Have you ever received a thank you card that didn’t put a smile on your face? It’s human nature – we all like to be recognized for the things that we do. Recognition and gratitude make us feel like our actions have significantly more meaning and weight than they would if no one were paying attention. That’s why thanking employees can be such a powerful motivational tool. Expressing gratitude to employees boosts company morale, which in turn boosts productivity and engagement.
Consider a recent study done by researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Researchers divided university fundraisers into two groups. The first group did their job as they normally would, making phone calls to alumni to solicit donations. The second group received a pep talk from the director of annual giving. She told fundraisers that she was grateful for their efforts, and during the following week, the employees who heard the pep talk made 50% more fundraising calls than the group who did not hear the pep talk.
We’re not talking about a complicated incentives program or an expensive employee reward initiative. We’re simply talking about one person expressing their thanks to a group of employees. That simple message led to 50% more calls. Imagine what expressing gratitude to your employees could do for your business.
In our leadership training, we emphasize the importance of gratitude as a culture. Individual executives need to get in the habit of offering sincere thanks to the people who work for them on a regular basis.
How you choose to give thanks is up to you. You could personally fund a celebratory dinner for your team at the end of each quarter. You could also write a weekly email to your staff sharing the particular accomplishments of a few choice employees while also thanking everyone generally for their efforts. Or you could get in the habit of simply saying “Thank you for your work today, team” on your way out the door each day. Even steps as small as that can have a huge impact on employee engagement and loyalty.
One of the great things about gratitude is that it is contagious. When you take the time to thank your employees, you will inevitably boost their spirits, and that happiness will spread to interactions with fellow employees and customers. Gratitude doesn’t have to cost a dime, but it could significantly impact the bottom line of your business by spreading a sense of respect and comradery amongst your employees. So say “Thank you”!