A thoughtful employee Thank You note motivates employees more than the prospect of a cash bonus or promotion, according to a recent study.
The study, from Appirio, underscores the importance of a boss’ appreciation to employees.
Of those surveyed, 60 percent said that when they’re considering a job offer, the most important factor is knowing whether management appreciates employees. By comparison, only 4 percent said they were most concerned with knowing how often a company evaluates employees for raises.
The majority of workers “value a human expression of appreciation for a job well done,” the study’s authors wrote.
A simple “Thank You” is more powerful than money. The study revealed that 55 percent of surveyed workers appreciate being thanked by their managers for a project well done. Notably, only 8 percent would feel disappointed if the same project didn’t result in a monetary reward.
One of the best ways to share your employee Thank You is with a handwritten note. It’s a classic, meaningful way to show appreciation and motivate employees with a keepsake of your gratitude.
Better yet, start an employee Thank You note habit! Turning appreciation a regular workplace habit makes sharing gratitude easier and faster — and it feeds your company culture.
We love the story of Pam McCorkle, a Wisconsin woman who started a regular “Thank You Note Thursdays” event at her local bookstore.
Let one woman’s appreciation mission inspire you to start an employee Thank You note habit! Read on for lessons from McCorkle’s experiment, and take action today for a lasting culture of workplace gratitude.
7 Benefits of Starting an Employee Thank You Note Habit
Pam McCorkle started her monthly “Thank You Note Thursdays” event as a personal project. Since 2011, she’s shown up once a month at Arcadia Books in Spring Green, WI, with a box of cards, pens, stamps and a promise to mail whatever is written.
“On the third Thursday of each month, McCorkle camps at one of the store’s tables if one is available. People come to her out of curiosity, but she also walks through the store reaching out to other people. She’ll ask if there’s someone they want to thank for something. Sometimes they say no. At least 276 have said yes, because McCorkle keeps track,” reporter Jane Burns writes in a Wisconsin State Journal feature on McCorkle’s project.
What happens when people are granted the opportunity to thank others is amazing — and you can easily replicate McCorkle’s project in the workplace by starting an employee Thank You note habit with a team of managers.
Here’s what McCorkle and others discovered after making Thank You notes a habitual practice:
1. Gratitude comes naturally (when you let it)
Finding time to write Thank You notes is the biggest hurdle for most people. Once you’ve done that, and protected this time from distractions, the gratitude starts flowing.
2. Sometimes, people need “permission” to start thanking others
The first step to starting any new habit is giving yourself (or receiving) permission to just do it. That’s how one man described his first encounter with Thank You Note Thursdays.
“It was like getting permission to take that time,” he says. He ended up writing a Thank You note to his aunt and uncle. He appreciated that McCorkle opened up that space and time for him at Arcadia Books: “Once I’m home, I get caught up with the rhythm of the day.”
3. Gratitude-centered thinking opens up possibilities
Something magical happens when people get the opportunity to thank others. As they start thinking of people to thank, they center their thinking on gratitude. They discover the endless possibilities for Thank You notes: a love note to a spouse, an invitation to a friend, a note of appreciation for a gift.
“You start doing a checklist of ‘Who would like to hear from me?’ Then people are looking at who they care about, who they think about, who cares for them. That’s a good thing,” McCorkle says.
4. Thank You notes cultivate a thoughtful environment
Thank You Note Thursdays has the blessing of the Arcadia Books staff.
“It fits with the kind of environment we want to create,” says store manager John Christensen. “We’re trying to be a thoughtful place. Having someone encouraging you to be thoughtful is a great thing.”
5. Thank You notes become artifacts of history
“A lot of people don’t get anything in the mail except for bills, and even junk mail is diminishing,” McCorkle says. That makes Thank You notes even more special. “What I think is going to happen is in 10 or 50 or 100 years, there are going to be no artifacts and if you have a piece of paper or a letter with a date and a stamp, it’s part of a historical record.”
6. Handwritten notes are a chance to share beauty
McCorkle collects cards that catch her eye at museums or other stores. Even the act of handwriting a note now is an act of art (and gratitude).
“I send a million emails saying thanks, but it’s not the same,” one Arcadia Books visitor says. “There’s something about the handwritten. No matter what it says. To think that someone took the time to find something, write something, send something. Just the act is the thank you.”
7. A little effort has a big impact
“It’s not hard to make a difference in somebody’s day,” McCorkle says. “When you let someone know, tangibly, that you think about them — that’s a gift.”
Strengthen Your Workplace with Gratitude
An employee Thank You note habit is just one way to transform your workplace with gratitude! For more practical tips on sharing and promoting gratitude every day in your workplace, download our free eBook “Transform Your Workplace With Gratitude.” You’ll find advice here on recruiting and retaining a great workforce, engaging employees and building a sustainable culture of appreciation.
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