In this day and age of instantaneous communication and information, I think that the act of pausing to say thank you or appreciating someone else’s efforts on your behalf is getting lost in the shuffle. Are we really too busy reading or responding to the next item on our iPhone, Blackberry or iPad to stop for a minute to recognize the help we just received? Or… are we truly becoming a society of self-involved individuals who just expect everyone to do what we want because they are a friend or family member or because it’s part of their job description. Scary thought if it’s true.
I make an effort to say thank you in both my personal life and in the work place, even for the smallest things. My perspective is that if someone was willing to take a minute for me, I should be able to repay them with a minute of my appreciation and acknowledgement. I’m also not a fan of the view that employees should not be thanked for simply carrying out the tasks listed in their job description. Even though we often know what is required of us at work, it’s validating and often motivating to hear when we’ve done a good job and that we are appreciated. Everyone has days where their work excelled and made a difference.
Today we’re working harder and harder and putting in more hours than ever before. Surprisingly, despite this trend, studies have shown that employees have expressed satisfaction on the job, especially in organizations where they are recognized for doing a good job or if perks have been provided to incentivize the workforce. (See this recent Boston.com article aptly named ” The appreciation factor“.) Wouldn’t you work harder if your boss said, “Nice job on _________.” or provided lunch once a week because the team was short staffed and doing more work than usual? I know I would.
UPDATE: 2/10/12 Just came across a recognition company site – O.C. Tanner located in Salt Lake City, UT. They had a great blog post that spoke to the effectiveness of appreciated employees that I thought was worth passing along: “The Happy Factor: Why Appreciation Invites Success”.
Pausing to appreciate those around us is probably something we should be more concerned about as technology leads us down a road of becoming more data-centric and more impersonal in our day-to-day lives. (Read: Emailing and texting as the main form of communication versus meeting face-to-face.) I’d like to suggest ending this pattern by implementing more personal interaction, especially when it comes to appreciating those around you.
It only takes a minute to appreciate someone who helps you out. For instance, if someone watches your child while you run an errand, or makes those 25 photocopies you haven’t gotten to, or if he/she simply holds the door open for you, acknowledge it. You can simply say “thank you,” or you can take it a step farther by writing a note or sending a gift, all dependent upon how great the favor. I’m sure that you’ll find that there is at least one instance in every day where you can show your appreciation. I’m willing to give it a try. Are you?