By RedBalloon for Business

Good leaders know employee thank you’s need to be meaningful

“The culture of a workplace – an organisation’s values, norms and practices – has a huge impact on our happiness and success,” Adam Grant. 

In this series we suggest proactive tips for businesses to ‘shift people’s experience of work’. In post #5 we looked at why it’s important to celebrate the personal milestones of employees to build connection and community within your business.

For this sixth post we will dive into the importance of leaders saying ‘thank you’ to the people making an impact across your business – both internally and externally.

The impact of employee “thank you’s” on productivity

Saying ‘thank you’ is one of the basic principles of manners we learn from a young age, so why is it something many of us fail to do effectively in the workplace?

Even a small gesture of thanks can go a long way in business and has been proven to have a direct impact to the commercial success of business. It makes people feel valued, noticed and appreciated, which leads to positive 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. 

Good leaders say thanks internally and externally

Those two little words can have a dramatic impact across your business when it comes to work 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. 

What is a meaningful way for leaders to show gratitude?

How do we say ‘thank you’ and make it meaningful? 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.

That’s why experiences are a perfect way to say ‘thanks’. An experience is memorable and it increases the storytelling 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. 

When to say employee thank you’s

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. 

  1. End of Financial Year 
  2. End of calendar year (Christmas) 
  3. Length of service 
  4. Recognising behaviour – eg sales referrals 
  5. Encouraging behaviour change – eg lead generation 
  6. Company wide achievement of results 
  7. Achieving performance indicators 
  8. 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.’ 

Thanking employees makes better workplaces

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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To find out more about how the RedBalloon for Business team can help you reward and recognise your people, contact us today.

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