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Why is saying thank you to coworkers important?
The workplace can be thankless, but it's always important to thank your coworkers. Saying thank you to coworkers is good for business and makes people more productive. As Dr. Neel Burton with Psychology Today puts it, “gratitude connects people in a mutually supportive and sustaining mesh of social relationships.” What could be better than that for the workplace?
Saying thank you to a colleague can keep them happy and engaged. If they feel appreciated, they are more likely to stick with an organization or contribute their best work for the company.
People who feel unappreciated tend to start looking elsewhere, so companies need employee recognition strategies in place to build up loyal employees. Many companies have an employee recognition program in place to thank employees, celebrate a work anniversary, send a birthday wish, organize a small birthday party, or work with the entire team to send a retirement gift to a good colleague.
If workers feel like part of a team where everyone looks out for each other, there is usually less turnover at that company. Turnover costs organizations some serious money because new hires don't come cheap! The first few weeks on the job are spent making a new person feel comfortable and training them so the actual cost of a new hire is more than just salary.
Happy employees contribute to company culture, which can influence business outcomes. This includes things like how well employees collaborate on projects and if their jobs are satisfying for them or not. Company culture isn't just about perks that companies provide, it's also about how employees behave with each other. An employee who feels appreciated will thank others around them, whether through email, with a small thoughtful gift, thank you notes, or high fives at work celebrations, because they know that the feeling goes both ways! Businesses need thank you strategies in place to ensure they get feedback from bosses and peers regularly too.
4 benefits of saying thank you to coworkers
Saying “thank you” to your coworkers is a sign of gratitude and respect for their contributions, and it can help strengthen relationships within your company. There are many benefits to saying thank you to coworkers.
Some benefits of thanking your coworkers include:
- Encouragement: When you show that you care about someone who has helped or supported you, it encourages them to keep helping and supporting the group. People like seeing their efforts reflected in positive feedback from people around them.
- Strengthened relationships: By thanking those who make valuable contributions, people will feel like they belong and be more likely to reach out and support others as well. This type of communication helps create an environment where people collaborate rather than compete.
- Trust: Building trust is essential to collaboration, and by showing appreciation for your coworkers, you are establishing the foundation of a functional professional relationship. When there is mutual respect, people are more likely to share ideas and be more engaged. A study shared by the Harvard Business Review reports that people who worked at an organization they trusted were 76% more engaged at work.
- Unified vision: As the group works together to achieve their goals, gratitude helps everyone stay focused on moving forward. With an established sense of camaraderie, people will put in the effort needed to keep things running smoothly throughout their workday.
5 tips for saying thank you to coworkers
Even when you want to say thank you, sometimes it’s hard to know how to say thank you to coworkers. We have some tips of common practices that can help increase the effectiveness of an appreciation message:
- Personalize your message: Just because someone helped out on a project does not mean you have to thank them in the same way as everyone else. If possible, try sending a handwritten card or thank you email to coworkers instead of using social media or group chats.
- Be specific: Saying "thank you" is not enough when it comes to expressing gratitude. Try to mention exactly what they did and how it benefited everyone by including details. If there was a project that would have been an utter failure if it wasn't for one person, make sure to point out specifically who stepped up and what they did. This can be done in a simple sentence like, "If not for your hard work on the Smith project, it would've hit major roadblocks.”
- Follow up with related information: Don't just end things after thanking people. Consider adding any other useful information that could help make a positive difference in their lives. For example, you could mention any tools or resources that helped you get the job done.
- Be sincere: Praise them without bragging about yourself. Don't make an effort to take more credit than you deserve by making your coworker's accomplishments seem small or insignificant. Instead, let them know that their actions have made a difference and that their efforts are noticed. Admitting that you have flaws is just as important as recognizing others' strengths/talents because it shows humility and makes everyone feel comfortable around one another.
- Keep it short and sweet: While it is important to be sincere with your gratitude, staying on the topic can help keep people focused on what's being said. Long-winded explanations often distract from the main message, so try sticking to three or four sentences at most.
6 tips for saying thank you to remote coworkers
Don’t forget to say thank you to your coworkers you don’t see in the office every day! Here are some tips for saying thank you to remote coworkers:
- When you do thank someone, remember to say their name and show enthusiasm.
- You can also give a roundabout thank you to a group of coworkers by starting with "I want to extend my thanks on behalf of the team..."
- Remember that they're not in the same room as you and your coworkers, so it's helpful for them to know who said what when you and your colleagues are thanking them as a group.
- Thank remote coworkers for a specific task they did. For example, "Thanks for your last email update! It was very informative and it helped me understand what was going on more clearly."
- Use technology to your advantage! If you have a chat room or online collaboration tools, use them to express your gratitude.
- You can also thank them for being a part of an ongoing project. "I want to thank you for your help with the project!"
6 ideas for small and medium businesses to say thank you to coworkers
If you own or run a small or medium-sized business, it is vital that your employees feel good about being part of your business. This means that you need to focus on showing your coworkers appreciation as much as possible. One way of showing appreciation is by giving certificates and awards. And one good way of making sure your coworkers feel appreciated is by thanking them for all their hard work and efforts.
One of the benefits of working at a smaller business is that you can be more personal with your thank-yous. Here are some ideas of how you can say thank you to coworkers at a small or medium-sized business:
- Handwritten thank you cards: Thanks to technology, handwritten thank you cards are no longer the only way to say thanks and show appreciation for coworkers in a small business. However, nothing beats a personally handwritten thank you card. If you don’t have time to write them yourself, you can use services such as Letter Friend to write the handwritten thank you notes for you.
- Lunch together: A fun way of thanking your employees is by taking them out with you for lunch. This way you get to know each other better and bond more.
- Give thanks in your newsletter or on your blog: Thank people in your blog or even include a picture of them with their name included in the newsletter that goes out to clients and customers.
- Let them know about your successes as a team: When your business succeeds, make sure to thank everyone that was involved in the success. Coworkers will feel happy to be part of something successful and you can also use this as a way of motivating people to work harder for future successes because they know that their work is appreciated.
- Gifts of appreciation: A fun way to say thank you to your employees is by giving them something nice as an expression of your heartfelt gratitude. This could be a gift card, flowers, or some other small gift that shows how much you appreciate working with them and their efforts in helping the company succeed. The best types of gifts are unique and handmade, so don't just settle for the first thing you find in a store. You can be creative and make something by yourself or with your team as a way to say thank you. On the flip side of the coin, don’t forget to send a thank you when your coworkers give you a gift!
- Write a letter: If you have been working with someone for a long time, writing them a thank you letter from the heart is a good way of showing how much you care. They can keep the letter as a souvenir of your time together and it will make them feel appreciated and valued as an employee.
5 ideas for large businesses and organizations to say thank you to coworkers
Personal thank-yous to coworkers can be a little bit harder for large businesses and organizations. A simple card might not sum up how much an organization values its members. If you're looking for a way to thank your coworker at a large business or organization, here are some ideas that might help:
- Appreciation luncheon: Organizations can hold appreciation luncheons for their coworkers to say thank you in person. The lunch can be catered by an outside company or even the company cafeteria, depending on how much time the organization wants to spend on this event. At the meeting, thank your coworker by name and share what they've done that you're particularly thankful for. If work is stressful, set the tone by apologizing in advance for anything that might have happened during any event that caused stress or conflict.
- Surprise celebration: If an organization wants to do something different, they can hold a surprise celebration where another coworker is invited up to give a speech thanking someone else in the organization. The speech can be from a prepared text or notes. This way, an organization can say thank you to their coworkers without worrying about who they're thanking and how often. Just having another coworker thank someone else sets a tone of appreciation for everyone attending the meeting.
- Monthly thank you email: Many organizations have begun using email to stay connected and communicate with coworkers. For example, the sales force might send a monthly thank you email to an organization thanking them for their work throughout the month. The email can contain some facts and figures about how many sales were made or what areas of business did well that month. This will reinforce that an organization cares about its people, not just the results.
- Pizza party: Sometimes saying thank you just means buying some pizza for your coworkers. When it comes to thanking employees in a large business or organization, sometimes it's best to keep things simple and inexpensive (but still genuine). The best way to do this is by calling up a pizzeria in the area and ordering a large number of pizzas. The pizzeria might even deliver it for free if enough pizzas are ordered.
- Reward point system: Some organizations use a reward point system where an employee can earn points by doing something good, and then they can spend those points on things like raffle prizes or pizza parties. This is a great way to say thank you because it's not just saying it and moving on, but also giving them something physical that they can enjoy like a free lunch. There are even apps, such as Kazoo, that can help out with this.
6 strategies for saying thank you to coworkers
There are opportunities to show your appreciation, you just have to be mindful! Here are some strategies for saying thank you to coworkers:
- Look for the good: Keep an eye out for anything deserving of thanks. Catch a coworker doing a good deed! If you notice your coworker helping another employee, say thank you. If you notice a coworker going out of their way to do something thoughtful, say thank you.
- Be considerate: If you know a coworker is having a hard day, send them an encouraging email or tell them in person how much they mean to the organization. This will take your coworker by surprise - and remind them how much they mean to the organization.
- Know your coworker's strengths and weaknesses: Say thank you for times you see them doing the work they are best at. Don't forget to thank coworkers for their efforts even if they didn't get the result they were hoping for. Try not to be too general or vague - it's hard to stand out that way!
- Go the extra mile: Say thank you by taking on your coworker's least favorite task or offering to help them finish their work before they start theirs.
- Don't wait for thanks: If someone does something nice for you, say thanks first and don't wait to hear from them for something you did to help them.
- Don't procrastinate: People who have passed away or moved on to other organizations are harder to thank. Be sure you've taken the time to express your thanks for contributions that have made a difference. When you are leaving a job, this is another great time to say thank you before it’s too late.
Software for saying thank you to coworkers
Technology can make it easier to send a note of thanks, both digitally and physically. The following software can be used to say thank you to coworkers:
- Gifpop: Make a unique pop-up card. Use Gifpop to make personalized pop-up thank you cards. Add photos, drawings, text, or anything you want!
- Touchnote: This app allows you to create a thank you card and then they will stamp and mail it for you!
- Matter: This is a free app that integrates with Slack. You can send digital thank you notes to coworkers as well as offering praise and kudos. This app makes it easy to do so on a platform that you’re probably already using!
Whether your thank you note is sent digitally or you take the time to write a handwritten thank-you note, your coworkers will appreciate the effort. There is always something to be grateful for!