Appreciation + Recognition = Validation

Casual work environment with team showing appreciation and validating a woman's presentation.

As an employer, one of the most difficult challenges is ensuring your employees feel validated in the workplace.


This was true before COVID, and is even more so now with the new work from home norm.

For many, our work communities have largely morphed to virtual meetings and digital communications – leaving a large gap in the natural social need for human interaction and professional validation in the workplace.

Though not all people are the same as it relates to the need for validation, it goes without saying that an employee who feels listened to, appreciated, and recognized for their contributions to the organization are more likely to have a sense of fulfillment.


Let’s take a look at what validation in the workplace really means. defines validation as ‘the act of affirming a person, or their ideas, feelings, actions, etc., as acceptable and worthy’

Let’s break down the definition in an effort to understand how an employee's sense of self-worth can have a huge impact on performance and job satisfaction.

  • It takes a physical effort or act to support a person by approving, appreciating, recognizing, or encouraging. Each comes with its own set of benefits and applications based on what gives an individual a sense of self-worth.
  • Knowing they are heard, that their actions have merit, and that they are a contributing member of the team is likely to improve performance, job satisfaction, and validate their place in the organization.

Imagine a situation where after a virtual presentation, the presenter receives an email from their supervisor telling them they did an outstanding job. Though it took just a few seconds to write the message – the sense of validation is sure to give the employee a real sense of accomplishment.

Man working from home on his sofa with a laptop and cup of coffee.

So, the big question is, how can appreciation and recognition lead to employee validation?


We suggest using the ‘ACT’ method to help with employee validation – Awareness, Consideration, and Taking responsibility.



Be attentive to your team and the impact each player has as it relates to the work they are doing. By doing so natural opportunities will present themselves to provide validation to your best employees.



When you see an opportunity to validate a team member, consider what form of validation makes the most sense under the circumstances. Whether it’s a private call to let them know how they are valued, a statement of appreciation in front of the team, or something even grander, by considering the best option you will be sure to make a meaningful impact.


Taking responsibility

Do it! Use the information you gleaned while being aware of your team’s contributions and what form of validation makes the most sense at the time to encourage and lift up your team. You will be surprised how a simple well thought out thank you for a job well done can improve employee morale.

ACT checklist with sad, indifferent and happy face under the check boxes.

Now let’s take a look at some very practical suggestions to get your team pointed in the right direction.


White keyboard with button tagged 'Thanks' in red.Appreciation

We’ve established that an employee who feels validated is more likely to have a sense of fulfillment in their job. But how do you establish an environment where day to day accomplishments get recognized and opportunities are actualized.

In our article ‘A timely pick me up’ we address the importance of saying thank you in the workplace. In the post we emphasize that saying thank you does not necessarily need to be a big production. Yet making it a habit to personally pick up the phone or let the team member know they are doing a good job can add significant value to your employer-employee relationship.



Group of employees clapping for a peer receiving recognition.Recognition

In addition to the many forms of appreciation, oftentimes recognition should be used to exemplify exceptional performance. This may be in the form of an award, a bonus, promotion or raise.

We reference employee recognition in our article 'And the winner is…’ with information on the different types of recognition and how management can adopt recognition programs to thank and encourage employees in the workplace.

The most important idea you will likely glean from the article as it relates to employee validation is whether you’re recognizing a team or an individual – the delivery should be such that it highlights the individual contributions to the organization. The individualized recognition is oftentimes left out in large team award presentations.

We encourage management to single out team leads and allow team leads to single out individual contributors, so all of the players have an opportunity to have their individual contributions recognized in front of their peers. By doing so each player has an opportunity to stand out as unique and as a contributor.

Embedded deal toy award with red highlights and full color printing.Laser cut deal toy with solar array design and full color graphics UV printed.Curved deal toy award with full color graphics and text UV printed.

Let’s get back to some practical advice on validating work from home employees.

The work from home era has created a whole new dynamic as it relates to keeping employees motivated and performing at their best. For management, staying concerned with the emotional well-being of your employees can be the first step in a healthy employer-employee relationship.

But how does that apply to your team that is no longer meeting face to face? With this, we need to swing back to our ‘ACT’ acronym – Awareness, Consideration, and Taking responsibility. Never before has it been so important for team leaders to be aware of the implications of work from home environments, so consider carefully how to validate your members and take the lead to make sure they feel validated.

Person helping another person climb a mountain.

US Acrylic Awards wants to be your recognition partner

Though the physical form of presenting an award is only a small piece of employees feeling validated in the workplace, it’s important to stay focused on the day-to-day opportunities showing appreciation can have on company morale.

When and if the opportunity arises that you feel is worthy of fine corporate recognition – our design team is ready to get your organization pointed in the right direction.


Written by noptim unleash the power

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