The Currency of Appreciation

A recent article (pdf) in New Zealand Management magazine advocates the benefits of showing appreciation in engaging and motivating employees. In not-for-profit organisations run by volunteer members, showing appreciation seems like common sense. Unfortunately in the case of an acquaintance of mine, common sense was not that common.

Earlier this year my acquaintance* was appointed in a voluntary specialist role to assist the organisation in raising its profile across the country. She engaged the board in healthy debate about how this could be achieved and went about working towards these goals, producing tangible results within a few months.

Unfortunately, about a month ago, my acquaintance resigned as changes in her full-time paid employment role meant that she was unable to continue her voluntary work. What I was dismayed to learn was that her resignation was only acknowledged by one of the ten board members, and that none of them had acknowledged her achievements. We all know that bad news travels faster than good news and in this case a lack of common courtesy festered anger and resentment.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort or time to praise people for their good work or to have a conversation that conveys appreciation and understanding. Don’t assume that someone else is having that conversation. Do it yourself, whether it’s your role or not.  You never know, it could be the difference between an engaged high performing employee or a disgruntled one. The difference between a long term relationship or a transaction. The difference between business success or disaster.

* some details have been altered to maintain anonymity.