Corporate Courtesy Series: Appreciation at Work

Corporate Courtesy Series: Appreciation at Work

This post is the first of a series on “Corporate Courtesy” from Jay Conway, RDW Partner and man of sage wisdom.

I recently found a stat attributed to a study done by the John Templeton Foundation that 60% of respondents to a survey “said that they never express gratitude at work or do so only once a year.” And ironically, almost all who took the survey related “…that appreciation made them feel happier and more fulfilled.”

Saying “thanks.” Seems like it would be a pretty common gesture. Apparently that isn’t the case.

There are numerous websites offering guidance on how to express appreciation to business colleagues. And there are days set aside such as “National Bosses Day” observed on October 16 (if it’s a work day) and “Employee Appreciation Day,” which takes place on the first Friday of March. All are aimed at helping us show gratitude to our coworkers.

It seems to me, however, that expressing our appreciation on a job well-done, for help on a project, on staying late/coming in early/taking work home/giving up the weekend…for making the coffee…should be somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction. Something that comes naturally to us.

Sure, we’re all getting paid to do our jobs and one can argue that financial compensation is our “thanks.” But it’s human nature to want to be appreciated. No one wants to be taken for granted. We all like to be noticed.

It’s OK to thank your boss, your client, your employee, your vendor, your building maintenance crew, the mail room team. The CEO. It’s not a sign of weakness or subservience or pandering. It’s not inappropriate. It’s not politically incorrect. I truly believe that being gracious is a sign of self-confidence, though that’s not the premeditated reason for doing it.

There is no greater feeling than when one of our clients expresses their appreciation for our work, our service, our attention to detail; it makes us “feel happier.” And it motivates us. Well, I know it motivates me.

The other day, one of my colleagues asked me to take the lead on a drop-everything writing assignment that was due ASAP. It completely blew-up my “to do” list for that Monday. When I completed the work and sent it to my coworker, he ended his feedback with sincere appreciation for the effort and the expediency of the response. That was all I needed.

Showing appreciation is probably one of the biggest team-building and morale-boosting things we can do, day-in and day-out. And it’s so simple and easy. And if done sincerely, it is so impactful and so good for business.

For almost 45 years, Amica Insurance, which offers property, casualty and life insurance, has been sending Thanksgiving cards to their customers for the express purpose of thanking them for their business during the season dedicated to showing appreciation. The company commissions an original piece of art to adorn the card, and they have established a gallery at corporate headquarters that showcases the original work. A program designed to show appreciation. Think about that. And the positive signal it sends to their employees, many of whom I’m sure are customers.

Who are you going to thank today?

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