If You Haven't Thanked Your Employees Lately, Here's Why You Need to Start

Are you grateful for your employees? If your answer is ‘yes’, ask yourself: When’s the last time I showed it?

Carly Chalmers

Are you grateful for your employees? If your answer is ‘yes’, ask yourself: when was the last time I showed it?

When it comes to good management, gratefulness and humility are two qualities that don’t always sit top-of-mind with employers. However, they are one of the biggest factors when it comes to retaining employees and earning their respect. In fact, 35% of restaurant employees say they would like to get more recognition from employers (source).

Many employers believe that employees will stick with them by virtue of the fact that they’re being compensated for their work through paychecks and company benefits. Don’t make that mistake – read on to learn how far displays of gratitude can get you in the workplace.

The big benefits of saying "thank you" to employees

It’s weird to think that two simple words can have such a transformative effect on your business. But it’s true! Here are just a few changes you’ll see in your team:

Earned respect. There’s the basic respect that co-workers and managers expect, regardless of relationship. And then there’s the respect that comes with hard work, authenticity, and acknowledging the work of others. Regular displays of gratitude over time can earn you the latter from your team.

Increased productivity. You know that feeling when you work hard on something and you receive positive feedback? Thanking your employees regularly for their efforts will encourage and motivate them to continue going above and beyond.

A grateful culture. Work culture starts with management – if you’re taking time out of your day to recognize your employees for their achievements, chances are they’ll emulate the same behaviour with their co-workers and peers. They'll also tell their friends about the great place they work, bringing in referrals for your next hire.

Executing a genuine “thank you”

Saying “thank you” is easy – doing it in a way that shows authenticity and sincerity takes some thought. These tips will get you off to a great start:

Be specific. Generic compliments such as “thanks for your help” or “good job” are great, but will only get you so far. Being specific will show that you’ve been paying attention to their work – for example, “I really appreciate your initiative leading the cleanup last night – thanks for doing a great job!” or “Thanks for handling that difficult customer last night. I know it wasn’t easy, but you really kept your cool!”

Make it about them. One of the biggest mistakes that managers make when acknowledging their employees is shifting the focus on the complement to themselves. Instead of saying “thanks for staying late last night, it’s really going to help our sales this month”, acknowledge how their extra effort impacted them. For instance, “thanks for staying late last night, I know you have a lot on your plate with school and I really appreciate you taking the time to help the team out.”

Go beyond the milestones. If you’re saving up your compliments for their annual review, stop. It’s important for management to acknowledge the challenges their employees face along the way – providing encouragement regularly for the small, everyday tasks will keep your team motivated.

Having a positive workplace environment leads to increased staff happiness, more profits, and less turnover. Saying a simple "thank you" is a great place to start.