In today’s workplace, recognition is more important than it ever has been before. In fact, many people will work harder for recognition than they will for money. Behavior that is recognized and rewarded frequently gets repeated. As you can probably relate to, the better you feel about the work you do, the harder you tend to work.

Research by O.C. Tanner recently found that 79% of employees who quit their job left because of a “lack of appreciation”. Finding ways to recognize, celebrate, and show your appreciation to people is paramount to creating a healthy organizational culture. Creating a culture of appreciation can lead directly to improvements in morale, engagement, productivity, and retention. Set a goal to develop the habit of recognizing people frequently with sincere gestures of appreciation.

I recently traveled to Covington, Louisiana. When I went to check-in at my hotel, I noticed the young lady at the front desk was wearing an interesting shirt. The front of her shirt said, “Hospitality Specialist”, and the back said, “Because Awesome Miracle Worker is Not an Official Job Title”.

I was intrigued. I asked her where she had gotten the shirt. She told me that her manager had purchased it for all the employees at the hotel as part of their “team member appreciation week”.

As soon as she said that, I spotted another employee with the same shirt on. After complimenting their clever and well-designed shirts, I asked the ladies for their thoughts about it.

The first lady told me, “It makes me feel like I’m part of a team and not a number on a spreadsheet.” The other lady said, “It’s a reminder that even though my job may not be anything special, the work that I do here matters.”

I’m not sure how much those shirts cost the manager, but it’s safe to say that the return far exceeded the investment. It was a simple gesture, but it had made a profound impact on these two ladies.

It’s important to find out how people like to be recognized. Some people prefer it in public, while others prefer it in private. Think about ways you can build a culture of appreciation in your organization. It can make a world of difference in helping your employees feel fulfilled at their job.