January and welcome to National Thank You month.
While etiquette professionals and books promote the idea of sending
out Thank You Notes,
don’t neglect the behavior of saying thank you too.
They have designated January as National Thank You Month.
This might have originated from the greeting card industry because of
receiving gifts following the Christmas holidays and they want you to buy their
printed cards. I know my wife and I dutifully sat down on the last Sunday in
December and wrote our Thank You notes
to our children. It is a lovely reflective time to treasure and remember what
we have received.
Learn to make saying or expressing thanks to those around you more
a way of life beyond this designated month.
Some of us have a hard time recognizing those
around us and especially people we associate with at work.
Historically, people have viewed
recognition as a top-down behavior where managers and leaders started
recognizing employees who reported to them. This likely originated from the
military where senior officers presented medals as awards for specific service
or achievement in military campaigns.
With the reduced hierarchy in organizations
leading to a reduction in middle managers along with online recognition
programs accessible by all employees, they have emancipated the source of who
Recognition is no longer constrained by a
person’s position or title and should be multi-directional.
But there can still be a bias or perception of
who should give recognition. So besides considering who should give
recognition, what about in the other direction? This raises the question whether
some people at different levels of position are harder to recognize that others
As far as work and Thanksgiving is concerned, everyone will be more excited to leave work to be with family and friends than be thankful for work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be more grateful for the jobs and careers we have. Our challenge is knowing what we each can do to create a more Thanksgiving attitude at work. Check out these Top 10 ideas to shed some light on this idea.
1. Create meaningful work opportunities. In a recent American Management Association (AMA) survey they asked what people are thankful for at work and the highest ranked item is “the professional satisfaction it provides me.” Check in regularly with employees to learn what could make their work more energizing.
2. Encourage positive work relationships. Next on the AMA list was, understandably, one’s coworkers. Often we stop people from communicating and forming friendships at work. Even the Gallup Q12 measures having a best friend at work. Orchestrate opportunities to have fun, break bread, exercise, play and celebrate together.
3. Make sure each “Boss” is a good one. Never take this for granted because a great boss appreciates and values employees. A bad boss can kill them. Working for an uncivil, toxic boss increases the risk of a heart attack by 17% and increases the likelihood of a stroke by 33%. Stop bad boss behavior immediately.
4. Gratitude is even good for you. Well-deserved thanks and expressions of appreciation make an impact on people’s health. The Institute of Heart Math found Individuals who received appreciation and gratitude had greater harmony in their heart rhythms. Don’t think they are just doing their jobs – THANK THEM!
5. Cut out saying negative things to people – period. In high performing teams researchers found the ratio of positive to negative statements directed from manager to team members was 5.6 to 1.These managers gave 5 times more positive statements than negative. Watch your mouth and be more positive!
6. Develop relationships versus “engaging” employees. When we get romantically involved with someone we build a relationship first before popping the engagement question. Same thing at work – focus on the relationships between people. Look at building a person up and connecting with them.
7. Use emails and social media to be social. We are becoming a cryptic, impersonal society in how we communicate in any form of written text. Use the polite social graces of writing “please” and “Thank you so much! I am really grateful.” Not only will you make people feel good they will more likely help you.
8. When you have a good boss, thank them. Here’s an interesting thought from the John Templeton Foundation Study on Gratitude. They found 74% of people never or rarely express gratitude to their boss. Yet they want their boss to express gratitude to them. Start emulating the actions you want given to you.
9. Never give a gift or an award alone. No matter what tangible form of appreciation you might give someone, always add a card or note to share your feelings and thoughts for the person. Specifically acknowledge the employee for what they have done and share your heartfelt appreciation for their contributions.
10. Start things right with giving thanks. Begin each day with sending out an email of gratitude to someone who has made a difference to you. Put praise and acknowledgments at the beginning of each meeting agenda and have people share the great things happening. If you start right, you will end right.
recognition is not hard to do. But recognizing those you meet and work with
should not be treated so glibly that it is thoughtlessly done.
The words you
use to verbally express your appreciation or use in your written or digital
thank you notes, need to be done with care and consideration. Put more time
into thinking about what you will say and realize the impact it will have on
following ideas closely to pick up on ways your vocabulary choice and phrasing
of recognition could change.
raise the concern that to expect their managers to recognize their employees is
too much on top of everything else they are doing.
it is employees or associates who provide the goods and services that produce
satisfied customers, appreciating your people is the very least you can do.
What they need
to do is to raise managers’ level of intrinsic motivation for recognizing,
praising, and rewarding staff, so they can become proficient at giving
recognition and willing to do so every chance they get.
One way for
people to give better and more meaningful recognition is to first find out what
is meaningful to each of their employees.
I will review
with your key ways to teach and help supervisors and managers to practice this
When you get
involved in a specific discipline and area of practice like employee
recognition, you end up grappling with how to define things that fit your frame
At the same time
you hope you can engage others is seeing things as you do and accepting the
definitions you develop.
Such was the
case with defining recognition when I first began speaking and training on the
topic in the mid-nineties.
industrial company in Canada invited me to meet with them because they had just
reviewed their employee engagement survey results. As is often the case, the
responses to the questions addressing employee recognition were not so good.
first consultative meeting together I asked the leaders responsible for
employee recognition what they were doing regarding recognizing employees.
Following hearing about their existing programs and their total rewards
strategy, I asked them if what they were doing was real recognition.
That’s when one of them sincerely asked me, what is “real recognition”?
All of us are
striving to help people in our organizations feel valued and appreciated for
their contributions and for who they are. We’re also tasked with showing
everyone how to give more effective and meaningful recognition face-to-face and
with using our online recognition programs.
And the only way
we know how well we are doing is by measuring the outputs of recognition
through our recognition programs and through employee perceptions on
recognition received through engagement surveys.
But is there
another way that you can refocus what you measure that will lead to more
have always been a big advocate of the fact that it’s the quality of your
recognition that makes it a big deal.
and time again, I have witnessed how when you put more of a personal touch into
the recognition and rewards you give, the more meaningful and effective the
effect will be on the recipient and on their performance.
have summed this principle up before by saying, when you give people
recognition you don’t have to give them a reward; when you give people a
reward, you must always accompany it with recognition.
I have a social science experiment to share with you that validates this