A recent report in HR Magazine by David Woods reported “Employers are failing to inspire their staff and make them feel valued, with only 21% of employees believing their company cares about its staff, according to a YouGov survey of over 1,000 workers, commissioned by performance consultancy, River Marketing.
The results don’t surprise me, although I think it’s a downright shame that people aren’t experiencing a greater sense of value from the workplace. People need to feel valued, and quite often there is a misconception that actually a simple “Thank you” will achieve just that.
How often have you heard someone say “Just a thank you would have been nice” or “it’s a thankless job” or words to that effect? In numerous employee feedback surveys I have seen results which deliver the verdict that employees don’t feel recognised. They don’t think the feedback they get is meaningful, or worse, they don’t get feedback at all. It’s an age old problem, which hasn’t changed significantly for the better certainly in my career span.
I have worked on a number of engagement strategies drilling down to why people aren’t engaged, and yes there are many reasons and many ways in which your business can help to better engage employees and reap all the benefits that such engagement brings. What has I think become a catchall in terms of a solution is the expectation that leaders and managers should say “Thank you”.
On the surface saying thank you seems obvious, and if you get a thank you from someone, mostly it’s welcomed. The trouble with giving managers a direction that they should thank their team or they should say thank you, is that it smacks of insincerity. It’s a little like the old school of good manners. Say thank you, no matter what, even if what you aren’t at all thankful for what you’ve received.
I wish when I was younger, my parents hadn’t just told me to say thank you. I wish they’d understood why fostering an attitude of gratitude and appreciation was much more important. Why? Because the feeling and the sincerity behind the words “Thank You” are the vital ingredients to reaching the right state where great things can happen, both at home and at work.
Now I am authentic enough to say thank you in context. So if I don’t like what someone has given me, for example the box of chocolates when I’ve just started my diet, or a report which bears no resemblance to what I asked for. I can at least thank people for the effort or the thought, which is much more honest than thanking them for the gift or the work which doesn’t actually fit the bill. I also know that I never say thank you without meaning it sincerely and appreciatively.
For great leaders and managers to say the words “Thank you” authentically, they may never actually utter those particular words. They may say thank you in a multitude of ways, but you can guarantee that the words do not matter when the underlying state of real gratitude or appreciation is present. When you are in that state, the rest just takes care of itself.
I have worked for some interesting people over the years. Some I’ve loved working for, some I haven’t. Some I’ve admired and appreciated, and again some I haven’t. The ones I remember are the ones that actually thanked me for my efforts. Mostly they didn’t say the words “thank you”. But here are some of the ways I knew they valued and appreciated me.
Some of those people aren’t actually here any longer. I wish I had realised their impact on me and on my way of life at the time, but I didn’t. But at least now I can silently say to them “Thank You” your input meant everything. And I actually mean it.
Who are you impacting on today? Do you feel gratitude and appreciation for your team, or your family, or whoever is helping you? What do you think? I’d love to hear from you
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