When and How to Say “Thank You”
Thank You Tips
Workers who feel appreciated are twice as likely to stay at a company than those who don’t feel appreciated.
If you think you don’t have time or can’t afford to show appreciation to your team, then stop and think about how much you currently invest in hiring and training new people. How much would you save if your turnover were lower? Probably a lot, which is why recognizing your team’s efforts is almost always cost-effective.
And don’t think that daily gratitude will “wear out” your team. Has anyone ever thanked you so many times that it lost its meaning? Probably not. It’s not likely that your team will ever get tired of receiving your appreciation.
Just make sure you’re sincere about why you thank people. And don’t rush the “thank you” while you’re on your way somewhere else. This WILL probably make your gestures lose their meaning. Stop, look at the person, and tell him how much you appreciate what he’s doing.
These small gestures cost nothing except a few seconds of your time, but their payoff is enormous.
Remember these guidelines:
- Be consistent – Consistency is vital. If you praise often during one month, and then skip the next month entirely, your team will wonder what’s going on. Creating a culture of recognition and reward is important – so once you start, make sure you continue.
- Be specific – Every time you praise people on your team, be specific about what they did to deserve the recognition. If you say, “Jim did a great job yesterday!” that’s not only vague, but it may cause jealousy from other team members. Being specific not only makes the person you recognize feel better, it also lets the whole team know that you’re paying attention. So, detail exactly what the person did and why it made a difference.
- Know your people – You must know your team to reward them adequately. For example, if you know that someone loves art and music, then opera tickets or museum passes would probably be an appreciated, thoughtful gift. If someone else is a sports fan, then football tickets might be a great idea. Getting to know your team’s interests is critical to showing your appreciation well. Send out a survey, or question them about their passions. And write it all down so you don’t forget.
- Make the reward relevant – Your gift or gesture should be relevant to your team member’s effort. For example, if someone comes in early for a week to make sure a project is completed on time, then a gift certificate for a great breakfast would be a good fit. If, however, the person just saved the company from a mistake that would have cost millions, then something more significant is needed!
Ideas for Rewarding Your Team
Smaller gestures go further and end up costing you less in the long run. Here are some creative ideas to consider for showing appreciation to your team:
- Offer flexible scheduling – not everyone needs, or wants, to be in the office at 8:00 a.m. Or, you could offer telecommuting days.
- Send handwritten thank-you notes when someone goes above and beyond the requirements of the job.
- Create “free day” coupons that a worker could use for a free day off – no questions asked – without using vacation or sick time.
- Take your team out to lunch – and then, as a last-minute surprise, give them the rest of the day off.
- Give out “lazy Monday” coupons to allow a team member one “free” Monday morning off.
- If you e-mail a team member to say thank you, consider copying that message to YOUR boss.
There are creative ways to say “thank you.” The great thing about these gestures is that they’ll probably be remembered far longer than any bonus check. You’ll show your appreciation – and, at the same time, you’ll strengthen the bond between you and your team.
Leaders need to say “thank you” regularly. Your team members will likely work much harder if they feel that what they’re doing really makes a difference, and that their efforts are noticed by those with “power.”
Thank-you gifts don’t have to be extravagant or costly. Small gestures are often remembered longer than financial bonuses. These small, entertaining rewards can also help promote a sense of fun in the workplace, which may go a long way toward helping you retain key talent.