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Workplace Appreciation: How to Create Warm Fuzzies

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"The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated." -William James

Who can honestly say they don’t appreciate a warm fuzzy from time to time?

This past holiday season at the Fierce office, we participated in a gratitude exercise where each person was instructed to express their appreciation for their randomly-assigned gratitude partner. We were given the name of our partner beforehand and then met as an entire company to verbally deliver our gratitude. As you can imagine, the room was filled with an abundance of warm fuzzies that day—warm fuzzies that gave us a burst of energy and a feeling of unity as we transitioned into the new year.

Sometimes we operate in the workplace not knowing whether our efforts are noticed by others. When our efforts are noticed, the acknowledgment we receive has the power to increase our motivation by letting us know we’re respected and seen.

It also makes us want to stick around and work harder. A survey from Glassdoor reveals that 53% of employees admit they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss, and 81% of employees report they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.

Aside from stats and warm fuzzies, showing appreciation simply lets people know they’re valued. And in the workplace, nothing is more important than feeling like your presence matters. Here are a few easy ways you can actively create an environment of appreciation in your workplace.

When You See it, Say it

Appreciation shouldn’t just be reserved for special occasions. Instead, it should be handed out freely any time the opportunity arises. When Steven from the planning department goes above and beyond to produce a quality deliverable, or Margo the assistant quickly prepares a room for an important meeting, acknowledge their efforts as they occur, in the moment.

Bring a Gift

Although verbal communication is often the most effective way to express appreciation, gifts can be a fun way to accompany your message. If you want to show appreciation for a specific person, consider giving a gift card or taking them out for lunch. If you want to show appreciation company-wide, bring in a baked good or even something quirky like an office plant. If you decide on a gift, make sure to express either verbally or in writing that the gift is intended to be a show of appreciation to those on the receiving end.

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Facilitate a Gratitude Exercise

Consider implementing an exercise like the one we carried out here at Fierce. Another idea—originally mentioned in a previous blog where Stacey listed some helpful gratitude exercises—is to create a card for every participant in the exercise and pass each card around so that everyone can write their words of appreciation on each person’s card, and then meet with everyone later to read the cards aloud.

Leave a Personalized Thank You Note

Communicating face to face is often the most impactful way to strengthen relationships, but sometimes leaving a note can be an equal alternative, especially for those of us who express ourselves most accurately through writing. Writing a note also has the added benefit of longevity—a meaningful thank you note can be read again and again, creating reinforcement of your appreciation for years to come.

Have a Conversation

Sometimes the actions or behaviors of others move us deeply, and a quick “thank you” just doesn’t suffice. If that’s the case, set up a one-on-one meeting with the person or people you want to thank. Be specific in these conversations, and if you’re feeling courageous, be vulnerable. Explain how their words, behaviors or actions had a positive emotional impact on you. For example, if Cynthia from accounting took on a last-minute make-or-break project and delivered it with a can-do attitude, you might start out by mentioning the behavior that moved you, and the emotion you felt as a result of her efforts (relieved, excited, inspired, etc.).

Don’t let the opportunity pass you by to spread warmth and show gratitude, both for yourself and those around you.

What’s your favorite way to show appreciation?

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