Benefits of Saying More Thank You at Workplace

Benefits of Saying More Thank You at Workplace

By Alf Nathoo BA, Msc(FM), MBIFM, FMCMI, MBIC

Saying Thank You more often at workplace can have powerful impact according to Francesca Gino from Harvard Business School and Adam Grant from Wharton School. Their studies show that workplace is the least thankful part of our lives and we are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else. 5o% will say thank you on a daily basis to people close to them but only 15% will say thank you at the workplace. Only 35% of their study respondents said that their managers say thank you to them.

So why don’t we do it enough at workplace? Often expressing this simple gratitude suggests that we are in a vulnerable position, not able to solve our own problem and having to rely on others to help us. Often managers see the effort of their staff as their job responsibility and certain level effort is expected. Even when gratitude is given, it is often received with some cynicism especially at company events like employee of the month or annual thank you speeches. There is a sense of lack of genuine, specific and sincere appreciation at these events.

Studies by Gino and Grant show that by saying thank you more often at workplace encourages prosocial behaviour that improves cooperation. Through series of creative experiments, the authors confirm that saying thank you to someone helps improve their sense of value and shows positive recognition of their contribution. Their study also showed that the person receiving the genuine expression of gratitude would be 67% more likely to go the extra mile to help and contribute again. One of their field study showed an increase of 50% in calls fund raisers made in a week on receiving a simple expression of gratitude from their supervisor and their contribution to the fund raising cause was recognised. There is also benefit to the person expressing gratitude. It improves their positive experience, help them cope with stressful situation, increases their resilience in face of challenges, and strengthens their social relationships.

FM is a diverse and a stressful organization service function. It very often demands much more of our staff from long hours to sacrificing weekends to complete a project or attend to emergencies. Today’s working culture tends to be frenzied and large number of employees feel under-appreciated, frustrated at work with strained relationships with managers, colleagues, staff and service providers. This results in culturally ingrained circle of ingratitude, which can have a terrible effect on workplace morale and cohesion. This study shows that saying thank you at workplace more often, consistently and authentically has no financial cost but has significant benefits from simply saying two words, Thank You!

What can we do:

  1. Look for opportunities to say thank you. Do it authentically by identifying the specific action or contribution you want to praise and its impact.
  2. Thank people who never get thanked; your cleaners, security guards, drivers, tea person…
  3. Appreciation is as good motivator. Find different ways of saying thank you to your colleagues and users. A hand written thank you note is a powerful message.
  4. And don’t forget to say thank you to your supervisor or manager!