Personalized Appreciation Is Worth It

February 1, 2021

There are no short cuts!

While a solid “thank you” goes a long way, only saying “thank you” won’t carry team members on forever.  A manager must do more.

So how do you say more than “thank you?”  Well, it depends on the individual.  And there are no short cuts.

In order to provide a truly meaningful gesture of appreciation, it has to be what the receiving individual wants, not what the giving individual thinks he/she wants.

Read that sentence again.

Giving out a coffee shop gift card to someone who doesn’t drink coffee isn’t going to convey a great “way-to-go” feeling. Plus, if everyone gets the same gift card, then it really isn’t personalized. The “thank you” wishing to be conveyed will be diminished.

How do you know what the person wants?lightbulb with ideas


In the blog, “Veterinary team appreciation, do you speak the language?”, it lists 5 languages of appreciation. This is a good start.

It also has a link to a quiz, “What would make you feel most appreciated?”  Again, another good place to start.  Perhaps modifying the answers to the questions to better fit the veterinary environment would be more appropriate.

For example, in the first section, one of the choices is “a person cleans your dishes or mows your lawn.”  A better answer might be “a person closes for you so you can go home one hour earlier.” Or “a person takes an extra exam so you can go to lunch.”

Put some time into developing your own quiz that will help you better identify what individuals really want as an appreciation “gift.” You may want to create several quizzes, one for each position (e.g., veterinarian, veterinary technician, client specialist, etc.).

Relationship building is key

Taking time to get to know team members will be huge when it comes time to recognize them in positive and supportive ways.

And surprise! While you are engaged in building the work relationship to discover a person’s appreciation preference, many other benefits will automatically be derived.

A few include:

  • Increasing trust
  • Discovering mutual respect
  • Respecting the other person’s diversity
  • Establishing stronger communication

While it takes time and energy, in the long run, it is worth it.

Sometimes a token of appreciation needs to be more than just saying “thank you.” When this time comes, it’s important that the recognition be genuine and meaningful to that individual.  In this way, the person will truly feel valued. This goes a long way in job satisfaction and retention.

Yours in Veterinary Team Appreciation,

Rebecca Rose, CVT, Certified Career Coach

References and additional reading

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Sign up for CATALYST Chronicles, a bi-monthly eNewsletter focusing on veterinary team development; creating a sustainable life and career in veterinary medicine.

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