Valentines day is a day that lovers and spouses say “I love you.”  At times it is also a day of broken hearts and unmet expectations. One spouse or significant other forgets to get a card or small gift or forgets to say “I love you” and the other person’s feelings are hurt.  Often times the forgotten “gift” or words of endearment does not mean that the offender didn’t care…. only that they …”just forgot. ” Unfortunately no words of explanation will comfort the injured person’s thoughts. The injured party thinks that the offender just doesn’t care, and doesn’t appreciate them.

The same is true in the workplace.

When was the last time you said “thank you” or “I appreciate you and the work you do” to your employees, team members, or peers? In my work in creating corporate cultures where people like to work this is one key element of creating a synergistic culture. People need to feel appreciated at work! Often times Managers are hurting or offending their employees. The truth is managers do not need to spend money on elaborate gifts. And many times token gifts are not really appreciated by the receiver.  Token gifts to the receiver are like getting socks or underwear for a birthday gift.  And “employee of the month” programs don’t really work, because employees often feel that they were “next in line” or no real thought was given in the recognition.

Just like Valentines Day, the employee like the spouse or significant other who isn’t told they are appreciated soon begins to question the relationship. Let’s face it managers get very busy. And like the Valentine Day offender, no words of explanation will comfort the employee. In the workplace managers can start to see performance problems, and regression in productivity and work quality. Yet.. there is such a simple answer….

Just say ” Thank You.”

That is all it takes. Just say thank you or I appreciate your work. Or good job today. There is one important element to making the employee really happy. Be SPECIFIC in what you are thanking them for. For example: “Thank you for filling out these forms completely, that saves me time.” “Thank you for taking care of that difficult customer.” “Thank you for helping me brainstorm a solution to our shipping problem.”  Tell the employee what specifically he or she has done.  You will be surprised of the results of this practice. Good work that is appreciated gets repeated. Let me say that again….. Good work that is appreciated by you …the manager… gets repeated. On the reverse. Good work that is not appreciated… will start to decline. That could result in poor quality, increased time of completion, or increased cost.

It pays to say “Thank you”

Saying thank you should be a year long practice, not just  a once or twice a year occurrence.  Say thank you often… find something good to say every month, to every employee. You will be amazed at your results. By the way the same is true at home. When was the last time you thanked your spouse or significant other for taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, shoveling the sidewalk, cooking dinner, helping with the dishes, doing the grocery shopping. You will be amazed at the results.. even at home.

Try it, just say “Thanks”