There is a saying that you can always make more money, but you cannot make more time. Every workday, your employees give you their time performing repairs, producing goods, serving customers, designing, selling, analyzing, and so much more. All their work is aimed to support the mission of your organization. Taking time to say thank you is the least any manager can do.
It is no exaggeration to assert that there really is no better investment of time than the simple act of thanking someone. Saying a simple “thank you” is always appreciated, but there are ways you can thank people for a much deeper effect. Here are 5 proven suggestions that, even if you adopt just one, will turn the simple act of expressing thankfulness into an effective tool for improving morale, productivity, and success.
- Look them in the eye
Most of us say thank you without much thought throughout our days. We may thank someone for holding a door open, a waitress for refilling our drink, or an employee for dropping off a document onto our desk, but these instants of thankfulness are mostly stated out of courtesy rather than from sincerity. A more active and direct thank you has far more wielding an effect than a thank you stated off-hand. Occasionally, stop and be sure that your “thank you” is directed and sincere. Look the person in the eye and address them by name if you can. That simple measured act is all it really takes to make it known that you noticed and that you are truly appreciative.
- Make it specific
Instead telling an employee, “thank you for your good work today,” it is far more impactful to mention something specific. For example, say instead, “Thank you for handling that call with Ms. Robinson.” Being specific demonstrates that you are paying attention, noticing their work, and genuinely appreciating what they are doing. In turn, it reinforces what you consider to be good work habits and behaviors, thus giving your employee clear guidance as to what your expectations and standards are. This is something that cannot be conveyed with a general thank you that doesn’t provide specifics as to what exactly is being thanked.
- Make it personal
You should know your employees. Do they have pets? What are their hobbies? Do they have kids? Favorite foods? Dream vacation spots? Favorite sports teams? You get where I am going. If you don’t know your employees that well, then you better hop to it. These people are giving you a huge chunk of their lives to work for you. Knowing them gives you the ability to reward them in personal ways that you otherwise cannot. Small gestures that are specific to the things they love demonstrates that you care about them in ways beyond just the work they do. It shows that you too are vested in helping them maximize the enjoyment of the things they care about outside of work.
- Give extra
Have you ever baked cookies or decided to give out small little gifts to employees? If there is one employee that is truly deserving of appreciation, this is a great opportunity to show them just how much they mean to you. Instead of just one cookie, give them two. Be sure to let them know they are getting “extra.” A wink or a nod might be enough to signal to them the sentiment (not in a weird way of course). Even better, take an additional second or two to say thank you as you look them in the eye and place down that additional cookie (see suggestion #1). Extra goes a long way.
- Tell the story
We don’t always know how a simple act sometimes impacts people’s lives. We often do nice things out of habit and/or mindfulness. Because of that, employees are sometimes in the dark as to how their work impacts the lives of others, whether it be co-workers, management, or customers. If you know that they have impacted someone or some project in a positive way, I always advise telling them. Even if they know, hearing it from someone else really drives it home just how impactful their work is. Tell the story. Make it public. Make it a big deal. Doing so helps the employee understand their worth, reinforces good behaviors, makes them feel empowered and affirmed, and really makes them feel appreciated to a degree they otherwise wouldn’t.
As you can perhaps gleam, saying thank you isn’t just nice. It is one of the pillars of good management habits that pays dividends far in excess of the time you spend doing it.