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Appreciation

Posted by Nancy Weil on June 6, 2013

“Good job.”

“Thanks for helping me out with this project.”

“I am so glad to have you as part of my staff.”
 
  Appreciation. I have read that one of the top reasons people leave jobs is not because of hours or pay, but because they feel unappreciated. A comment like, “Job well done, thanks,” can go a long way towards keeping valuable employees happy. Let’s face it; we like to get external validation. It feels good to have our efforts noticed. It also motivates us to do an even better job the next time. Appreciation is a very valuable commodity in any business.

 However, there are many ways that it can flow. Here are four of them:

      Employer to Employee – As referenced above, employees gain job satisfaction when a superior notices their efforts. You don’t have to hold an employee recognition dinner or a special retreat day to show that you value those people who work for you. A short email, a verbal comment or a hot fudge sundae can go a long way towards making someone’s day.

      Employee to Employer – This is one area that I have found lacking in most businesses. The top people are rarely recognized or appreciated for all they do on behalf of the business and its employees. There is a frustration at the top feeling like all of the people under them are looking to them for more and more. “What are you doing for me?” can be the attitude they encounter. The long hours they put in, the strategic long-range planning or the many meetings attended are forgotten or go un-noticed by most of the staff. I tested this one recent pay day. Paycheck in hand, I headed to the President’s office. “I got paid today,” I announced. “Yes???” came the puzzled reply. “I get to show up and do a job I love every day and you give me money for doing this. Thank you!” He shook his head not sure of how to reply to such unaccustomed praise. Finally, “You’re welcome,” came his reply. With that our exchange was over…until the next pay day.

      Employee to Client – Sending a note of appreciation to a client is a sure way to be noticed and remembered. They did not have to select your company for their funeral or burial needs, yet they did. If it is a pre-need situation, sending a hand written note of appreciation makes good business sense. If it is an at-need situation, a note of condolence along with your appreciation that they put their faith and trust in your firm is essential in establishing an ongoing relationship with that client and their family. Apple understands how important this can be. When my daughter bought her laptop at the local Apple store, as she finalized the transaction, a store manager approached her and introduced himself. He gave her his card, thanked her for selecting an Apple product and mentioned the classes, technical support and other services she could take advantage of. With a shake of her hand, and a sincere, “Thank you” said, he was off to the next customer. Impressive? You bet. Memorable? Well, I am telling you about it and this happened three years ago!

      Client to Employee – It is a wonderful part of our day when we receive a thank you note in the mail from someone we have served. To know that our efforts were appreciated by the family makes what we do worthwhile. Even better is running into someone months or years later and having them relate to you what your service meant to them. Each day we have the opportunity to make an impact on others and it is a nice bonus when we hear that we have made a difference.

 I hope that you are now convinced of how important it is to show your appreciation for the actions of others. It seems like a simple thing to ask, yet I can tell you that it is not the norm. Here are two responses I received from sending a thank you note and small gift to people who have helped me:

 “It is very rare that we receive a thank you, let alone a letter as thoughtful as yours.”

 “Of the 200+ speakers I have ever come to preview, you are the first to ever send me a gift or gift certificate as a thank you.” (This came from the owner of a speaker’s bureau.)

 My grandmother always stressed the importance of a thank you note. I have followed her advice throughout the years and have seen the difference such a small action can have. I also try to recognize those around me and show my appreciation in whatever way I can. I would be remiss if I did not take a moment, in closing, to thank you for reading my column and allowing me the space to express my random thoughts and reach out to my colleagues in this way. Thank you.


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