How a Simple Thank You has Big Benefits

Saying Thank You is an excellent way of motivating your staff and has benefits beyond simple courtesy.

Late night talk show host and funny man Conan O’Brien once quipped that he doesn’t give his staff presents because he already “gives them the gift of employment”.

Expressing gratitude isn’t all about presents, award ceremonies by talk show hosts or public speeches: it can be as simple as saying ‘thank you’. It is the easiest, cheapest and effective way to recognise your people for a job well done.

While this may seem obvious, it seems that we don’t practice this simple courtesy at work. The HBR reports that while 50% of us may say thank you in our private lives, only 15% say it at work. That's a bad example we're setting for our kids.

Saying thank you has some clear benefits, with half of employees surveyed indicating that they would leave a company if they weren’t regularly thanked, even if that job had a higher salary. That, and it's just a nice thing to do.

As a leader, there are three steps to give an effective thank you:

1) Actually say Thank You!

In our fast world, even small pleasantries can be missed.

2) Describe what the person did. Be specific!

Describe what actions they took or behaviours they showed which you appreciated.

Being specific is important as if people know what they’re doing right, they are more likely to repeat the action or behaviour in future.

For example:
  • Good: Thank you for stepping up and preparing the board paper while I was sick yesterday.
  • Not-so-good: Thank you for being nice.

3) Describe how the action/behaviour added value

Talk about how it helped you or the company, so they understand the positive impact it had. People want to know they matter and that they are not just another cog in the machinery.



Finally, say thank you as soon as possible and do it often! One thing to avoid is mixing praise with criticism. If you’re about to throw in a “but” right after a detailed thank you, stop yourself – it simply undermines the praise you’ve just given.

It costs nothing to be pleasant and express gratitude, but it does wonders for your people and shows them that they matter. Sometimes, that's all they want.

Are you a regular thanker or do you think that employment is thanks enough? What are some of the ways you show gratitude to your people?


Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: How a Simple Thank You has Big Benefits
How a Simple Thank You has Big Benefits
Saying Thank You is an excellent way of motivating your staff and has benefits beyond simple courtesy.
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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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