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The Difference Between Employee Recognition And Appreciation

August 01, 2022, 3-min. read

Recognition & appreciation - frequently loosely confused terms, often used as synonyms. Yet the difference is quite significant. 

Recognition relates to something someone has done and focuses on the outcome (WHAT); it can take many forms and is usually associated with some tangible award or a physical validation of the deed - a trophy, a medal, a diploma, a certificate, or even a financial reward or a gift. 

Recognition can also be expressed for effort, attitude, acting according to values, lifetime contribution, and more - but in all cases, it is given chiefly retrospectively for something that has already taken place. 

See how LutherOne help succesful companies to set their Employee Recognition & Appreciation culture

But make no mistake, recognition does not need to have a material or monetary value to make employees feel recognized & motivated. Simple thanks, praise, and public acknowledgment (link for the article on digital awards) often do the trick - and what's more, they don't cost you a dime. 

On the other hand, appreciation calls attention to who someone is, the way they are, or how they translate that into action (HOW). Just like recognition, it can take on many forms - such as expression of approval, admiration, or gratitude. Think appreciating notable competence, skill set, going above & beyond, leading by example, and much more. 

Thus, appreciation does not need to be remotely connected with anything tangible. It is also often expressed verbally only, in feedback that may or may not be public. This form of gratitude is also often expressed in writing or posted on social media. 

By facilitating two-way conversation between management & employees, enterprise social networks help break down communication barriers and flatten the organizational structure. 

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