The Power of a Thank You

By Dianna Conover

The holiday season always gets me thinking about how to appreciate those who mean the most to me. But the power of thanking those who matter to us is not in how big of a gift we give but in how genuine we are with our thank you. Same applies to our workplaces. During the holiday season employees look forward to time off, Christmas bonuses, holiday hams, and other goodies that the employer provides but are you doing what you need to do all year long?

Creating a culture of recognition and gratitude is not impossible. It’s making changes one step at a time. It’s teaching people to be appreciative of others before they walk out the door. The number-one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. In fact, 65% of people surveyed said they got no recognition for good work last year. (Gallup, Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life, 2001) I can hear you saying, But Dianna, we are a small business! We don’t have the budget to have a recognition program! So, what if I told you than you could do it for less than $10 a month?

Recognition programs don’t have to be expensive. They just need to be genuine, immediate and consistent. You start from the top with your leaders and allow the feeling of being appreciated ripple through your organization. Am I saying that your leadership needs to be thanked first? No. Not to exclude them but they should be the ones to start this process. Costing less than $10, hand written thank you cards are a great start. Dream a little dream with me; it’s an average Tuesday afternoon and you are working away at your desk and the president of your company walks up to your desk and hands you an envelope and he says, “Thank you for what you do for our organization. You are really valued.”  You look around and all your coworkers are watching and your manager is smiling. You might blush or think that you are being punked but then you proceed to open this envelope and you have a hand written card from him with a few sentences saying how much he appreciates the work you did on that last project, or with a specific client. That would make you feel pretty amazing, right? Right! While the President or other members or the Leadership Team might not consistently recognize others for their work, by them starting the process, it opens the door to peer-to-peer recognition, manager to employee recognition and even employee to manager recognition!

If you wanted to take an additional step, investing in your recognition program can make a significant difference. When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement.  (SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 2012) Let’s say that your average yearly payroll is $150,000. 1% of that equates to $1500 a year. Imagine what you can do with $125 a month! It can go towards a monthly pizza party for the office or Friday bagels. It can go towards an employee of the month program or pool the money into a quarterly award. The options really are endless but when you put in effort in appreciating the people who support you, the results are undeniable!

Recognition programs are not only a great retention tool and engagement builder but it is also a great recruiting tool. Need to seduce over that rock-star candidate with one more reason to join your company? Try recognition. Need to find top talent. Recognition works! Part of human nature is the need to feel validated for what we do. They want to feel appreciated and people want to work at an organization that values its employees. Promoting your stellar recognition program is one more reason that you will look better than that other employer trying to snag that rock-star.

Timing does matter on this. If you wait a week or two to recognize someone, they might have forgotten what they did. Time is of the essence. Create a culture of saying thank you often, right away and with sincerity and you will see a much happier, engaged workforce!

If you would like help creating a recognition program that is perfect for your own unique organization, ARTS HR can help! Contact us today to get started!