Research shows that when we thank other people it makes us feel better – possibly even altering our body chemistry. We also know that teams and organizations that excel at building a culture of appreciation have higher engagement rates with happier employees – the key is to make sure we all remember to thank one another consistently!
And not just at work – remembering to thank our spouses children, and friends is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to improve our own happiness levels, strengthen bonds and build trust.
Here are 10 ideas to help you build some thankful habits:
1. Start each day with five coins in one pocket. Each time you sincerely thank someone for a specific reason, shift a coin to your other pocket. Make it a goal to end each day with all five coins shifted over your pockets as a way to ensure you connect with at least five people each day.
2. Schedule it. Set aside five minutes at the start of every day to write one hand-written thank-you note to someone. In this age of texting and tweeting, handwritten thank-you notes are one of the most underutilised, yet still most impactful, forms of appreciation there is.
3. Make it easy: Have a stack of small thank-you notes or thank-you stickers for your kids readily available.
4. Add a "shout out" component to every meeting agenda, team huddle or even family dinner!
5. Take 10 minutes every Friday afternoon to share thanks as a team.
6. Create a weekend tradition with your family where everyone shares three things they are thankful for about each member of the family.
7. Actively seek out the “unsung heroes” in your life – people that might fly under the radar and rarely receive any recognition or thanks. An employee at a manufacturing plant told me he made it a goal to personally thank two unsung heroes – someone under the radar who rarely got recognized – each week.
8. Start the week with a thankful habit. One manager told me how she left messages of thanks on employees' voicemail messages during their off hours or days off so they would start their day with a message of appreciation.
9. Create traditions. An auto parts company in Denmark celebrates the “Order of The Elephant” – a large, stuffed elephant will appear on an employee’s desk when someone wants to thank them for going the extra mile. That person then must pass the stuffed elephant along to another employee when they’ve done something noteworthy. The elephant serves as a visual conversation starter and reminder for everyone to pass the praise.
10. Make it fun. Thank people by recognizing them with a fun reward, such as a, “Least Likely to Be Voted Off the Island Award” or “The Houdini Award” for someone who magically made a big problem disappear.
For ideas on how to make sure your formal employee recognition programs are as effective as they can be, cruise over to www.mikekerr.com