The Importance of Showing Appreciation to Employees Who Aren’t Star Performers

By Leanne Bull


In today’s job market, the demand for top talent seems to be at an all-time high. Because of this, companies may feel tempted to place the bulk of their focus on recruiting specific candidates – or, to aid retention, or rewarding top performers within the organization.

But companies shouldn’t forget about the employees who might not be considered ‘stars’.

While having standout employees can be a major differentiator in helping your organization achieve its goals, a company is, ultimately, only ever as strong as its team. That’s why organizations that don’t show the love to other employees may be missing out.

Here are some reasons why companies who show appreciation to all employees may benefit in the long run.


Identifying employees who may benefit from a pat on the back

Showing recognition to employees doesn’t necessarily mean rewarding those who aren’t meeting their job requirements. 

Depending on the size of your organization or team, there may be a number of individuals who go above and beyond, but working alongside those people are the employees that keep the wheels turning.

They see projects through to completion, or help take a task from point A to B. They offer essential support and service to clients and customers. They might not achieve ‘Employee of the Month’ status, but they’re undeniably important to the operation of your organization.

These are the people that might appreciate some appreciation.


Two simple words

On a general level, most employees want to feel the satisfaction of being acknowledged for the work they put into their job. Those who put their nose to the grindstone without recognition from a manager or executive may feel motivated to look for the door much more quickly than those whose efforts are called out regularly.

Employee recognition can come in many forms – and not every employee wants to be recognized in the same way, but don’t underestimate the good will that a simple “thank you” can bring. Those two words, whether delivered over email, in person or in front of a group, can help to deliver the acknowledgement that many seek in their professional lives.


Positive reinforcement is valuable

If your organization makes a point to show thanks to its staff and make positive reinforcement a priority, these efforts can pay off.

For instance, it can lead to increased employee engagement. While there are many different ways to engage employees in today’s modern workforce, employees who feel engaged by their company are more likely to be productive and to stick around.

Infusing more positivity into the lives of more employees can help create a more level playing field, leading to a more amicable work environment overall. 


Infuse recognition into growth and development

Ideally, managers or executives will make a point to show appreciation at times other than during an employee’s performance review. As mentioned earlier, it should be genuine, but a “thank you” might mean more to some employees when it’s not tied to a formal process.

However, your company might want to think about how it can integrate this appreciation into an employee’s growth and development.

It’s possible your organization follows a standardized, formal review process that has the potential to leave some members of staff feeling undervalued. Constructive criticism is important for any employee’s growth, but you may want to consider thinking about how the process can still convey to the employee that they are appreciated.

Managers are important motivators who need to be able to coach through the highs and the lows – and whatever comes in between – for all varieties of staff members.


From satisfactory to star

While an employee may currently be doing a satisfactory job, it doesn’t mean that they won’t one day become your next star. But it takes some investment from your organization to help them reach their potential.  Part of nurturing this development is reminding them that they’re important, too.

So the next time you are recognizing or showing appreciation to top talent in your organization, you may want to think about how you spread the love around a bit more.


For more tips on how to motivate your employees, or to keep up on HR trends, visit