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In our recent poll, voting revealed that feeling appreciated is the most important factor causing people to stay, rather than leave, their current organisation. In fact, feeling appreciated gained 43% of the votes – clearly, it really matters to your staff!

What can you do then, as a leader, to ensure that the people in your team do indeed FEEL appreciated and therefore stay with you rather than being tempted to move to your competitor?

Here are three specific actions you can, and should, take:


#1 Say it, don’t assume it

So often we assume that our staff ‘of course know’ that we are really grateful for their work and appreciate them. The problem is, we assume they know it rather than making sure we TELL them.

Being appreciative inside your head doesn’t make your people feel appreciated.

You need to say it and show it. In fact you need to show your appreciation frequently. This means not saving it up for the end of the year thank-you speech or for performance review time. Say it close to the event, when it matters most.

You can say it or show it with your spoken words, a hand-written card, flowers, an early finish on a day that matters to them. It’s about being thoughtful rather than spending a lot of money.


#2 Make it specific and personal

The broad statements to the team ‘great job everyone’ and ‘thanks for all your hard work’ are important but they are not enough by themselves for individuals to feel appreciated. They don’t have anywhere near the impact that a quiet, more specific comment to the particular person has.

For example, quietly saying to the person when they have just completed an important or complex task ‘Thanks so much Ros, I really appreciate the quality of your work and your reliability. It is brilliant to know I can trust you to always complete the tasks to a high standard and on time. Thank you.’ The 15 seconds it takes you to say these words to Ros have a huge payoff. Not only will Ros feel appreciated, she will continue to produce high quality work, on time.


Two men shaking hands in an office meeting room in front of their colleagues


#3 Be sincere, be present

When you say something specific, and say it with a sincere tone of voice, your team member will feel genuinely valued and appreciated. Your tone tells them you are authentic and truly appreciative of their contribution.

In order to be present the appreciation needs to be shown face to face, or via Teams, Zoom or phone. Your team member wants to see your facial expression, your body language and hear your tone. They want to sense that you are making time for them, being present. Appreciation by email rarely has this impact, it is much better as a follow up to a conversation.


Three simple, but powerful, actions to show your appreciation. The challenge is to do them. Who will you make feel appreciated today?

Because ‘We go where we are wanted, we stay where we are appreciated’.