The importance of distinguishing appreciation from recognition

Recognition and appreciation programs are an obvious and common approach to boost your employee engagement. While many appreciation and recognition efforts are designed to make a real difference for workers, the concepts of appreciation and recognition themselves are quite different; one is not better than the other, but they have distinct intents and outcomes.

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Organizations continue to confuse appreciation and recognition. Simply, appreciation is nice and we should do more of it, where recognition is all about proving how actions speak louder than words–it’s attention from the most important person at work, the leader. Our question should not be whether we should be focusing on recognition or appreciation. Instead, we need to create an environment of appreciation for each other and recognition for our direct reports. Good companies invest in one or the other. The best companies invest in both.


Amy Leschke-Kahle is vice president, performance acceleration, at The Marcus Buckingham Company, an ADP Company.

Amy Leschke-Kahle
Amy Leschke-Kahle
Amy Leschke-Kahle is vice president of performance acceleration at The Marcus Buckingham Company, an ADP company.