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The Recognize Book

Difference Between Recognition and Appreciation

Recognition and appreciation are two terms often used interchangeably in the workplace but differ. Both recognition and appreciation are important for building a positive and productive work environment, but they have different meanings and serve different purposes.

In a TEDX Talk, Mike Robbins, a motivational speaker and author, speaks on the importance of appreciation and its impact on relationships. In his talk, Robbins emphasizes that appreciation differs from recognition, as it is more personal and relational.

What is Appreciation?

Appreciation is awarded even when someone doesn’t do their best. It is an expression of gratitude for being them. By expressing appreciation, individuals can build deeper, more meaningful personal or professional relationships with others. It is an expression of gratitude and a way to acknowledge others for who they are, not just for what they do. 

One of the main differences between recognition and appreciation is that recognition is often given for specific achievements or contributions, while appreciation is given for more general things like effort or attitude. Recognition is often tied to specific goals or performance metrics, while appreciation focuses more on the person.

What is Recognition?

Recognition is more formal and structured, while appreciation is often seen as informal and spontaneous. Recognition is given through official channels like performance evaluations or employee recognition programs, while appreciation is often given through informal channels like casual conversations or impromptu acts of kindness.

Despite these differences, the combination of recognition and appreciation is powerful. Its synthesis ensures a positive and productive workplace. Recognition helps to motivate employees and increase their engagement, while appreciation builds positive relationships and fosters a culture of teamwork and collaboration.

Ripple Effect

To implement both forms of appreciation and recognition, an organization may use a combination of formal and informal recognition programs, incorporate both into performance evaluations and feedback sessions, train managers and leaders to use both forms, encourage peer-to-peer recognition and appreciation, foster a culture of appreciation and recognition, and continuously evaluate and improve their practices based on employee feedback and changing workforce needs. When the seeds are planted, and the company provides leadership buy-in, the result is a ripple effect of better company culture.

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