Why write thank you notes to your employees?
In today’s fast-paced marketplace, with smartphones, tablets, and laptops within arms’ reach, it’s all too easy to fire off a text or an email to recognize your employees and express gratitude for their performance. It’s better than not, but a digital thanks doesn’t have the lasting impact–or show the personal touch–that a handwritten employee thank you note does.
“… we believe that there is still a place for handwritten notes in our fast-paced society–especially for something as important and personal as the thank-you note.”
The article quotes one from “The Costco Connection” magazine, in which Daniel Post Senning–great-great-grandson of Emily Post herself, and author of several books, including Emily Post’s Etiquette Advantage in Business, 3rd Edition—sings the praises of thank you notes, at home as well as in the business world:
“When I get a handwritten letter, I’m excited to open it. The art of the postage stamp, the feel of the paper, the graphic quirks of a friend’s handwriting: There is simply nothing as personal as a handwritten note. In a stack of bills and flyers, it’s a treasure in a sealed packet, full of promise and potential. It is a visceral reminder of someone far away.”
Senning observes that the handwritten thank-you note:
“sends the message that you care enough to invest yourself personally in acknowledging another.”
We don’t save email or text thank you messages. And in crowded inboxes, it’s not uncommon for people to miss them, or mistake them for spam. To the contrary, Senning writes:
“A mailed note is seen again and again on a desk or counter. Would you rather your thanks be remembered or deleted?”
We’re all busy, but an employee thank you note doesn’t have to be long and newsy, like a letter. In fact it shouldn’t.
“Few who sit down to write a bread-and-butter note are likely to be aware that by doing so they are not only on trend but also on their way to becoming happier and more sociable people,” he writes.
He shares thoughts from business heavyweights on the importance of handwritten thank you notes for employees, clients and customers.
- Cristiano Magni, New York fashion publicist–“It is so important, in a digital world, to have the dignity to sit down and write something in your own hand. It not only strengthens the bonds between people, in your personal life and in business, it also rings an emotional chord.”
- Martin Nowak, director of Harvard University’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, believes thanking is a form of cooperative reciprocity with roots in primate behavior.
- What people want, said Liz Quinn, the owner of Stationer on Sunrise in Palm Beach, Fla., is to draw a distinction between the tossed-off, compressed nature of electronic messages and a form of ritualized communication that gives material evidence “that the person really did appreciate something.”
- Heather Wiese, owner of Dallas luxury stationer Bell’Invito–“If you want to stand out, to be more polished, probably the easiest thing you can do is write that thank-you note. Social media, texting and email are all completely relevant. But if after I’ve put my effort forward to interview a potential employee what I get is an email that looks exactly like 200 others, I may miss it.”
As Senning sums it up:
“Handwritten notes still have a personality, warmth and, when needed, gravitas that computer screens don’t. And questions of appropriateness aside, people still enjoy opening them. More than anything, that tells me they have lasting value. So, send a little joy someone’s way!”
If you want employees to feel valued and appreciated, nothing beats a thoughtful handwritten thank you note for a job well done or extraordinary effort. It’s a keep sake and a lasting source of pride. Deliver your thank you notes in person with a handshake, big smile and sincere gratitude to show you really care.
For more on building a culture of happiness and gratitude, download our FREE ebook, “Winning with Workplace Gratitude”.
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