There is a remarkable power that is borne out of saying thank you.
Promotions and salary increases are one thing, but as organisations face strained budgets and burned-out workforces, the time is now to thank your team, and regularly. Research shows that people don’t really ‘hear’ praise, so you need to do it four times more than you criticise (which by the way they hear loud and clear). The same research correlates recognition with health, happiness and stronger relationships.
An article I read in the Harvard Business Review summed it up, saying…
‘Don’t underestimate the power of symbolic awards, such as private thank-you notes or public displays of recognition. These simple interventions can significantly improve employee motivation.’
To maximise the effect of your thank you, it’s essential to customise the thanks to each unique context. Ask yourself…
Who should deliver the thank you?
Specifically, spend a little time thinking about whether you the best messenger, or would this expression of gratitude be more impactful coming from someone else? A line manager or someone else working on a specific project? Hearing a thank you from the person who has had the most involvement will likely mean the most.
When is the best time to offer the message?
Consider a thank you straight after a good meeting or call, and make sure that any praise or recognition you receive from clients is passed on to the team or individual shortly after you receive it.
Should the thanks be communicated privately or publicly?
Consider on-the-spot recognition for great performances, or ‘values awards’ which can be shared publicly through social media and internal newsletters. There is always room for a short email or Slack message expressing gratitude. Whatever you decide, your message can be short and sweet — as long as it’s thoughtful. When employees feel that it’s sincere, a symbolic gesture of recognition can go a long way.
Employees want to feel valued and appreciated – when any of us work really hard on something and don’t receive any positive feedback in return, it can be disheartening, to say the least. Remember your team are unlikely to ask for compliments in specific ways, so it’s down to you to make sure you are always ready to say thank you when it’s deserved.
Recognition should always be a personal thing. It can be big or small, the most important thing is that it is sincere, thoughtful and personal to the individual. If you can create emotional connections between employee, employer and their work, you can bring about real work engagement.
Every Wednesday I book out an hour to hold a FREE agency leaders surgery. If you have something on your mind, a challenge you’re wrestling with or just want an alternative point of view, I’d be very happy to lend an ear and maybe help you start to unpick the issues. You can help yourself to my calendar, here. Speaking to a diverse group of agency leaders helps me stay current and contextualise the issues I’m seeing with my clients. So please see this conversation as a genuine collaboration where we both hope to learn something new.