How Appreciation Can Backfire And How to Prevent it From Happening


When it comes to creating an outstanding company, appreciation is one of the most things you need to consider. As an entrepreneur owner you absolutely need to appreciate your employees, customers and even vendors because when you show those individuals that you appreciate and respect them, they respond in the same manner. Having that said, appreciation can also backfire.

Here are some ways through which appreciation can send the wrong message (i.e. that you don’t care).

1.  Not having a budget for sending flowers to employees that are facing lengthy illnesses or experiencing with the death or a loved one.

Most businesses do not have a budget like this in place. Thus, employees are left to gather the funds for flowers. And while it’s great that co-workers send their best wishes, appreciation and love, the moment the package is delivered it’s simply not the same as if it were coming from the CEO or president of the company.

Sending a flower bouquet when an employee is suffering is pretty much like sending the message that the company cares. But when the flowers are paid by employees, the message couldn’t be more different.

2. Award dinners paid by your employees. The CEO’s should always throw killer award dinners to celebrate the success of their employees. And the most common mistake you could do in this case is change it. In some industries, this practice is considered uncommon.

Lots of companies host these types of events to show their employees they are awesome, only to mess it up by charging a couple hundred bucks for a ticket.

If cost is a problem, you could scale back on the extras at the event rather than charging your employees for tickets. Appreciation vanishes into thin air when the employees have to pay for it.

3. Different levels of gratitude demonstrated. If you want to create an amazing company culture based on appreciation, you absolutely must distribute it in an equal manner among your employees. If it’s someone’s birthday and you decide on sending a birthday gift to that person, make sure to send something to your other employees as well.

Usually, companies collect birthday information on each employee that joins the company. Every company should have a system in place to ensure that no one’s birthday is forgotten.

It’s pretty hard to stay on top of dozens or hundreds of people, but important. The message conveyed by the company when a person is left out will trump all the good appreciation messages that were sent to everyone else.

4. The human error can also ensure that appreciation will backfire. Within most business, the owners oversee the appreciation of team members. In translation, this means that a birthday gift, a card or any other form of appreciation needs to be sent to an employee, they need to know about it. Moreover, nothing should be sent without the approval of the CEO.

Don’t leave this for somebody else to do because sooner or later the human error will appear. Spend a couple of hours a month sorting through the list of people that should be acknowledged and appreciated through gifts and cards. It will require that you know the important events in the lives of your your employees. Moreover, whenever important events happen (weddings, deaths, promotions, divorces, celebrations, etc) you need to be aware of them.

I know it’s hard work but it is also important. In the business world, nothing should be more important that letting your employees know that the company really cares about them.

5. Last but not least, changing or eliminating a reward could prove to be a huge mistake. Do you have a tradition of offering your employees money as a Christmas bonus? If so, don’t go changing it for a 2-month subscription to a gym.

This is a common example of an employer sending an appreciation gift that backfires. However, this does not mean that you cannot eliminate or change the appreciation campaign. Still, once you set the bar at a certain level, you need to uphold that level or explain why you are not able to meet their expectations so that the appreciation levels will not change.

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