Demonstrating our appreciation for employees and their efforts can put them on the fast track to excellence. There should be plenty of opportunities since a Harris poll found that 65 percent of the workers reported receiving no recognition for good work in the past year!

We should not worry about recognizing our teams too much. To date, there are no documented studies, none, nada, nill - of employees feeling over-appreciated.

Appreciation is certainly not a one-size-fits-all need. It should to be personalized to each employee.

Before I share some examples, click on the video below to watch this short video that illustrates what happens when we don't personalize our appreciation.

For example, being recognized at an all-employee meeting might trigger more perspiration than inspiration for an introverted employee. Instead, use the information you learn about your employees to present an appropriate gift, token or sincere expression of appreciation. Invariably, the gift or expression will be less important than the obvious time and thoughtfulness that went into it.

Here are six easy ways to appreciate your employees:

  1. Say "Thank You!" An all-too-obvious, yet highly underused, form of appreciation.
  2. Allow employees to present their work to your boss. This is a great way to engage employees, and it also shows your boss what kind of leader you are.
  3. Offer team members a choice of projects to work on. When employees buy into a project, they will put their hearts into it.
  4. Put a sincere acknowledgement in your company or department newsletter. This takes only a few minutes of your time but creates long-term "trophy value" for the employee.
  5. Tell an employee's story of accomplishment at a staff meeting. Detailed stories are perceived as more interesting, meaningful, thoughtful and memorable.
  6. Take a team member to lunch to show your appreciation. Remember to listen more than talk.

The good news is that we have complete control over this type of recognition. No budget limitations or excuses here--there are literally thousands of ways to create defining moments at little or no cost. As we strive to make connections with our team and recognize them, our goal is to be creative and outthink our competition, not outspend them.

Tell someone how much you appreciate them today.

I appreciate YOU!

For more practical tips, see free sample pages of the author's book, 7 Moments that Define Excellent Leaders.