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It’s Time To Do An Appreciation Review

Written by: Paul L. Glover, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


“We Plan, God Laughs.” — Yiddish Proverb.

Never has this proverb been more apropos. As Executive Team Leaders in my coaching program reflect on the first half of 2021, we discuss how the pandemic made 2020 goals irrelevant. And one universal 2020 goal was to increase the number of performance reviews with their Team Members. But not a single performance review was conducted in 2020!

And that’s good since the last thing a Team Member needed in 2020 was a performance review because:

  1. Every Team Member was working harder, even if it was from home.

  2. Team Members couldn’t escape from the stress at work because their family was feeling the stress of living in the economic and health pandemic pressure cooker.

“The Future Depends on What We Do in the Present.” —Gandhi

Flash forward to the present: the post-pandemic economy is booming, the labor market is in chaos with millions of employees leaving their jobs, leaving many teams short-handed, while Team Leaders need to ensure, for the remainder of 2021 and beyond, their Team remains as productive as possible. Under these circumstances, a performance review focused on telling Team Members they need to do better or do more can be a morale killer. However, that doesn’t mean a review is not needed to set the stage for improved performance for the remainder of the year. But, instead of a performance review, it needs to be an Appreciation Review. An Appreciation Review review is about the Team Leader personally telling every Team Member not only how much they appreciate the effort they have shown for the first half of the year but also prepares the entire Team for the rest of 2021 and beyond.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Yogi Berra

The 8 Features of a Successful Appreciation Review (In-Person or Virtual)

Because an Appreciation Review is about coaching and leading, not managing, it’s outside the comfort zone of most Team Leaders. To assist Team Leaders to grow their comfort zone, here are the 8 elements of an impactful Appreciation Review:

1. Say Thank You: Give them a virtual hug! Each Team Member needs to hear how much their effort and work are appreciated during these unprecedented difficult times. And be specific: identify three instances where their effort made a difference to the Team’s success.

2. Be Energetic: C.E.O. stands for “Chief Energy Officer.” Team Leaders can energize Team Members by transmitting positive energy to them as they interact with each Team Member during the review. This transfer of energy will have a cascading impact, moving from Team Member to Team Member. Transfer energy by being positive, smiling, being enthusiastic, using positive words, and open body language.

3. Be Empathetic: Understanding the needs of others, caring about how they feel, and being supportive creates trust and strengthens relationships. This means being in the moment with them, paying attention to their words, body language, and tone of voice. Ask how they are doing and what challenges they and their families are facing. Show concern for their well-being by committing to keeping them safe in the workplace.

4. Be Hopeful: Without hope, Team Members’ excess stress will cause burnout. Team Members need to hear this situation will pass and the future will be better. Because Team Leaders are the model, and hope is contagious if the Team Leader exhibits hope, so will Team Members. Exhibiting hope requires Team Leaders to be truthful, not overly optimistic, and provide a realistic version of the future. Accomplish this by expressing confidence in the ability of each Team Member to help overcome the Team’s challenges and, with the input of the Team, set realistic goals. This also means encouraging Team Members to revisit their own developmental goals.

5. Use Humor: Don’t try to be a stand-up comedian, but recognize humor helps people cope with difficult situations. If, as you conduct the Appreciation Review, you can make a Team Member laugh or smile with a short, amusing story, highlighting the frustrations and inconveniences you are both experiencing, you immediately reduce their level of stress and let them know you are in this together.

6. Be a Better Communicator: During this time of high stress and anxiety, more communication is needed! Establishing a consistent communication program is required to meet the needs of individual Team Members for relevant information. This includes, where appropriate, expressing daily appreciation for the work being performed by Team Members and making the Appreciation Review at least a quarterly ritual.

7. Provide Resources & Remove Barriers: Ask what resources Team Members need to do their job easier/better and provide them. Ask what internal procedures and policies are barriers to work being done effectively and efficiently and eliminate them.

8. Words Matter, but Action Creates a Memorable Moment: At the conclusion of the Appreciation Review, after again expressing gratitude for the hard work the Team Member has contributed to the Team’s success, give them a financial expression of that gratitude. While there are a plethora of ways to do this, I recommend a gift card for the Team Members and their families. Coming directly from the Team Leader, this does much to ensure the Team Member is engaged and committed to making the remainder of 2021 a success.

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” — William James

The Value of a Successful Appreciation Review

The Gallup’s 2021 employee engagement poll found only 36% of employees are actively engaged! This low number is unacceptable at any time, but it takes on heightened significance when polls show up to 40% of the workforce is considering changing jobs. Under these circumstances, which can seriously hinder the ability of the organization to take advantage of the opportunities an ongoing robust economy may present, an impactful Appreciation Review can be the deciding factor that increases engagement, commitment AND retention and, therefore, improves the odds the organization will not only survive post-pandemic but will also thrive.

Want to learn more from Paul? Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and visit his website.


Paul L. Glover, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Paul is known as The No B.S. Workplace Performance Coach. For the last 30 years, his mission has been to assist Executives, Team Leaders, and their organizations in achieving their full potential.

His approach is practical, hands-on, grounded in the realities of the real world of work, and very results-oriented – but all applied with a sense of humor and panache.

Paul is also a "recovering trial lawyer," a Chicago Bears fanatic, an unabashed Starbucks addict, and the author of WorkQuake™, a book dedicated to how to thrive in the Information Economy and a Member of the Forbes Coaching Council.



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