September 17, 2019

Years Later, Employees Still Want a “Thank You!”

Years Later, Employees Still Want a “Thank You!”

The Thank-You note might not be trendy, but the meaning behind it never goes out of style.

A recent Reward Gateway survey showed that 3 out of 4 U.S. employees believe their motivation and morale would improve if their manager said “thank you” more. This number is up from a similar survey in 2017 with 70% of workers saying a thank-you would have the same effect.

This type of recognition is far from the once-a-year employee award event, where a Reward Gateway survey of 1,500 employees in the US., UK., and Australia said this type of recognition is inadequate and don’t feel that it’s timely and meaningful. Only 20% of employees surveyed in the U.S. said they preferred receiving recognition at a single event.

This doesn’t mean that we would cancel the annual event, but that we need to make employee recognition more strategic. There’s a reason employees are asking for more thank-yous. They want to be recognized for the hard work they do in a timely, consistent, fair, and meaningful way.

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Employees don’t want to wait a year to see if their hard work will be recognized or forgotten. They want in-the-moment recognition that is directly connected to the work they’re currently doing.

Employee Recognition should be consistent. Only providing Employee Recognition at an annual event might seem consistent with an occasion year after year, but it’s not frequent enough. Again, it’s about employees being able to connect the thank-you to the work they’re doing in real-time.

The survey also showed 45% of employees felt their manager unfairly rewards specific people over others. Strategically recognizing employees with a thank-you is a great way to build a strong relationship with their manager.

One-third of employees surveyed also believe the reward they receive doesn’t always reflect their hard work. Instead of just recognizing employees for years of service at an event, we should take time to provide them with meaningful recognition.

With billions spent annually on employee recognition initiatives, it only makes sense to make sure these dollars are spent strategically.

A simple thank-you gives employees the recognition they crave to be motivated at work. Done correctly, recognition should give workers respect for the work they do, connect their jobs to the larger organization with a purpose, and help build an essential relationship with their manager.

Technology has changed the way we work. But it hasn’t changed what drives us internally to be motivated and engaged. Through strategic recognition, we can make sure employees are getting the respect, purpose, and relationships they crave at work.

Employees aren’t asking for the world with the simple request to say “thank you”. They are asking managers to spend a little time and dedication to strategically recognizing them on a personal and human level. To do this, we need to bring the thank-you note back in style. Employees are requesting it.

By taking a few minutes each week, managers can deliver on their employees’ request to be appreciated for their hard work and give them the thank-you they deserve.

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Robert Hicks

Robert Hicks is the Group HR Director at Reward Gateway. With the support of his People Team, he is responsible for Reward Gateway people worldwide. He oversees learning and development, diversity and inclusion, people operations, internal communications, and recruitment. He brings his expertise to Reward Gateway following his time working in companies all sizes from small tech start-ups to companies with a staff of 200,000.

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