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+++ S P E C I A L R E P O R T +++
"Appreciate the Appreciated"
Amy Reiss Levitt, President
March 16, 2001
How much time do we spend working on a daily basis? Seven, ten, twelve hours a day? If your single, married with or without children or if they’re grown, maybe you work 7-10 hours a day anyway? For those who have children, if you leave before they are off to school, then maybe you’re away 12 hours a day? If you work only while your kids are in school then you’re still working 7 hours? No matter how it is, you’re probably working more than you are relaxing or doing something for you.

I remember working a ten-hour day at a company and being part of the management team of an organization where I would come in every day, work really hard, put tons of effort into what I do and then leave for the day. And the next day I would repeat the same process. Because I am passionate about the work I put in to something, I do the best I can do; never questioning will someone realize my efforts and results. Does this sound familiar to you? Have you brought your company a new client or customer? Have you given your suppliers business this past year? How have these people showed their appreciation for you? Have they?

Are you on the other side of the coin where you have employees that you depend on to work ON your business? Have you realized that they have helped to build your business? These are the types of people who show enthusiasm that you wish your other employees would embrace, right? How about the business associates that you have an occasional lunch with to catch up on what’s happening in their contact sphere? Are these the people who end up passing you a referral that is going to put your revenue way over what you expected?

I'm sure it wasn't something that you ever asked them to do for you but as it turned out, your profitability increased because this person or people went beyond-what’s-expected as an associate or colleague. How have you thanked them for this?

Hopefully, a thank you note gets sent out; preferably, hand written because that shows that you have taken the time to put your work down and focus on them. Your employee, business associate or client will probably be so thrilled that they might even keep it on their desk or attach it to a bulletin board. If you walked into their office or workspace and saw your note hanging there, how would you feel? That would make you feel pretty good, wouldn't it?

Making people feel good or as we say in the business world, appreciated, is something that is not taken seriously enough today. We often hear about the negative aspects in a business or about a problem employee. There is usually action taken and it is generally heard about. But do you regularly hear about how a business soared because of a particular referral or an outstanding employee? 

Remember the first scenario about working hard day after day without any acknowledgement? What would have happened if your employer or colleague did something extraordinary for you to show their appreciation? Would you be energized? Would you want to do more for that person? Would you want to find other ways to help them? Would you want to tell the world about this company?

After years of my showing appreciation and educating others on the importance of it, I have recently been appreciated and believe me, it feels so good. Everyday I wake now, I think about what I'm going to do for the day. Whether it’s meeting with or speaking with clients about appreciation and giving to others, I'm excited about my plans for the day. I LOVE to work because it doesn't even feel like work. I am so passionate about what I do. This is because I have been appreciated. The appreciation I received was intangible, however, it was so thought out and so "me" that I carry a reminder with me everyday about whom I am, what I do for others and why I am appreciated. I thrive on sharing my energy with others.

Let’s take you now, as the giver, as the employer. Imagine that you appreciate your employee’s work or one of your business colleagues went out of their way for you and introduced you to someone who gave you a large amount of business. Would you want to thank them? Hopefully, that was a yes.

You can give them something that stood out that they would proudly display in their office or something even intangible where the results surface as they walk, work and talk with pride. Either way, they would undoubtedly appreciate being appreciated. Do you think that they would want to do more to help you out? Wouldn't it be great if your business grew monthly as a result of your employees and business associates feeling this way? I'm sure your answer would be positively yes.

Back to this special report...

Well, there’s a technique involved in finding something that is appreciated by the receiver; tangible or intangible. Just picking up a mug filled with candy or sending a basket full of treats won't have the same impact that sending something to them that they know took some thought. IF, the recipient were a coffee mug collector, THEN, that mug that you picked out would be an appreciated gift. He or she would use it daily or keep it ON their desk because they were proud of it. They would think about where they got it, why they got it and maybe how they might be able to get another one.

Finding time to appreciate appropriately takes a special person. It can be time consuming but well worth the end results. An Office Manager or Human Resource person is the perfect person to be in charge of this process. Or, if you’re like me, someone who is passionate about shopping! These types of people have a background on the employees or business associates and would likely know what their interests and hobbies are. Perhaps they can do the gifting themselves or maybe they will find a company who can do it for them while they act as the liaison between their company and the company who handles appreciation professionally.

At Corporatedoodles.com, we work with the HR Manager’s and Office Managers and sales people as clients. Some clients include the US Navy, a utility company, insurance agencies, financial planners, IT and printer service and repair fields, to name a few. Most of the sales people visit their clients’ offices on a routine basis. Routinely, we ask "our set of questions" which focuses on why they will be appreciating their particular client or employee. Making a gifting choice that stands out among any other company’s appreciation program is what attracts our clients. 

Company productivity depends on good, efficient and reliable employees, and they should be acknowledged on a regular basis. Companies need to be educated on a regular basis, how to appreciate the appreciated and do this with something unique.

Find an appropriate gift that they can use and not just throw in their desk or pile on a shelf. This will have a lot more benefit to and for everyone. Taking the time to find out what the recipient’s interests are or what their work desk or station is like or what they do for a hobby or profession are all important facts to include when you want to appreciate someone. For a sports enthusiast, a desk accessory business card with a sports player and their name on it is going to sit proudly on a desk. They will be proud to display it and when people see the sculpture on the desk, it’s a guarantee that they will tell about where and why they received it.

As a business owner, how about having a company recognition dinner or cocktail reception? Or if you’re an employee, have you been to one recently? Did you or the company provide a gift to the recipients and a giveaway to the attendees? Do you remember it? Would you remember it? Do you use it or think about why and who gave it to you? For company CFO’s, this can be a major expense but it should be thought of as having a long-term positive result; one with lots of benefits to the company. Companies should not feel overwhelmed by this process; in fact, they should feel like this will be a major benefit to the company’s future. Employees who are appreciated will continue to appreciate where and why they work for that company.

We need to raise the bar within organizations, companies and small businesses so that small business owner’s clients know that their extra efforts are recognizable and larger company’s employees begin to feel appreciated for what they do. Investing in employee retention means we validate someone’s worthiness and acknowledge their actions. Investing in awareness for business associates and colleagues means we value their contributions, efforts and relationship. 

We all need to speak appreciation rather than feel appreciation for someone and not show it. If you can take away three words to remember from this article, my request would be to Appreciate the Appreciated.

Amy Reiss Levitt

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Last modified Sunday, February 16, 2003