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30 Dec 2010

Are You Tapping the Power of Thank You’s?

Thanking employees periodically for doing their jobs generates a superior return on our time. It’s an effective cost-containment technique for our labor cost; the less employees like the culture the more money it will take to keep them. Consequently, no employee should go more than three to six months without an executive or senior manager thanking him for his work.

Moreover, Thank You’s power extends beyond the immediate employee. She will assuredly talk to other employees about her experience, thus producing a ripple effect. We are making the company’s grapevine work for us.

Here is a simple, direct thank you:

Hi, Tom. How are you? Listen, I just wanted to thank you for the work you’ve been doing for me. I appreciate it. You’ve really been helping us out.

Often, employees will respond with something like:

Well, I’m just doing my job.

To which we can respond with:

Perhaps, but I know that you don’t have to show up and you don’t have to apply your total effort. So, I’m thanking you for those things too.

Occasionally, I’ve heard executives and managers say:

  • If they don’t like it, there’s the door!
  • Why should I do this when their paycheck is our thanks?

First, employees are under no legal obligation to show up for work; we cannot sue them for not showing. We avoid headaches when they show. Second, every company issues paychecks; every company does not issue thank you’s. They give us a competitive edge in securing and keeping talent. Third, if money is the only way we show appreciation, then money will be the only thing that motivates them. Thank you’s allow us to develop and leverage personal connections. These build a team culture and make goals more achievable.

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