The value of ‘instant appreciation’ vs ‘awards’ a year later


This story may not seem unusual to those from the corporate jungle. However, this instance is likely to force many to ponder on some of the practices we tend to accept as normal.

Anmol is an area sales manager at ABC Ltd, one of the leading FMCG companies of the world. He handles the entire West Zone of India, comprising Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, for the company’s healthcare business. Anmol is a good worker and the senior management always appreciates his performance and deliverables.

With seven people reporting to him —three from Maharashtra, two each from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh— he is considered a very good mentor and manager, whose team gives amazing results every quarter. In fact, in Q3, Anmol’s team surpassed the revenue targets of Maharashtra by almost 20 per cent, which was quite a big achievement!

Rakesh, Sidhartha and Tarun are three people working with Anmol in Maharashtra, who have generated whopping results in Q3. All of them toiled really hard to beat their targets and achieve their goals with flying colours. Out of the three people reporting to Anmol, Rakesh is the one who handled a key account for ABC. He was able to close the long-pending deal worth Rs 68 crore which contributed to almost 47 per cent of the total revenue generated by Maharashtra state in Q3!

Rakesh was very excited and happy with his performance and was expecting a huge round of applause from his manager, Anmol.

However, at the third quarterly performance review meeting for Anmol and Rakesh, the former only discussed the numbers achieved by the latter and the way ahead to achieve more in Q4. Rakesh was surprised. He did not receive what he was expecting and the meeting ended with so many numbers and calculations on papers.

After the gigantic success of ABC Ltd in that financial year, the company decided to felicitate the top contributors at its Annual Sales Conference at one of the best luxury hotels of Dubai. Everyone was all set for the conference and to celebrate the success of the company.

During the event, Rakesh received the ‘Outstanding Performer Award of the Year’ from the CEO. After the gala, people return to their workplace and start working on their annual targets and goals, chasing numbers and more numbers! Though he receives the award, he doesn’t get enthused or feel elated on the same.

What went wrong? Why was he not happy even after receiving a coveted award?

Often, caught up in the challenges of the corporate world, one tends to forget the essence and meaning of ‘instant appreciation’.

Rakesh, a good performer and thorough extrovert, was looking forward to an instant appreciation from his immediate boss for accomplishing a goal/task.

But his manager, Anmol, disappointed him at the review meeting. Anmol believed that a trophy and cash prize of Rs 10,000 will motivate Rakesh more than an instant verbal appreciation. He failed to understand the behaviour and needs of his subordinate!

As managers, it is very essential for one to understand the Subordinate Value Proposition (SBP) of one’s team members and act accordingly. A verbal appreciation at the right time will have more impact than a cash prize of Rs 10,000 presented six months later!

Merely saying the right thing will not suffice either. One has to also say it at the right time and in the right way!

So, it’s important appreciate the good work and reprimand the bad, but the timing is crucial.

What do you think? Do leave your comments. 

(The author is HR Manager at Godrej and Boyce.)


  1. I concur with the views. Instant appreciation is much more effective than deferred year end awards. The annual award function have became formal and miss the wow factor when something bigger is achieved. Some times we have to choose from not so deserving to fill the numbers.

  2. Simple and well explained concept thru example. I completely agree to the point stated by you. Many manager/seniors does not notice the need of patting the back of their team members at the right time and still expect the same performance and enthusiasm from the team. Its so small a task to say thanks or appreciate your team for the good work done , even if its small. The feeling it gives to your subordinate is that even small our tasks our efforts are valued. And that is what matters in the long run. Do keep on appreciating your team in public, but also remember to make them aware of the mistakes if they make any, but in individual. The carrot and stick rule does really pay well.

  3. It is a fact. Immediate Appreciation for achievements has better impact on motivating people, although formal rewards do have their importance.

  4. Thanks all…
    Prachi my next article is coming on ” should we appreciate in public or private?”.
    Perhaps my points differ a little from yours…
    But appreciate your reviews….keep it going…

  5. Well said. Continuous feedback and recognition by manager & peers — really help in motivation and increasing the collaboration between people. It is important to appreciate the accomplishments (as soon as possible) and also review the goals during the check-ins (periodic reviews).

  6. Quite agree with the thought , it’s crucial for managers to identify the motivating factors . The sad part is that most of us get so carried away with processes and technology and business goals that we forget that the human factor supersedes everything . End of the day we are in the people business and that means to accept and understand the basic psychological need ; the need to be respected and appreciated . It’s funny how most of us look forward to a pat , a compliment and rarely ever feel the need to give one . Giving can be much more fun than receiving . Gratitude towards our team , managers and organization is a crucial step to making better contributions . A Harvard study has proved that if there is one thing that successful people have in common it’s the ability to have much gratitude .

    And when we have gratitude , then instant appreciation becomes part of what we do, who we are and not some thought of mechanical process .

    I have seen managers who do give instant appreciation cause it’s just something they think is part of their job role or perhaps they just out of a training workshop and sooner or later the team members will see through and the instant appreciation is as good as no appreciation .

  7. It is aptly written, Vivek. Recognition must be timely, instant rather than making it an event. People might even get demotivated by not receiving verbal appreciation, which could again lead ending up with bad performance/results.

  8. Well thought and nicely put into words, Vivek. Rakesh has not only lost the enthusiasm about the work but somewhere down deep he has lost the trust and confidence in his boss as well. Instant recognition fares far fairer from rewards, not only boosts up the morale to test limits but also develops a trustworthy relationship between the boss and the subordinate.

Comment on the Article

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

15 + 13 =