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Why is appreciation important in the workplace?

In our latest Digital Leadership Academy webinar, we explored the importance of appreciology within an organization or team. Why is appreciation so needed – and often so neglected – as a leadership skill? Let’s dive into the insights shared, including how to intentionally cultivate appreciology from the top-down, so your organization can thrive.

Why One-Size-Fits-All Appreciation Falls Short

Imagine this scenario: Lauren walks into work on her 40th birthday and finds a coffee mug emblazoned with the company’s logo and a small note inside. The mug is from her manager, acknowledging her birthday. Realizing she received the same gift on her last work anniversary, she rolls her eyes and gets to work.

While most organizations have employee-recognition programs, they often produce reactions like Lauren’s. These types of generic actions actually lead employees to feel completely unappreciated, which can balloon into a big problem.

A recent study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that employees who feel valued are more likely to report higher job satisfaction, motivation, and engagement. Yet, half of all employees in the survey do not feel appreciated at work and intend to look for a new job. 

The issue here is clear: people who feel undervalued by the organization where they work are less likely to feel engaged and stay on board. 

As a leader, it’s therefore critical to establish a culture of appreciology – or the art and science of appreciation. Appreciology means so much more than just a feel-good practice; it’s a fundamental aspect of effective leadership and organizational success.

The ROI of Recognition

Why is appreciation so crucial in leadership? At its core, an organization is nothing without its people. Whether they’re employees, clients, or vendors, the relationships we foster without our organizational ecosystem directly affect its trajectory. 

People naturally gravitate towards environments where they feel valued and uplifted. Just think about the last time you walked into a place radiating positivity – a church, an amusement park, or even a local shop. Maintaining such positivity requires deliberate effort, and appreciation lies at the heart. 


During the webinar, President of Vizmeg Landscape, Garrett Walker, joined us to talk about how his team has nurtured appreciology by ensuring it starts at the top among the company’s leaders. “It has to spread across the entire culture,” he noted. “And it has to be sincere.”  

In our fast-paced world, it’s so easy to spot what’s going wrong. Our brains are wired to notice flaws and errors, often overlooking the things that are going right. Herein lies the challenge and the opportunity for leaders to intentionally catch people doing something right. This shift in focus can have a ripple effect, transforming the organizational culture from one of criticism to one of recognition – and, ultimately, of satisfaction and happiness.

Creating a Culture of Appreciology

Spreading appreciation isn’t a one-time task; it requires a multi-pronged approach woven into the fabric of daily operations. Middle managers play a pivotal role in recognizing individual contributions, fostering a culture where appreciation becomes a natural part of day-to-day interactions. Sincerity is key – it’s not merely about going through the motions, but genuinely acknowledging the value that each person brings to the table.

Building a culture of appreciology must start at the top. Leaders have to set clear expectations for their teams and lead by example. Genuine thank-yous, no matter how small, can make a significant difference in morale. 

Leaders should also be mindful of their own behavior, recognizing that their actions and mood set the tone for the entire organization. If you want a positive culture, you must embody the enthusiasm and positivity you wish to see in others.

Remember: creating a positive culture doesn’t happen overnight; it requires intentional effort and time. Clear behavioral expectations provide employees with guidelines for how to embrace appreciology, but leaders must invest in building the systems and structures that prioritize this type of open gratitude.

In the end, appreciology isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a strategic imperative for any organization aspiring to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. By cultivating a culture of appreciation, leaders can unlock the full potential of their teams, creating environments where people feel inspired, supported, and empowered to do their best work. 

So, let’s embrace the art and science of appreciation and watch our organizations flourish from the top-down. Want to learn more about cultivating appreciology among your team? Schedule a meeting with our team. 

Looking for more webinar content? Visit The Impact Group Digital Leadership Academy.