Recognition – vs – Appreciation

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Recognition – vs- Appreciation?




We typically assume that recognition is synonymous with appreciation in the workplace. In fact, they are very different. Business leaders typically share negative feedback, constructive criticism, or suggestions for enhanced performance throughout the year. However, positive feedback and recognition for a job well done is most often held until the yearly review. Appreciation hardly (if ever) comes up as part of the conversation. In today’s work environment, ignoring the appreciation element can be detrimental to an organization’s recruitment and retention plans.

What is the difference between recognition and appreciation?

Recognition is what we associate with annual reviews; the time of year when a leader / manager reviews past performance. The conversation usually entails very tangible feedback (positive or negative) coupled with improvement opportunities, often resulting in a raise or year-end bonus. The emphasis on recognition is more about what a person has done in the past.

Over the past several years, many organizations have begun to integrate more frequent feedback loops to increase recognition and course-correct team members to help them realize their yearly goals. Managers are more open to scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with their staff and have even implemented peer recognition rituals. Frequent feedback is always a significant first step.

Appreciation focuses less on past performance and what a person has done and more on the person as an individual. When showing appreciation, you are acknowledging inherent value to the team and organization.

This past year, we have all been forced to deal with so many differing factors in our individual lives that have contributed greatly to productivity at work and personally. Dealing directly with illness, being a caretaker to loved ones, having limited space at our disposal, acting as “schoolteacher” to homeschooled children, increased stress levels, are just some of the many ways that have affected our abilities to operate in a  highly efficient manner at all times.

Organizations have always tried to account for a true understanding of each individual’s unique situation but this year, when most of us are all separate and dealing with such diverse issues how can we quantify that as part of a year-end review process. Is it fair to judge everyone on the same playing field? How do we quantifiably measure appreciation?

Appreciation shows your organizational team members that we see who they are as a person and hear what they have to say. It shows them that they are more than a number, more than a cog in the wheel of the organization. People not only want to know that they are doing a good job; they want to see value for what they put into their performance. That is the crucial distinction between recognition and appreciation that has been absent in the review process.

Showing appreciation is not tricky. A simple check-in with your team members, genuinely showing concern for their overall wellbeing on an ongoing basis, not concerning a specific project, but how are they in and out of work. Ask them about what is challenging them in a good or bad way. Share with them what you value about them. How during these challenging times, you, the team, and the organization are prepared to assist them in any way possible. Offering flexible work schedules, moving around meeting times to accommodate, company assistance with childcare, are just a few suggestions to let know people that you care about them beyond their tangible work product. Sharing insights about them that go beyond “good or bad” are great building blocks. Noticing calm demeanor when dealing with a challenging situation or assessing how together you can solve challenges outside of the regular work sphere are some examples.

The bottom line is that when people feel seen, heard, and recognized for their efforts; they are more productive and happier at work. This happiness translates to great loyalty to the organization, their manager, and colleagues.

Feel free to reach out directly to discuss this topic further as well as any other questions or concerns regarding the current hiring climate.  I guarantee that in our call together you will leave with 2 or 3 ideas that will greatly impact your ability to find, attract, and procure the top 10-15% of the candidate pool on a consistent basis.

Peter Tannenbaum is sought out by leaders in Financial Services who recognize the need to attract the industry’s best talent. Through Ramax Search’s extensive network of relationships and their “deep dive” qualification process, they are able to identify and secure individuals who represent the top tier of Financial Services professionals. To discover how this process can benefit your organization, call Peter at 212.686.1686 ext. 102.

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