Over the past few months, I’ve had a number of reasons to thank people: professional connections for offering their insights during a benchmarking project; former supervisors and colleagues for recommending me for opportunities; and volunteers for their efforts in support of our professional association.
Sure, email and phone calls are immediate and are viewed as acceptable methods for thanking someone for their time and efforts. But there’s nothing like opening an envelope and reading a hand-written note.
In a recent blog post, my buddy Mary Fletcher Jones wrote about spotting her company’s holiday card posted on a bulletin board at a client office. As Mary noted, that simple greeting card transcended its original use and became a visual reminder of her company and their offerings.
Employers are always looking for no cost/low cost ways to build employee morale and show appreciation. There are countless article and blog posts (and even a video or two) about how to design effective employee recognition programs.
But nothing comes close to a personalized, written thank-you note from a supervisor, manager or executive. When was the last time you saw a thank-you email posted on someone’s wall?
It’s easy to get started. On your way home tonight, stop by your neighborhood office supply store and pick up some nice note cards. Then set a personal goal to write at least one thank-you note each week — to acknowledge the employee who offered a time-saving suggestion, took on a new assignment, or stepped in to cover for an absent coworker.
Once you get in the habit of writing your thank-you notes, you’ll find it easy to ramp up to one note each day.
If you want to make a significant impact across the organization, and sow the seeds for a culture of recognition and appreciation, expand your recipient list to include the receptionist, the mail clerk, the security guard, the loading dock attendant and the janitor — the people who are rarely thanked by anyone.
Over time, these small, but sincere actions will yield tremendous dividends in improved morale, productivity and teamwork.