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Recognition and Appreciation Are Not Synonymous

Employee Recognition, Employee Appreciation, Employee Appreciation Day, Employee Engagement, Gift Ideas, HR Solutions, Work, Snappy, Snappy Gifts, Diverse Team, DEI
Lauren Nolan
February 28, 2024

Recently, Snappy teamed up with Hebba Youssef, Chief People Officer at Workweek and I Hate It Here HR Newsletter founder and creator. Through her newsletter and HR Therapy webinar series, Youssef provides professionals with real talk about the world of work. She is on a mission to help experts create work environments that all employees can love.

Ahead of Employee Appreciation Day on Friday, March 1, Youssef hosted a webinar with fellow HR leaders featuring a thoughtful conversation all about employee engagement, recognition, and appreciation. One of the most important takeaways was exploring the differences between employee recognition and employee appreciation. Employees need both, but they are not the same:

Recognition is about what people are doing, and sharing positive feedback for specific accomplishments and contributions.

We often use employee recognition and employee appreciation interchangeably, but it’s not entirely accurate to say they’re synonymous. 

Sharing recognition with teams is all about providing shout-outs, moments of celebration, and spotlighting what they’ve accomplished (think: completing a big project or being a stellar performer). Recognition is much more performance-based, and is a very important aspect of employee engagement. According to a 2024 Workforce Study, 1 in 5 employees (20%) report they feel their contributions at work are not recognized. When employee contributions are not recognized, employee satisfaction, wellness, and motivation suffer.

Employee appreciation is all about who someone is as a person, identifying their inherent value.

Employee appreciation isn’t just about accomplishments, it’s about recognizing their worth as a person. Employee appreciation makes people feel seen and valued. It is acknowledging employees and team members for more than just their contributions in their role at work.

A simple “thank you,” paired with time spent letting team members know how much you enjoy their sense of humor, project management skills, or attention to detail are all part of creating a culture of appreciation within your organization.

Employee appreciation is important as it opens doors to more opportunities to support team members, even in moments of challenge or failure. Sharing appreciation for who your team members are and the value they bring to work each day is validating and lets them know you see them. Appreciation builds trust and connection. 

Four simple strategies for getting started in sharing both recognition and appreciation with employees:

Have a strategy.

Sharing appreciation doesn’t always come naturally, and that’s OK. Creating a strategy around showing appreciation authentically, and even tying goals to employee recognition and appreciation is the first step to getting started.

Having a set strategy helps teams create habits around employee recognition and builds a culture of appreciation. When there are specific goals tied to employee appreciation it more seamlessly and authentically becomes embedded in company culture.

Tie employee recognition and appreciation back to company values.

When company values and principles are tied to moments of employee appreciation and recognition programming they become more deeply embedded into your organization's DNA. 

Know your company values. Make sure your employees know your company values. When you accomplish this, the why behind why you’re offering employee recognition and appreciation becomes much clearer and more authentic. Tying values to recognition and appreciation allows employees to understand and see how they fit into the company culture.

Give everyone a platform. Create the moment.

When people have a dedicated moment (think: a weekly standup) or platform (i.e. Slack) for sharing ongoing appreciation of their colleagues, teams, and clients, it makes it easier to share appreciation on a regular basis. Employee appreciation can come from any level, at any time. Make it easy for everyone to share why they value others.

Sharing employee recognition can be a bit more structured, and should still have a dedicated platform and time. Employee recognition could happen at the end of each quarter, celebrating what’s recently been achieved. Team members can take the spotlight at an all-hands to share about a recent launch or the close of a big sale. 

When we carve out time and space, we simplify the process and empower more people to share their gratitude and give kudos for a job well done. 

Stop overcomplicating acts of recognition and employee appreciation.

It’s OK (and often times welcome) to implement a clear process for how managers, employees, and executives can show their appreciation and recognition to others. Employee appreciation and recognition shouldn’t feel like extra work. You want people to look forward to giving shout-outs and celebrating accomplishments. Make the act of sharing appreciation and making people feel valued easy.

Create employee recognition moments at regular intervals, such as quarterly business reviews or project launch presentations. Automate moments of gratitude with tools like Snappy, Snappy provides gift givers a dedicated platform for seamlessly sending high-quality gift collections at any budget to recipients around the globe, spreading joy, appreciation and employee recognition through the power of gifting. 

People are busy. Teams are wearing a lot of hats, and juggling a lot of work. Listen to what your employees want and how they want to be recognized. You don’t need all the bells and ponies. Sometimes sharing appreciation is as simple as sending a gift and a personalized note. There’s no need to overcomplicate something that can be done simply and efficiently, it’s just about making sure you get it done!

Start sending meaningful gifts today...

Looking to share your appreciation with employees? Start sending meaningful gifts today with Snappy.

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