“Getting paid” is the fulfillment of an employee/employer contract. The employee works; the employer pays. For some that is enough.
However, we know that saying “thank you” or “great job” to someone is important. Recognition by a supervisor or a peer has a positive impact on both the person extending the kindness as well as the person receiving that kindness.
Showing and expressing appreciation makes a significant difference in the way we feel about ourselves and the way we work. As research continues to support, acts of kindness benefit both the giver and the receiver. What makes a difference in workplace satisfaction are acknowledgements and recognition specific to the worker’s talent, personality, and unique contribution.
So, to put that research into practice, when someone at work does, says, discovers, or adds something, let them know the value of their contribution. Specifically, emphasize what it is they brought to that particular problem or project that made a difference. Each of us has skills, aptitudes, perspectives, and ways of engagement in the world that make us unique. When recognition focuses on that uniqueness it reinforces our sense of our self as well as our commitment to what we are doing. This can increase our motivation. We are not another replaceable cog in a wheel. Each of us needs to feel we are connected to the whole; we are important to the process and the outcome. Comments based on what people observe let us know that we are on the right track. And to this point, I never understood why people had to wait until an annual review to say or hear the specific details that can enhance or deter their success.
Examples of simple but effective ways to enact kindness at work include:
— Telling the cook in the cafeteria how much you look forward to his apple pie on Fridays;
— Thanking your co-worker for remembering how you like your coffee when they obviously asked for extra milk just the way you like it;
— Taking someone aside and letting them know that it was their crackerjack editorial skills that improved the report the team was working on;
— Recognizing the significant events or priorities in another person’s life and acknowledging them;
— Letting someone know you are thinking of them and are available to pitch in while they go through a difficult time outside of work.