Employees yearn for appreciation for their hard work. Good leaders understand this and always strive to prioritize, support, and thank their employees for going above and beyond. Thus, to urge all leaders to do the same, we have curated a list of the best employee recognition quotes.
But the question is how? How can you express your gratitude and appreciate your employees, and increase engagement? Nothing, in our opinion, can be more meaningful than some good old words.
Even if you lack the funds for a conventional recognition program, the simple act of praising your coworkers may make a big difference in their happiness and boost their joy to work.
Here is our compiled list of the best employee recognition quotes from some of the leading entrepreneurs and authors, recognizing employees, boosting employee motivation, and sincerely taking employee recognition.
1. Zig Ziglar
You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on life.
~ Zig Ziglar
2. Joyce Meyer
It's very inexpensive to give a compliment.
~ Joyce Meyer
3. Tom Hopkins
Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it.
~ Tom Hopkins
4. Ken Blanchard
Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
~ Ken Blanchard
5. Bill Walsh
Nothing is more effective than sincere, accurate praise, and nothing is more lame than a cookie-cutter compliment.
~ Bill Walsh
6. Richard Branson
I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way will treat your customers and that people flourish when they are praised.
~ Richard Branson
7. Arthur Conan Doyle
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
~ Arthur Conan Doyle
8. Veronica Roth
A brave man acknowledges the strength of others.
~ Veronica Roth
9. Tom Rath
Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They're just more engaged at work.
~ Tom Rath
10. Yami Gautam
I think you need to love giving compliments as much as you love receiving them.
~ Yami Gautam
What gets recognized gets reinforced, and what gets reinforced gets repeated.
12. Robert McNamara
Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated.
~ Robert McNamara
13. Mike Byam
Recognize and affirm people when they contribute to the mission you share. Do this, and you will ignite their purpose and potential.
~ Mike Byam
14. Bob Nelson
Take time to appreciate employees, and they will reciprocate in a thousand ways.
~ Bob Nelson
15. G.K. Chesteron
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ G.K. Chesteron
16. Karl Sun
A culture of gratitude helps people realize how truly fortunate they are and instills a desire to pay that forward.
~ Karl Sun
17. Ari Weinzweig
If you don't create a great, rewarding place for people to work, they won't do great work.
~ Ari Weinzweig
18. Anne M. Mulcahy
Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person - not just an employee - are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.
~ Anne M. Mulcahy
19. Charles Schwab
The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.
~ Charles Schwab
20. Dale Carnegie
People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards.
~ Dale Carnegie
21. Gordon T. Smith
Good work requires an appreciation of the value of routine, ordinary, mundane rhythms of doing what needs to be done, each day and each week, thoroughly and with care.
~ Gordon T. Smith
22. Jim Stovall
You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.
~ Jim Stovall
23. Matshona Dhliwayo
You become strong by lifting others up, not pulling them down.
~ Matshona Dhliwayo
Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.
25. Dan Sullivan
Treat your employees like an investment, not a cost.
~ Dan Sullivan
26. Mary Kay Ash
Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret.
~ Mary Kay Ash
27. Maya Angelou
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
~ Maya Angelou
28. Simon Sinek
A boss wants to pay for results, an employee wants recognition for effort. If a boss recognizes effort, they will get even better results.
~ Simon Sinek
29. Abhishek Ratna
When an employee truly understands the meaning of his work and gets recognition for his efforts, he performs the best.
~ Abhishek Ratna
30. Jim Rohn
A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.
~ Jim Rohn
31. Michael Jordan.
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
~ Michael Jordan.
32. Doug Conant
To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.
~ Doug Conant
33. Susan M. Heathfield
Recognition is not a scarce resource. You can't use it up or run out of it.
~ Susan M. Heathfield
34. Ian Fuhr
If you do not treat people with the respect they deserve, do not expect any kind of commitment to your productivity goals and target.
~ Ian Fuhr
35. Mother Teresa
There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.
~ Mother Teresa
36. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
38. David C. Novak
Mary Kay knew that when you put people first and then surround them with processes and disciplines that recognize their efforts, performance will soar.
~ David C. Novak
39. Sir Richard Branson
I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised.
~ Sir Richard Branson
40. Amber Hurdle
You’ve got to get your team to not only understand your company brand, but also to understand their personal brand.
~ Amber Hurdle
41. Robert G. Thompson
Realize that employees and the customers both have to be engaged, at the same time, to move your business forward for sustainable success.
~ Robert G. Thompson
42. Cindy Ventrice
In behavioral economic terms, when we offer recognition we are acknowledging that the recipients have met a social ideal. They are behaving in a certain manner because they believe is the right thing to do. If we then recognize that behavior with praise or appreciation, we offer a confirmation that their behavior is desirable, and do so in a manner that recipients find meaningful.
~ Cindy Ventrice
43. Erik Mosley and Derek Irvine
When a manager recognizes an employee’s behavior, personally and sincerely, both feel proud, gratified, and happy. There’s a human connection that transcends the immediate culture to create a shared bond. The power of this bond is stronger than you might think; indeed, it’s the power that holds together great organizational cultures.
~ Erik Mosley and Derek Irvine
44. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
45. Luc de Clapiers
If people did not compliment one another there would be little society.
~ Luc de Clapiers
46. William James
What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise — although the philosophers generally call it ‘recognition’!
~ William James
47. Arnold H. Glasow
Praise does wonders for our sense of hearing.
~ Arnold H. Glasow
48. Sam Walton
Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.
~ Sam Walton
49. George Adams
Note how good you feel after you have encouraged someone else. No other argument is necessary to suggest that never miss the opportunity to give encouragement.
~ George Adams
50. Paul Bailey
Being told something positive about yourself, whether from someone you’re close to, or a passing acquaintance, should really lift the spirits. Just the fact that someone has taken the time to let you know, should have you feeling noticed and appreciated.
~ Paul Bailey
51. Stephen R. Covey
Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.
~ Stephen R. Covey
52. Alan Cohen
Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.
~ Alan Cohen
53. Northrup Christiane
Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.
~ Northrup Christiane
54. Jacques Maritain
Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.
~ Jacques Maritain
55. Roberto Benigni
It is a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.
~ Roberto Benigni
56. William Arthur Ward
Feeling gratitude, and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~ William Arthur Ward
57. Kevin Kruse
Life isn’t about getting and having; it’s about giving and being.
~ Kevin Kruse
58. Douglas Conant
Even a brief interaction can change the way people think about themselves, their leaders, and the future. Each of those many connections you make has the potential to become a high point or a low point in someone’s day.
~ Douglas Conant
59. Brad Federman
Paychecks can’t buy passion.
~ Brad Federman
60. Joe Navarro
People want to be appreciated, cared for, loved, trusted, and respected. But they also want to be understood, and if you master the skills to achieve that, you truly become exceptional.
~ Joe Navarro
61. Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.
~ Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
62. Albert Schweitzer
At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~ Albert Schweitzer
63. Randy Pausch
Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.
~ Randy Pausch
64. Brian Tracy
Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say thank you to everyone you meet for everything they do for you.
~ Brian Tracy
65. James Allen
No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.
~ James Allen
66. William Blake
The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.
~ William Blake
67. W. Clement Stone
If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.
~ W. Clement Stone
68. Margaret Cousins
Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.
~ Margaret Cousins
69. Albert Einstein
I was very pleased with your kind letter. Until now I never dreamed of being something like a hero. But since you’ve given me the nomination I feel that I am one.
~ Albert Einstein
70. Salman Aziz
Thanks will be a worthless word until a person tells it from heart. When a person thanks someone with full heart then the word will be big and worthy word and will have full meaning to the person. Or else it will remain small and valueless word if a person says it just for saying.
~ Salman Aziz
71. H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.
72. William James
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
~ William James
73. Sunday Adelaja
It does not matter who is in your team, what matters is who they will become because of you.
~ Sunday Adelaja
74. Frank A. Clark
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.
~ Frank A. Clark
75. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Everybody is looking for validation, no matter who you are, and I think that's a need of the human condition - to look for affection or recognition or validation.
~ Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
76. Cindi Leive
People want to be understood and respected as individuals. Years ago, an executive editor of mine said, ‘You should count the number of times you praise somebody and then double that.’ Even the toughest, steeliest writer or editor often really wants to be told, ‘Hey, that was a great piece.’ Early in my career as a manager, it probably took me a while to realize that everyone wants that. It’s just a human need.
~ Cindi Leive
77. Larry Page
Make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, has meaningful impact and is contributing to the good of the society.
~ Larry Page
78. Adam Neumann
People are the most important thing. Business model and product will follow if you have the right people.
~ Adam Neumann
79. Jeff Bezos
What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you- what used to be your tail wind is now your head wind. You have to lean into that and figure out what to do, because complaining isn’t a strategy.
~ Jeff Bezos
80. ~ Mark Zuckerberg
Treat your employee right so they won’t use your Internet to look for new jobs.
~ Mark Zuckerberg
81. Sybil F. Stershic
The way your employees feel is the way your customers feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.
~ Sybil F. Stershic
82. Peter F. Drucker
Productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.
~ Peter F. Drucker
83. Jack Welch
If I had to run a company on three measures, those measures would be customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and cash flow.
~ Jack Welch
84. Tony Hsieh
Every employee can affect your company’s brand, not just the frontline employees that are paid to talk to your customers.
~ Tony Hsieh
85. Eraldo Banovac
Motivating employees to work at their full potential is the main premise of successful management.
~ Eraldo Banovac
86. John D. Rockefeller
Good management consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.
~ John D. Rockefeller
87. Lawrence Bossidy
At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.
~ Lawrence Bossidy
88. Julie Bevacqua
In order to build a rewarding employee experience, you need to understand what matters to your people.
~ Julie Bevacqua
89. Steve Wynn
Human resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s a thing that runs our business.
~ Steve Wynn
90. Howard Schultz
Treating employees benevolently shouldn’t be viewed as an added cost that cuts into profit, but as a powerful energizer that can grow the enterprise into something far greater than the leader could envision.
~ Howard Schultz
91. Lee Iacocca
In the end, all management can be reduced to three words: people, products and profits. People come first.
~ Lee Iacocca
92. Henry Ford
Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success.
~ Henry Ford
93. Abraham Lincoln
Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.
~ Abraham Lincoln
94. Tom Peters
Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.
~ Tom Peters
95. Sue Fitzmaurice
Being told you’re appreciated is one of the simplest and most uplifting things you can hear.
~ Sue Fitzmaurice
96. Vikrant Massey
Recognition is a reward in itself. Any form of appreciation, even a small word, is important.
~ Vikrant Massey
97. Tabetha S. Boyajian
The human brain has an amazing ability for pattern recognition, sometimes even better than a computer.
~ Tabetha S. Boyajian
98. Theodore Isaac Rubin
Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
~ Theodore Isaac Rubin
99. Michael Laudrup
It's always an honour to receive recognition, but I always consider them more important when they come from your colleagues.
~ Michael Laudrup
100. Christian Eriksen
Of course it's nice to get recognition, but I'm not looking for it. I just do my thing. If it comes, it comes. But it's not what you play for.
~ Christian Eriksen
101. Robert Kiyosaki
Most businesses think that product is the most important thing, but without great leadership, mission and a team that deliver results at a high level, even the best product won't make a company successful.
~ Robert Kiyosaki
102. Mary Gauthier
When you see validation for a life's work and dedication, it's a beautiful day.
~ Mary Gauthier
These employee appreciation quotes from top leaders and notable figures highlight how crucial it is to appreciate your people. They will be ideal for recognizing employees at your organization.
And as Zig Ziglar said, “You don’t build a business. You build people, and then people build the business.” Your company’s success will always depend on your people. So share these quotes with your team members to nurture them, encourage them to fly higher, and show that you care.