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Change and the Workplace By Dr. Paul White

Understanding Change in the Workplace

The biggest change to the workplace in the last decade has been the influx of millions of younger employees and the exodus of older generations. This shift has had a dynamic effect on the look, feel, and structure of workplace culture. Recent employee engagement surveys have found that employee satisfaction for younger workers is more closely correlated to the connections they share with their coworkers rather than those they share with their direct supervisor.

Our recent experiences make it clear that expanding the focus from expecting supervisors to be the sole “appreciators,” to include peer appreciation creates numerous positive results for teams.

  • Lightens the load (and perceived load) on managers and supervisors to provide all of the relational support within a team.
  • Supports the focus of younger employees on peer relationships in the workplace.
  • Allows for appreciation to be applied and communicated even if a manager/ supervisor isn’t interested or involved.
  • Keeps team members engaged and empowers them to make a difference in their work culture.

Just to clarify, we’re not proposing that managers give up their efforts to show recognition and communicate appreciation to team members. But when employees and supervisors consistently and effectively communicate appreciation to their colleagues, positive results occur more quickly, and are more dramatic in their intensity. Plus, the “staying power” of their effect is longer lasting.

Quality employees are not easy to find, develop or keep. It has become increasingly difficult to find individuals with the training and experience needed to do the job and who have the character qualities desired. Authentic appreciation communicated from both leaders and coworkers leads to a positive, supportive work environment that helps retain your employees.

Numerous additional benefits accrue when team members feel truly valued. Positive communication, increased productivity, improved morale, and customer satisfaction rise to a level we never imagined! All result from learning how to communicate authentic appreciation in the ways that are meaningful to each person on your team.


Dr. Paul White is a psychologist, author, speaker, and consultant who “makes work relationships work.” For the past 20 years, he’s helped organizations create positive workplace relationships and improve staff morale. Dr. White has coauthored several popular books and his most recent book is The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation. This post is an excerpt from Outcomes Magazine Fall 2019.


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