How often do you say ‘Thank You’ to your team?

You may have one or some of the following responses to that little provocation:

“What business is it of yours how often I say ‘Thank You’ to my people?”
“Why should I say ‘Thank You’? It’s their job dammit!”
“Erm… don’t really know…”

Let’s deal with those responses. If you really don’t think that how you treat your team is any of my business, I’m not sure what you’re doing reading this blog post. You might be better off elsewhere. But in case you’re still here, Zoomly is in the business of delivering highly-effective management skills development, in bite-sized chunks. So how you and several thousand other managers treat their people literally is my business. The best managers tend not to learn their skills entirely on the fly; they also get professional support. Helping managers get the best performance from their people is what most of Zoomly’s workshops are all about, and I couldn’t do what I do if it didn’t matter to me.

So why should you say ‘Thank You’? Because chances are you’re not saying it nearly anything like enough (especially if you don’t know how often you’re saying it). After all, who says ‘Thank You’ to you? And how often does it happen? It’s been both my experience and observation that the attitude of ‘it’s their job dammit’ is handed down from one generation of managers to another, and down the hierarchy all the way from the top to the career beginners at the bottom. Because others can’t be bothered, does that make it OK for you to skip saying ‘Thank You’? Not a bit.

The ‘it’s their job dammit’ attitude has a lot to answer for, not least a growing number of employees heading for the exit, as the impression their efforts go unnoticed prompts them to look elsewhere. Right now the job market is in their favour; the Office of National Statistics reports improving employment figures.

A recent report by Investors in People (IiP), ‘Job Exodus Trends’, polled 2000 UK employees, and almost half of them said they’d be considering a job move this year (that figure is higher in London, the West Midlands and Scotland). Of those looking around, 1 in 5 are doing so actively. A woeful 29% of employees are unhappy in their current roles (1 in 3: that’s a tragic statistic) and 38% of respondents feel they’ll be more valued by another employer.

What’s the biggest gripe? You may think it’s pay – which certainly makes it into the top three reasons for being unhappy at work – but you’d be wrong. 43% of employees give ‘poor management’ as the reason for their unhappiness, and 39% attributed their gloom to ‘not feeling valued’. Pay was the issue for 38%. To clarify: how you manage your people has more effect on their propensity to look for a new boss than what they’re paid. And good people going is bad for business.

What this means is that the IiP report’s recommendation, “The one thing (other than a pay rise!) that employers can do to increase overall happiness, is say ‘Thank You’ more” is essential if employers want to keep their best people. Not only that, it’s extremely cost-effective and, unlike pay rises, doesn’t need approval by the Board (who should be made to read the report IMHO).

Each and every manager has a duty and has it in their gift to say ‘Thank You’ to their team members and other colleagues every working day. Why not start making ‘Thank You’ a habit starting today? You may be pleasantly surprised by the effect it has.


Dawn is the author of ‘How to be Zoomly at work’, available on Amazon.

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