Two of the most important words in your vocabulary

In: BlogDate: Apr 19, 2017By: Henry Stewart

“Thank you.”
These simple words are two of the most important in your vocabulary. But when was the last time that you said “thank you” to a colleague?

Somehow, gratitude is easily forgotten in our busy lives, but that makes it more important than ever. It is so important to make the time to appreciate your colleagues, just as you (hopefully!) would with family and friends. It’s important to acknowledge when someone helps you or does a good job – it’s a sign of respect, it makes them feel good, and shows that what they did was noticed and made a difference. Plus, it’s contagious – they are then more likely to thank someone else for their hard work, contributing to a much more positive and happy atmosphere.

A recent study by the University of Melbourne has even found that expressing gratitude to colleagues has a huge impact on employee well-being and job satisfaction. When managers show regular gratitude to their team, burnout is less common. Another recent study by Bersin and Associates has shown the importance of saying “thank you” in the workplace – companies that excel at employee recognition are 12 times more likely to enjoy strong business results.

At Happy, we had our twice yearly Happy Day on 19th November 2017. This is a day when all members of the team get together to catch up with what we’ve been doing, have some team training – and have a bit of fun too!

At the end of a busy day discussing Happy’s finances, our values and our new Instagram account, we then each were given an A3 piece of paper. On each we wrote our names at the top then went around the room writing on each piece of paper what we like and appreciate about that person. At the end of the session, everyone went away with a huge sheet of paper full of positivity and a huge boost to their self-esteem – you can see everyone with their pieces of paper in the photo above!

This is similar to an idea that my local hairdressers, SMN Hair, had earlier this year.

There are four members of staff at the salon, and on four balloons they all wrote what they like most about each other. The balloons are now in the salon, as a boost when they are having a tough day.

It really makes for a lovely piece that staff members can look at and feel good whenever they need a quick ‘pick me up’ – and isn’t it so much more personal to see handwritten comments rather than an email?

Earlier this year, Happy introduced ‘gratitude cards’. If you would like to thank a member of the team for their help or support (or anything else), rather than sending an email or waiting until their peer appraisal to appreciate them, you can complete a gratitude card and give it to them. We have these gratitude cards at the back of the office that have “thank you,” “great job,” and “congratulations,” and space underneath to write a few lines to thank and appreciate someone in the office. Our Managing Director, Cathy, used something similar at the end of a team training day and as they were so popular, she rolled them out to the rest of the company. The only requirements are that the person writing the card must be specific with their feedback and what the person has done, and they must ‘own’ the feedback by signing their name at the bottom.

It’s a really simple idea – and one that you can easily implement in your own workplace. ‘Thank you’ notecards and postcards are easy to find online, or you could use blank postcards.

Why not challenge yourself to say “thank you” every day to a colleague who has helped or supported you – and what could your team do to create a culture of gratitude?

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Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer

Henry is founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd. Following a fairly disastrous job early on in his career, Henry was determined to discover what enabled a productive and happy workplace. In 1987 Henry set up what was originally called Happy Computers. Inspired by Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick, he built a company with a reputation for some of the best customer service in the country and one of the UK’s best places to work, winning multiple awards for its culture and philosophy. His book, the Happy Manifesto, was published by in 2013.

Outside of work he is a father of three, Chair of Governors at his local comprehensive in Hackney and a keen cyclist.

You can find Henry on LinkedIn and follow @happyhenry on Twitter.

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