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Ellen Gilliam

I agree with Sean Whitlock...make sure the expressions of thanks are genuine and delivered with sincerity. Nothing feels more hollow than one of those canned 'valued employee' messages delivered with a 'call center courtesy' tone...Make an effort. Keep it simple and direct. Avoid platitudes.


It's not just employees who deserve thank yous. It's also customers. I've made it a regular habit to write thank you notes at the end of each week to customers who have written thank you notes on Twitter and Facebook. The results are downright amazing.

Derek Irvine, Globoforce

Great post, Bob. People want to know their work is meaningful and has a purpose. How do we know that? When somebody else acknowledges our work and appreciates the effort.


Hi Bob,

Agreed -- and I think that thank-yous have become even more important in our current economy. CareerBuilder's mid-year forecast showed that 29 percent of employees have a worse opinion of their employer in the wake of the recession, and many plan to look for new jobs once the economy improves.

Thank-yous and recognition are vital, but many bosses have lost focus of that. It's important for them to keep morale in mind and consider that it doesn't take much time to thank employees, but it can make a huge difference in their outlook and job satisfaction.

Cool Nanni

I worked at a career college where the campus president's office was next to the Admissions Reps cubicles. The ARs wore name tags, enrolled students daily and kept the business running yet this "leader" rarely acknowledged us my name. He often spoke about his experience and successes as a former AR. He thanked us regularly for outperforming other campuses but only acknowledged his top performers. Leaders should make it a regular practice to say "thank you" and also make it a priority to know their staff and acknowledge them individually.
While top performers are essential to the success of the business, average performers will NEVER realize their potential if you consistently ignore them!!

Kathleen A. Paris, Ph.D.

Thank you, Bob, for providing the research to support the power of expressing appreciation. I have compiled a list of ways to say thank you at work at

Cord Himelstein

I recently came across an article that caught my eye called “Ask the Gen Y Expert: How Can I Get Recognized for My Hard Work?” In the article a junior assistant at a PR firm asks the “Gen Y expert” how she can get her boss to praise her for her good work. How does she know her work is good? Because her suggestions end up in reports, she is invited to high-level meetings, and she is kept in the loop on important projects. Many of you reading this might now might be asking, “So…what’s the problem here?”


Agreed. The power of a simple thank you cannot be under estimated in all aspects of business, even marketing --


William Cunningham

Mr. Sutton,

Too often have I worked in a company that either did not thank its employees or publicly thanked only select departments. Not only was this demoralizing, but it caused those of us that overworked ourselves in order to maintain smooth operations, working through breaks and lunch hours in order to complete tasks in a timely manner, to begin losing job satisfaction. I used to pick up additional work even when I already had several assignments in order to keep managers and fellow employees content, but the lack of any sort of gesture of appreciation from management has been a deterrent for going above-and-beyond the line of duty. It's truly a shame that such a simple concept can be overlooked so often. Could it perhaps be that the managers in question have never held a position below the role of management, and therefore never felt the need to be thanked? It's hard for me to believe that, as even as a manager, someone else is probably still managing you.

I agree wholeheartedly with your post. The workplace would be a much better place if all managers realized the importance of saying "thanks".

Oren Hovemann

Bob -
I fully agree with you. I think the smallest thank you's and simple gestures will not only maintain and boost employee morale, but will also be reflected on the public perception and success of a company. I believe an employees attitude is strongly influenced and often a reflection of their supervisor. In general, an employee will put as much effort into a project as their boss would. If a boss always adds that extra effort, their employees will treat that as the norm. A boss brightening their employees day with a small thank you, will cause the employee to pass that friendliness along to a customer or a colleague. If companies could get all of their supervisors on board with this extra effort, friendly movement, I believe it would quickly effect the image and success of that company.

Derak Berreyesa

A "Thank you" is such a powerful thing. From the time we are taught it as children, to using it in a professional environment as a manager. It is often underestimated and overlooked. As Roche commented, "Followup thank you emails are also a must." This is so true and necessary, the same way that thank you cards are so important. Someone knowing (not hoping) that they were appreciated is moralizing and feels good. It is positive reinforcement that makes them want to continue the actions they received thanks for. I have first hand experience with this as an employee who often received thanks from my boss. I found it very empowering, knowing that my actions were not only recognized, but that they were appreciated. I wasn't quite able to pinpoint that at the time, but looking back at it now I can see how very true this is.

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Like a little leakage from a tiny hole of a dam lets the dam break, the effects of "Thanks" can accumulate, and finally move our mind. This reminds us that people can have different feelings owing to trivial expressions or words. Most of people get angry at trifles. Those trifles spark off big troubles. Think about the reason why we fight against each other.


Sean Whitlock

Mr. Sutton,
Thank you for that posting. Being a manger myself, simple gestures such as “thank you’s”, are really easy to forget in the day-to-day workplace. So often we (I) get stuck in the employee/ employer mentality and focus on the logistics instead of the psychology that really make people work better, happier and probably more efficient.
I’ve found that little gestures, like asking how an employee’s family is doing, or remembering one of their children’s birthdays, goes an incredibly long way. As you referred to in your blog, it makes the employee feel like they aren’t just a cog in a large machine, but part of a team. In my experience, you see these results of the action immediately and their effects usually last.Unfortunately, I (and a lot of others in management positions) don’t do it often enough. It’s something that we have to make a conscious effort to do and, more importantly, to be genuine about it. Being an employee as well, I know you can see right through an insincere gesture from your boss.

With all of the studies and literature about workplace psychology, it’s nice to read that good old-fashioned courteousness can still be an effective management tool in today’s workplace.

M. Smith Roche

You are so right. A simple thanks goes along way to deepening relationships. Followup thank you emails are also a must.

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