Magical words that motivate your employees

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Paul Downey

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Paul Downey

Thank you. Those are two of the most powerful words in the English language. Magical words in fact. Especially when paired with please. The words evoke emotion. Appreciation, value, pride, and gratefulness are a few that spring quickly to mind.

A thank you can also be a great motivator. Kind of like telling your dog he is a good boy. My husband and I have a Belgian Malinois named Gibbs. Yes, he is named after the character Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS. It’s my husband’s favorite TV show. Our dog Gibbs is not only motivated by treats and toys, he wags his tail most vigorously when told he is a good boy.

Yet dogs aren’t the only ones motivated by praise. So are your employees. Yes, they are paid to do their jobs and you might think that’s praise enough. Your company may even award year-end bonuses or trips when employees reach goals. But neither pay nor tangible extras by themselves are enough. Employees are also strongly motivated by the two magic words, thank you.

Studies show that thanking employees boosts productivity. Sixty-seven percent of employees are motivated by praise from a manager. Seventy-eight percent say they would work harder if their efforts were recognized. Sadly, 65 percent of employees say they receive no praise or recognition on the job and 60 percent of employees who don’t get appreciation are actively looking for new jobs. This blog from jobscience contains a great illustrative graphic of these statistics and great thank you reward ideas such as flex time, free food Fridays, VIP parking, or even something as simple as a thank you note.

If you think it would be too much work to write a thank you note to your employees, think again. Geil Browning tells you how to thank your employees in only eight words. But wait, there’s more. Susan Heathfield shares 40 ways to say thank you at work.

I challenge you to take a few moments out of your daily routine to recognize at least one employee each day by simply saying thank you. See what type of response you get and how workplace behavior changes. Then report back here so others can benefit from your experience. I’ll be really surprised if you don’t quickly see positive results and increased productivity.

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About Delora Newton

Delora Newton is the Vice President, Advocacy for the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. She has over 20 years of experience in state and local public policy advocacy and is passionate about building a business climate that supports economic growth and protects community assets. Follow her on Twitter: @Delora4Biz or G+

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