Public or Private employee appreciation?

two women looking at an iPad smiling

Appreciation is a vital ingredient to the culture of a company. It is no secret that appreciation boosts productivity, increases employee engagement, and drives motivation. However, what is the best way to appreciate an employee? Is public or private employee appreciation better?

Finding the best culture for your company is fundamental, a study by Glassdoor (2019) found that 56% of employees believe that company culture is more important than their salary.

If you’re asking yourself how to appreciate better, then this blog is for you.

In the following article, you will learn:

  • When to deliver public or private appreciation.
  • What are the forms of employee appreciation.
  • How to best recognise your employee to boost their engagement.

Let’s start. 

Employee recognition, the act of saying “Thank you” can come in different shapes and forms. Although the most important thing is to appreciate someone for their hard work, knowing how to appreciate is equally as important.

Cartoon of man and woman clapping with heart in background

Now, you might be thinking: Isn’t appreciation just showing gratitude and recognition?

Yes, it is. However, I want to create an emphasis on saying that recognition is not a one-size-fits-all. The reason why recognition is different is because humans are all unique

Every human has their own set or standard of motivation. Each individual has their own goals, ambitions, and self-value found in different aspects of their work identity. Therefore, to deliver recognition correctly, the delivery must be adapted. 

At Nais, we conducted a study to see who are the main actors of motivation. We found that for 44% of employees, their main source of feedback comes from their leader. Whilst this percentage isn’t bad, it needs to be improved and appreciation set as a standard.

Public vs. Private appreciation.


We describe private appreciation, as direct communication from one person to another in a private setting without an audience of peers. The advantage of private appraisal is that it comes across as genuine and authentic. Furthermore, it reinforces that the company is committed to employee well-being even behind the curtains.

Private appreciation can come in the form of a meeting, a message directed to one person, a feedback call, or even an email of written appreciation. Moreover, private appreciation when it comes from the boss to an employee is extremely meaningful.

Employees who are particularly timid, and shy about the spotlight are most likely to prefer private kudos. In this case, motivation is fueled internally and should be respected. Therefore, in this case, private kudos are the best way for shy employees to receive feedback. 

Giving personal appreciation is essential. In fact, after conducting research we found that only 49% of employees believe that their bosses appreciate their work. Now, more than ever in a digital world, managers need to do their part to show employees that they recognise and value their work.

Grouo of coworkers smiling at a laptop screen


In comparison, public kudos is appraisal done with an audience. It is extremely impactful as the appraisal is given in front of peers and coworkers, and caresses the feeling of pride and self-fulfilment. 

Moreover,  public appraisal has an incredible snowball effect. It demonstrates that leaders are appreciative, and in turn, drives peers to show appreciation in their work routine too.

Additionally, public kudos helps managers appreciate employees, whilst also motivating other employees to mimic rewarded behaviours. 

Moreover, a study by rewardgate (2018) found that 90% of HR professionals agree that effective recognition and rewards help drive business performance. In other words, kind words in public go a long way for business development.

Public kudos can amplify the values and behaviours that managers encourage from employees.

If you still wonder if public or private employee appreciation is better. Ask yourself:

  1. Does the employee enjoy the spotlight? Are they comfortable with a public appraisal?
  2. Am I going to say anything confidential?
  3. What is the value in sharing appreciation publicly?
  4. Will this appreciation show the behaviours we appreciate at the company?

In conclusion, all appreciation is welcome appreciation. The key is to give instant recognition, and tie the message to a goal or company value. The real way to build a company culture is to nourish behaviour and reward the efforts you want repeated continuously.

If you want to make appreciation digital and track employee engagement, then have a look at what Nais can do for your company.

You will find a digital touch to human communication that will nourish a culture of appreciation in your comapny.

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