“The culture of a workplace – an organisation’s values, norms and practices – has a huge impact on our happiness and success,” Adam Grant.
#6 Experiences at work: The power of saying thanks
In this series we suggest ways to ‘shift people’s experience of work’. #5 looked at ways to make people in your business feel special and noticed for the work they do; and how celebrating personal milestones can really make their day. In this sixth post we look at how important it is to say ‘thank you’ to those making an impact across your business.
Saying ‘thank you’ is one of the basic principles of manners we were all taught from a young age. So why is it something many of us fail to do effectively in the workplace? A little thanks can go a long way in business – and has been proven to have a direct impact to the commercial success of business, as it makes people feel valued, noticed and appreciated, which leads to significant performance outcomes. In one example, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that grateful leaders motivate their employees to be more productive. In one study involving fundraising calls, employees who were thanked by their managers made 50 per cent more fundraising calls than their co-workers.
Those two little words can have a dramatic impact across your business when it comes to culture, but it’s also an important behaviour when acknowledging people who may operate outside your business – be that partners, advisors, people who bring in sales referrals, and even customers.
But how do we say ‘thank you’ and make it meaningful and lasting? According to Gallup people will have forgotten any acknowledgement as little as seven days later, so you have to do it regularly and make it meaningful. And that’s why experiences are such a wonderful way to say ‘thanks’ – because they increase storytelling and folklore about your brand. Experiences not only make the recipient feel special on receipt of the reward, but they also get to enjoy the anticipation leading up to the event, the event itself and then the lasting memories and stories after. This is how you create genuine emotional connection to your brand.
So when are the best times to say thanks? For one, there’s never a bad time to say it, but there are also some obvious occasions you can leverage to recognise people in a special way.
- End of Financial Year
- End of calendar year (Christmas)
- Length of service
- Recognising behaviour – eg sales referrals
- Encouraging behaviour change – eg lead generation
- Company wide achievement of results
- Achieving performance indicators
- Being a role model, buddy, mentor or assisting others
The list is almost endless. A thank you is different than an incentive, it is not expected by the recipient and it is also spontaneous… often you can surprise and delight someone which adds to the impact of the ‘thank you.’
We spend about half our waking hours every week at work . So if you spend your time there feeling stressed, powerless, devalued or simply counting down to the weekend, you’re effectively spending half your life wishing you were somewhere else. Yet making our workplaces better is so much easier than people think it is. One really simple thing we can all do is thank each other. Improving how we feel about and do our work is as simple as saying thank you for a job well done.
Think about the last time someone said ‘thanks’ to you for something that you achieved or provided. I bet you felt great. I bet you felt connected; like you did something meaningful with your time, and that you were part of something positive. And I bet that made you want to do that ‘something good’ again.
Every successful business is built by the hard work of the people who contributed – your employees, your partners, your suppliers and your customers. Have you said thank you to those people who are helping you succeed? If you haven’t said thanks recently, then make a point to say it today, with an experience.
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Also published on Medium.