Dr. Noelle Nelson



What’s the Money-making Magic in Appreciation?

Why do some companies consistently enjoy resounding profits, high employee productivity, low turnover and a workforce that is willing to go the extra mile, regardless of the economic cycle--while others struggle in times of plenty? The secret is astonishingly simple:

Successful companies of all sizes actively and passionately show members of their workforce that the company truly appreciates and values their efforts.

An appreciated employee is a happy employee. And happy employees translate into your making more money.

The research shows this to be true:

Appreciation Feeds Employee Engagement Which In Turn Feeds Profits
A Jackson Organization study shows that companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity & assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t.1 Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For" stock prices rose an average of 14% per year from 1998-2005, compared to 6% for the market overall.2

Appreciation Reduces High Turnover And Absenteeism
US Department of Labor data shows that the #1 reason people quit their job is lack of appreciation.3 A recent survey of 10,000 employees from Fortune 1,000 companies reveals that lack of recognition was a major reason for leaving a job.4 Turnover is expensive: The American Management Association estimates--at the low end--the cost of replacing an employee at 30% of his or her salary, and other research estimates 150% of salary to replace managers. 5

Appreciation Facilitates Recruitment And Retention Of Better Employees
Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" attract the best workers, increase employee retention rates, and their more friendly work environment helps significantly increase employee productivity.

Follow successful companies’ lead in appreciating your employees, and you too can benefit from engaged, enthusiastic happy employees delivering the high performance and increased productivity that equals a thriving business.

What Is Appreciation?

Appreciation is not just another word for gratitude. It is not a fancy way of saying “thank you.” It is more than that.

Appreciation is the deliberate, proactive valuing of your employee and what he or she has to offer. Appreciation is letting your employees know, in every way you can think of, the following:
You matter
You count
You are important

Letting your employees know in concrete, practical ways that they matter, count and are important, can generate amazing profits, as exemplified by Alcoa’s experience.

When CEO Paul O’Neill took the helm at Alcoa (Aluminum Company of America), the company, which had been enormously successful for nearly a century, was experiencing a serious downturn in profits and losing customers. Shareholders expected the usual incoming CEO speech about new products on the horizon, a promise to increase profits and lower costs, and so on. Instead, Mr. O’Neill announced that his only concern, his sole priority, was to increase--worker safety. This so shocked investors that some pulled out of Alcoa immediately. That was a big mistake.

O’Neill’s intense commitment to worker safety, implemented in practical, immediate and uncompromising ways, transformed the company such that within a year, Alcoa’s profits hit a record high. Employee productivity soared as accident rates decreased from one accident per week in just about every Alcoa plant, to some plants going years without losing a single workday to an accident. By the time O’Neill stepped down some 13 years later, Alcoa’s annual income was 500% larger than before he arrived.6

Alcoa didn’t offer their employees more money--what many businesses think of as the main way of motivating productivity--Alcoa addressed in actual, meaningful terms what really mattered to their employees: worker safety, critical in an environment where workers dealt with molten metal and extreme temperatures on a daily basis. There was no clearer way to declare to workers: you matter, you count, you are important.

So when you find yourself groaning “But I can’t pay my employees enough to make them happy! It’ll break the bank!” take heed. Appreciation is not about money. Of course a certain level of monetary compensation is essential, but it’s not enough. Money is not what keeps an employee coming in day after day with the enthusiasm and desire to do the best job possible. For that, you need to appreciate, to value your employees, just like Alcoa did, with what is important to your workers. Appreciation is what will make your employees happy and productive.

What This Book Can Do For You

The goal and objective of this book is to show you easy, free or low-cost ways to appreciate those who work with and for you, as a means to increasing your profits. And I’m not talking about a small or incremental increase. I’m talking about doubling, even tripling your profits—just by gearing your mindset to making your employees happy, and then following through with appropriate actions.

The formula is “Make your employees happy, the profits will follow.”

Happy employees, employees whose value is consistently and genuinely recognized, contribute to a company’s success in many different ways. . .

Who Is This Book For?

This book is for business owners, bosses, managers, supervisors, department heads, CEOs, executives and anyone else who has people who work with and/or for them. The techniques and tools you’ll learn apply to all sizes and types of business, from a Mom & Pop shop with two part-timers, to a small business with 30 employees, to a major corporation with international branches and thousands of employees.  . . Today’s workforce is vastly different from that of even five years ago. Company loyalty is rare and hard-earned. Workers are quick to jump from one company to another, which costs you in recruitment, training and the inevitable downtime as new hires get up to speed. . .

Not only that, but social media has forever changed how word gets around. If an employee feels treated poorly at Company X, that sentiment is blogged, texted, tweeted, Facebooked, Google+ed, Stumbled-Upon and more to millions of people in the blink of an eye, some of whom will respond with their tales of woe, and blog, text, tweet, Facebook, Google+ and StumbleUpon to millions more. . .

Making your workforce happy by appreciating them, goes a long way towards your ability to hire and retain enthusiastic, engaged, productive employees, who in turn will generate a positive social-media buzz about the benefits of working for you. Along with greater profits.


Set Your Employees--and Yourself--Up for Success

Catch Your Employees In The Act Of Doing Something Right

Acknowledging how your employees are doing something right is a far more successful path to work excellence, than pointing out what they are doing wrong. . .

Think of it as catching your employees in the act of doing something right.

Most people worry when they see their manager looking over their shoulder or stopping by their work area. They are convinced that you are looking for something they did wrong--which is usually an accurate assessment! But that very worry will often make them do something wrong.

Get your employees in the habit of anticipating your visits as an opportunity to be appreciated. When workers know managers will be on the lookout for good work, they are far more motivated to doing “good work.”

Studies show that a manager’s expectations have tremendous impact on employee job performance.

Gloria S., an office manager, provides us with a living example of these studies:

“I remember the first time my manager gave me a difficult piece of work to do. He said, ‘I know you can do this, Gloria.’ He was new at the time, and I wasn’t about to let him pull one over me. I came right back at him with ‘Oh, yeah? What makes you think I can do this?’ He didn’t miss a beat, he said, ‘You showed on the last project that you understood the software. You used it well and you weren’t afraid of taking a chance and getting creative with it. This is the same software, Gloria, just a different application.’ Then he smiled this big old smile and said, ‘That, Gloria, is why I know you can do it.’

“Well you could have knocked me over with a feather. I was tickled pink. I said, ‘All right then.’ You better believe I did that piece of work--nicely too, and faster than I thought I could.“

When you expect to catch your employees in the act of doing something right, you will be met with good work most of the time.


Happy Employees And Company Success

An employee’s happiness with their particular job or position is critical to your profitability. . .But it’s not enough to propel your business into the greater success you seek. For that, your employees must experience psychological well-being. Psychological well-being is so important, that if it is low, there will be high turnover, regardless of how satisfied employees are with their job.21

Don’t panic, read on. It’s simpler than you think.

Psychological well-being at work includes, among other things, a sense of purpose and meaningfulness in one’s job, a feeling of accomplishment and of contributing to something worthwhile. . .

Adele M., a customer service representative, tells us:

 “I’m a customer service rep for an on-line catalogue company. Day in and day out all I do is deal with customer questions and complaints. Which is fine. I like dealing with people, even cranky ones! But new catalogues come in and others go out and I never know why or what’s going on. If I ask, I’m just told, ‘You’re here to answer customer questions and complaints. You don’t need to know anything else.’ That’s all. I don’t know why, but that feels demeaning. After a while, it’s demoralizing. I used to come in all charged up, now it’s pretty much ‘another day, another dollar,’ and that’s it.”

The “cog in a machine” approach won’t cut it with today’s employees. Your workers want and expect to feel part of something bigger. Research shows that one of the best ways to engage employee commitment and enthusiasm --as opposed to fostering negativity and ill-will-- is to make sure workers know they are important to the overall success of the company, whether your business is a Korean BBQ Taco Truck or a Fortune 500 mega-corporation. . .

Share company information, so that employees don’t feel left out of the loop when it comes to knowing the company’s direction and how it’s doing. This is especially important since the corporate scandals of the past few years, which have led to employee distrust of upper level management, largely because of their belief that upper management doesn’t communicate honestly, thereby leaving the employee in the lurch. . . and correspondingly, employee commitment to the job and productivity decrease. 

Let employees know where your company is headed, what are your future challenges and objectives. When people feel they are part of the bigger picture, they feel more valuable. A lack of information is tantamount to saying “You don’t matter. There’s no need for you to know this.” Today’s employees won’t stand for that. You’ll quickly find yourself the object of social media scorn. . .


Recognize, Reward & Celebrate!

Once upon a time, in a galaxy not so very far away--our own in fact--the average employee’s thoughts about their job ran roughly along the lines of  “I will do what I’m told, learn the rules, tow the line and not rock the boat. I’ll respect authority figures, never question their decisions--to their face, anyway--and I expect promotions and raises to come along with the years I spend in the company. I expect to be heard only as I rise through the ranks. I am loyal to my company.”

But all that has changed. Today’s employee thinks more along the lines of “I want to be asked, not told, what to do. I want to have input in how I do what I do. I want opportunities to be innovative, creative, and to participate in the decisions affecting my work. I will question, raise issues, make suggestions and I expect my voice to be heard, regardless of where I am in the ranks. I expect recognition and rewards all along the way. I am loyal to myself, my family and my career.”

A very different mindset, requiring a very different company response. . .

That’s why celebration–from personal recognition to public festivities and acclaim–has become so very important to recruiting, retaining and motivating employees, to keeping your employees engaged, enthusiastic and happy all year round. . .

Everybody Wants To Be A Hero

We are starved for recognition, for genuine applauding of our talents and skills. We long for and want to be heroes--those who prevail against all odds, those who win. The enormous success of TV reality shows is largely predicated on our need to be valued and to be seen as valuable. We want to be appreciated for who we are and want the opportunities to be winners. . .


Bridge The Generation Divide
For Greater Workplace Happiness and Productivity

Understand--and Profit From--the New Workforce

You ask a member of the Baby Boom Generation–a Boomer–if he’ll put in some overtime to get that project out this week, and he’ll say “Sure! No problem” He’s nose to the grindstone and so what if it gets ground?! By the time he goes home to his 5 bedroom 4 ½ bathroom home he works mightily hard to pay for, his wife’s asleep. But heck, she’s used to it, and he hasn’t seen his kids on a weeknight in–well, years. No matter, it’s all good, and he’s up at 5:00 a.m. to commute to the office for that 7:00 a.m. meeting, but no sweat, it’s all work, work, work, work hard, work long. That’s the only way to the top.

You ask your Generation X employee if he’ll do some overtime, and he’s “Sorry, man, no can do.” He’s all work smart, work fast--do it, do it now! Meetings? Reports? He shines them on, doesn’t have the time for such, and at 5:00 p.m., he’s gone to his 3 bedroom 1 ½ bath home that he can afford even between jobs, because heaven knows a job only lasts so long--and then it’s on to the next. He saw what happened when his dad got downsized and he’s not letting that happen to him and his family. And family is way more important than anything else. He’s home in time to take the kids to a soccer match, coach the game and read to ‘em in bed before lights out. Work? Yeah, it’s necessary, but it’s work to live, not live to work.  

You ask the youngest member of your workforce, your Millennial employee, if she’s willing to do some overtime, and she says “What? You want me to stay and work late? Oh, I don’t think so." She thinks to herself, "That’s just lame. I don’t know how they can ask that of me. I’m gonna text all my friends how lame that is. Maybe I’ll do a thing on Facebook about how lame this company is. That’s a good idea. Think I’ll upload a video about it on YouTube.” She says to her boss, "Well, I gotta go. My friends are waiting for me.”

Who Are These People?!

. . . you know by now that not only are you dealing with these three distinct generations in your workplace, but you also know that these generations do not necessarily work well together. The friction between the generations, if not properly managed, can wreak havoc with your business. However, once you understand the differences between the generations, you can appreciate each for their respective value and your business can benefit from these very differences. . .

No matter what generation they come from, all employees thrive on appreciation. It's the one aspect of the work experience that is common among all of us. Showing genuine appreciation to employees is the single most powerful management tool that can be implemented in every type of business--no matter the size or make-up. Use it and you'll find you have a happy, productive workforce contributing mightily to your company's success.


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