Appreciation: Expect Less, Achieve More

“How are you doing?” …a question you will probably ask and be asked a dozen times a day. You’re so used to being asked, you probably have an automatic reflex response to it; mine used to be “not too bad” followed by the reciprocated “how about you?”.

It’s a social expectation, a common courtesy, that almost all of us are obliged to observe, whether it be with the lady on the till of your local corner shop when you’re getting your milk, your next door neighbour whose name you’re still not 100% certain of even though you’ve lived next to them for the past couple of years, and of course, your colleague who works upstairs, when you’re both in the kitchen making a cup of coffee.

Most of the time, your brief interaction with one another will be expected, but not appreciated. This, unfortunately, can be the same with efforts and performance at work. Our hard work is all too often expected with no genuine gratitude given after it comes to fruition.

Last weekend, a close friend of mine and I were reminiscing. Subjects were varied, ranging from our most disliked teachers at secondary school, how unreliable our first cars were, and that 21st Birthday night out in Nottingham. It turned to jobs, and he recalled that in one of his former jobs, he was literally doing the work of two full time employees and a 3-day-week part timer. These people had left because they felt under-appreciated and he eventually left for the same reason. He was constantly stressed and struggled to turn off, and he despised driving to work in the morning, knowing the toxic workplace atmosphere that lay in wait for him. He addressed this with his manager at the time, who told him that he had to “man up” and “get the job done”. He became demotivated and disengaged, and very quickly realised that this was not a company that he wanted to work for. In all the time that he was there, about half a year, he was not thanked once by his manager.

His experience there could not be more different to my experience of Capp. I’ve been here for nearly three months now, and I have never felt so appreciated in the workplace. I am constantly thanked for things that I expect of myself, such as efficiency, workload sharing, time management, initiative; the list goes on.

There is “perceived organisational support” here - and because of this, I am incentivised to put in that extra effort, giving more for the benefit of the company, completely voluntarily and without expectation of being rewarded for it.

It is in the interest of the company for its employees to be appreciated, which is stated by a number of highly successful individuals. Steve Foran, founder of the programme “Gratitude at Work” says “[Gratitude is] going to make your business more profitable, you’re going to be more effective, your employees will be more engaged”; Eisenberger et al concluded “the moral emotions of gratitude and anger toward the organisation are indicators of employee affective well-being and play a mediating role in the effects of organisational and supervisor supportiveness on employee performance”, and lastly Sir Richard Branson, who confronts and contradicts the age old saying that customers come first; “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”.

Make a concerted effort for the next week. If someone does something for you, be it big or small, at work or at home, expected or not, I dare you to be genuinely grateful for it and, more importantly, show your gratitude. It won’t just have a positive effect on those you’re grateful towards; it’ll have a positive outcome for you too.