A “Culture Of Appreciation” Improves Work And Customer Loyalty: Here’s How To Make Your Own

Posted by Shannon Lewis on January 3, 2024

The desire to feel valued, recognized and appreciated is universal in Western culture, not only in our personal lives but also in the workplace. According to Great Place To Work’s 2023 discretionary effort study, 37% of respondents said that more recognition at work “would encourage them to produce better work more often.” Additionally, employees who feel consistently recognized are 2.2X more likely to innovate and bring up new ideas and 2X more likely to say people at work go above and beyond. Working harder, smarter and happier – that’s a significant ROI.

Similarly, customer appreciation drives loyalty, engagement and company growth. A Forrester survey of 85,000 consumers found that the top three emotions that “inspire or discourage loyalty” among people are to feel valued, appreciated and respected.

We can all agree that appreciation is important, but how you show it matters. Appreciation isn’t a one-and-done event. (Sorry, but your annual Christmas party or Facebook customer appreciation post doesn’t cover it.) To reap the benefits of appreciation in your organization, you must weave it into company culture.

Tips To Create A Culture Of Appreciation

A culture of appreciation is about being consistent. While significant events like anniversaries, birthdays and holidays are great opportunities to recognize and appreciate employees and customers, you need to do it in small ways throughout the year.

Here are a few important tips to help you create your own meaningful culture of appreciation:

Tips for meaningful employee appreciation and recognition:

It’s important to note that there is a difference between appreciation and recognition. Appreciating an employee is to acknowledge their value as a person to your organization. Recognition is related to performance and effort. Consider both when you are planning your acts of thanks:

  • Find out what’s meaningful to them. Everyone has preferences for how they want to be appreciated. So ask! Food, a note, a personalized gift – there are many simple ways to show appreciation.
  • Create more opportunities for recognition. You can’t see everything, so ask for submissions from your entire team and post the shout-outs on an office bulletin board or internal team e-mail.
  • Be specific. Did they put in extra effort for the presentation? Are they always on time for team calls? Specific comments are more genuine.
  • Don’t wait. Don’t recognize an employee for their work on a presentation a month after the conference. The sooner you say it, the more impact it will have.
  • Align with the bigger vision. Recognize how employees contribute to your organization’s mission during team meetings. You could even offer to pay for a training course or industry conference to invest in their professional growth.

Appreciating Customers:

In a study by the Rockefeller Corporation, 82% of customers will stop doing business with you if they feel they’re undervalued. Here are tips for creating a culture of customer appreciation in your organization:

  • Personalize their experience. A handwritten thank-you note is meaningful to customers, but personalizing the customer experience can go even further. Figure out how they like to be reached (via e-mail or phone, for example) or set up marketing campaigns relevant to their unique preferences.
  • Follow up. After a service or purchase, check in with your customer to ensure they’re happy. Proactively showing up and addressing questions or problems before customers get frustrated helps them feel valued and respected.
  • Create loyalty programs. Programs (like Starbucks’ Rewards or REI’s co-op membership) where customers earn points for purchases or get discounts for loyalty milestones help express how important their business is to you, ensuring you keep getting it!
  • Offer perks or gifts (especially when something goes wrong). Customers love getting perks on their birthdays, on holidays, as a surprise or to celebrate a significant purchase from you. But gifts like a free product, gift card or discounts are essential if there’s a problem. Once solved, gifts provide a way to recognize and rectify the inconvenience.

Infusing appreciation and recognition into your organization isn’t just a pleasant gesture – it’s a strategic move that yields tangible results like improved employee effort and innovation, stronger relationships and loyalty. Whether acknowledging an employee’s hard work or sending a personalized note to a customer, let’s make every interaction a testament to our appreciation and respect for them – not just this month, but all year-round.