Continued Early Childhood Education Phone: 866-727-1617


What is the Difference between Appreciation and Recognition?

Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MSHROD, CNP

June 11, 2021

Share:

Question

What is the difference between appreciation and recognition?

Answer

Recognition and appreciation are not the same things. Often in the workplace, appreciation can sound like a simple, "Way to go,” or “Good job." Recognition will often sound a lot like, "Thank you so much for your X years of service." We want to go a little bit deeper today. Those are pretty shallow examples and they really do not land well with people. I do not know if you have received those before but they seem superficial. They do not make much of a difference in how people engage with their work, their organization, or whether or not they stay at the job or with that organization. It just does not make a difference with these shallow attempts. As leaders, we can do better.

Recognition is largely about behavior and doing something to call out positive performance or outcome. Catch someone doing something good and recognize it.

Appreciation focuses on the performance plus the employee’s value as a person. Take that in for a moment. Appreciation focuses on the performance plus the employee’s value as a person. Even though we are talking about adults, I am sure the phrase “Catch someone doing something good and recognize it” sounds like one of the techniques we use with our early childhood classes to promote positive behaviors. It is our human behavior at play here. Fundamentally, it is the same though our approach differs in the methods we use with an adult and a child because if you talk to an adult like a child, it is patronizing and nobody likes that.

Let's look more at that appreciation piece. Appreciation is non-judgmental. It is not about if someone did a good or bad job. It is simply about having gratitude for them, their effort, or their willingness to help. Here is a standard appreciation. "Hey Shandra, thanks for staying late yesterday." Do you think Shandra actually feels like you care that she stayed late? Really, we can do better here. Here is an example of heartfelt appreciation. "Ms. Shandra, I truly appreciate you staying late to put the classroom materials together with Ms. Latisha. Thank you so much for spending the extra time making our two-year-old room safe and nurturing and interesting for our kids. The parents notice and so do I." It is quite different, isn’t it?

Recognition is doing something to call out positive performance or outcome. For example, "Ms. Shandra, thank you so much for going above and beyond to make our two-year-old room safe, nurturing, and interesting for our kids. The parents notice and so do I. As a token of the school's appreciation for your time, I want to present you with this gift card to recognize you for providing exceptional assistance to Ms. Latisha last week. Take the family out to ice cream. We are really grateful they shared you with us that evening." You are acknowledging that she spent her evening at work and was not able to spend it with her family.

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Appreciation & Recognition: Supporting Employee Engagementpresented by Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MSHROD, CNP.


katie ryan fotiadis

Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MSHROD, CNP

Katie Ryan Fotiadis is an Organizational Development and Learning Strategist at Intentional Learning & Development. Katie Ryan pairs her analytic and creative talents with a background in instructional design, eLearning, organizational effectiveness, facilitation, and data analysis.  As a strategist, she provides quality solutions for every project size.  A continuous learner and person enthusiastic to share what is learned, Katie Ryan wants to contribute to the success of an effective team and organization.  While working with diverse communities, she seeks opportunities to apply mindful approaches and engage clients in intentional problem solving and solutions.
 
Katie Ryan’s professional career spans more than 16 years and encompasses a multi-dimensional perspective with strategic and successful experiences that include: eLearning, instructional design, training and development, facilitation, organization change, performance, talent development, and leadership.  She has more than 10 years in Early Childhood Education & Administration, as well as has received recognition for both her professional and academic work. She serves on the Association for Talent Development Kentuckiana’s Board of Directors.  Katie Ryan Fotiadis is certified in nonprofit management and leadership and holds her Master’s degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development with dual concentrations in Workplace Learning and Performance and Leadership.


Related Courses

Appreciation & Recognition: Supporting Employee Engagement
Presented by Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MSHROD, CNP
Video

Presenter

Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MSHROD, CNP
Course: #32045Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Managing an effective program operation1 Hour
  'It was broken down to make it easy to learn'   Read Reviews
How are you, as a leader, recognizing and rewarding the behaviors you want repeated – that will make teachers, other employees, and the organization successful? Showing appreciation and recognition is a powerful leadership tool to have in your toolbox!

Fundamentals of Human Resources for Early Childhood Leaders
Presented by Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MS
Video

Presenter

Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MS
Course: #31802Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Managing an effective program operation4 Hours
  'Sexual harassment'   Read Reviews
Learn the basics of employment-related laws including diversity, inclusion, workplace harassment, sexual harassment, and prohibited retaliation. Receive information on employment law and your responsibilities to comply as members of early childhood leadership.

Fundamentals of Human Resources for Early Childhood Leaders: Employment Law Overview
Presented by Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MS
Video

Presenter

Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MS
Course: #31471Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Maintaining a commitment to professionalism1 Hour
  'A great overview of employment laws'   Read Reviews
This course covers the basics of employment-related laws including diversity, inclusion, workplace harassment, sexual harassment, and prohibited retaliation. Participants will also receive information on employment law and their responsibilities to comply as members of early childhood leadership.

Fundamentals of Human Resources for Early Childhood Leaders: Diversity and Inclusion
Presented by Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MS
Video

Presenter

Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MS
Course: #31472Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Managing an effective program operation1 Hour
  'Interesting info!'   Read Reviews
This course is designed to help participants learn about what diversity and inclusion mean to their organization and why they should care. The concept of diversity goes beyond encompassing aspects of individual uniqueness. We will focus on the organization’s most valuable resource, its human capital, as well as explore the legal ramifications that early childhood administrators must know.

Fundamentals of Human Resources for Early Childhood Leaders: Hostile Work Environment
Presented by Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MS
Video

Presenter

Katie Ryan Fotiadis, MS
Course: #31475Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Maintaining a commitment to professionalism1 Hour
  'Clear and concise information on what to do and what not to do'   Read Reviews
This course covers the basics of hostile work environments. Participants will also receive information on employment law and their responsibilities to comply as members of leadership.