From the moment we spoke our first words, there are two things we were constantly being reminded to say: “please” and “thank you.” These two words are the cornerstone of polite behavior for good reason: they make the person we are talking to feel valued.
Strangely though, there are times when this sense of appreciation falls by the wayside, and frequently it happens at work. Which is a shame, because if there’s any place where we should be mindful of the contributions of others, work is it. Work is where we spend more than a third of our day, pour our most meaningful productive efforts, and earn our livelihoods.
Saying thanks at work isn’t just good manners, it’s good for the soul—and your companies bottom line. With this in mind, here are 4 reasons to do it more often:
1) It costs nothing (amazing ROI)
Saying thank you is completely, totally free. The only thing it requires is the mental presence to recognize someone’s effort and time. In return, you’re maintaining and improving a relationship with someone who holds a stake in your work and is likely a pretty swell individual themselves. Say thanks, open a dialogue, build rapport. Wins all around.
2) It motivates better than money
One of the great ironies of financial incentives is that they only work as intended up to a certain point. Past that point, increasing the reward actually has a harmful effect on the quality of output. Fifty-one separate studies have found consistent results: “overwhelming evidence that these incentives may reduce an employee's natural inclination to complete a task and derive pleasure from doing so.”
So if money doesn’t necessarily motivate, what does? You guessed it: recognition and appreciation. An IBM study found that employees who feel valued and whose contributions are recognized are twice as likely than average to go the extra mile by putting in more “discretionary effort” into their work. Put another way, a heartfelt word of appreciation can do more to motivate someone than a bonus or a pay bump. It just goes to show that saying thanks is a cheaper and more effective way of getting the most out of your team.
3) You’re encouraging good outcomes
Imagine you just spent significant energy shipping a project to meet someone else’s deadline and they didn’t say thanks. How stoked would you be to do it again next time? Showing gratitude builds good karma. As a manager, simple acknowledgment of hard work can make all the difference the next time help is needed. What’s more is that appreciating someone also makes them more likely to appreciate you, which is the type of reciprocity that, when repeated often enough, can help set the foundation of a positive company culture.
4) Anything less sends a poor message
Just as saying thanks is a healthy habit to create great work culture, not saying thanks is a habit that encourages a toxic one. Corporate culture is created from the top down. As a manager, you lead by example, and forgoing proper recognition for someone who deserves it is a poor example to set.
The descent into poor workplace culture is a slippery slope, so don’t let it start with unrecognized accomplishments and effort. Install Disco and make sure every job well done gets the recognition it deserves.