with your line manager

Some teams do 1:1s regularly and other managers have an ""open door"" policy. We have seen a pattern emerge during Covid-19 which taught us something new about appreciation.

When people started to recognize that larger meetings were no longer as useful when done onscreen, many more managers took to checking in with employees on a 1:1 basis - and experience of appreciation steadily improved. We believe it's because 1:1s allow employees and managers to get to know each other a little deeper as individuals. This understanding of each other – of hopes, challenges and goals - helped people to appreciate each other more effectively. For example, if a manager knows what a colleague is finding difficult in their role, they naturally pay more attention to the progress they make in this area. If a colleague knows how a manager is looking to develop and grow, they can think about providing positive feedback when they notice they've tried a different approach.

Essentially, appreciation can only become personalized if you know your colleagues better as individuals. For many of our users on the Friday Pulse platform, short, regular check-in 1:1s is a new habit they will hold onto in a post-Covid world.