Should You Thank Work People?

Should You Thank Work People?

Is saying thank you necessary to employees, co-workers, vendors, suppliers? Absolutely not, there’s no intrinsic obligation to give any extra, seasonal or out of the ordinary thanks, no reason at all…well maybe one. It makes a difference; maybe to the person receiving the “thank you” but definitely to the one giving it. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way to feeling good about your job and about yourself. Still, there’s appropriate ways, meaningful ways and better ways to do it, let’s take a look…

Seasonal Thanks

Because it’s Thanksgiving perhaps there’s a built-in excuse to give thanks but that doesn’t make it any less impactful to receive it, especially when it’s direct and unexpected. If you want to really get the give-get joy of thanks then preference the one-on-one thank you over the group. Believe it or not a direct spoken word is more meaningful than a material gift or even cash…of course combining the two won’t lose you any points.

Waiting to give out the “holiday bonus” is a common strategy for thanks but we all know that once received once employees quickly develop a sense of entitlement and feel deserved satisfaction rather than appreciativeness. That’s not to say it isn’t a valid appreciation gesture but understand how thanks will be received so you don’t get cynical about the giving. Add the one-on-one handshake and a message to the bonus check and you’ve got something better than a smile at a bank statement. By the way, this all works just as well if you are “thanking up” the chain or peer-to-peer too.

Impactful Thanks

In order of most to least there’s no question that taking someone aside, in person and in private and saying something like, “I just want you to know that I appreciate the job and the effort you give and would like to say thank you for what you’ve done this year.” An appropriate touch, like a handshake (bonus for the free hand atop the shake) personalizes it. A group announcement allows people to disassociate unless each person is named. A handwritten note (not a signed computer printout) would come next, a phone call can be an appropriate substitute if shifts or geography demands but a voice mail is a distant finisher to calling back to get the person. Email is a common method of showing appreciation and it’s not that it won’t convey that message it is simply less affecting, a group message shows a lack of any effort. Let’s not even put a text message on the list, no matter how many emojis!

Think of thanks impact as a parallel to breaking up, the hardest one, face-to-face, shows the most character while the text shows the most cowardice. Obviously this needs to be both honest and sincere but regardless of the employee’s “star” status you can find something to be thankful for whether it is performance, effort, caring, showing up. By finding the sincere element you will make the human connection that empowers people to feel gratitude, loyalty and bonded. Who wouldn’t want that in an employee, vendor, peer or partner of any kind?

Ain’t Feeling It?

Sometimes there are reasons not to feel thankful, that’s okay. Remember, this article began suggesting thanking is not an obligation, it is an opportunity and one that has three potential positive reactions: the person hearing it feels good, the person saying it feels good and the relationship between the two likely moves a step up in value to both. The person giving thanks may even find reciprocity in an unexpected way. So if you’re a naturally selfish person, fine, think of thankfulness as a way to motivate and encourage for your good. If you are an appreciative person then push that instinct toward expression. However you get there living with an attitude of gratitude, and learning to express it, has every chance to make your life and your work a little better and a little happier. For that, we can all say thank you.

(c) 2017 MyEureka Solutions LLC Please LIKE or SHARE if you agree or appreciate this. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomFoxTrainer or for more thoughts visit


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