Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Two Most Important Words

The title of this post comes from a recent article by Robert Eckert, the former CEO of Mattel, who suggested the two most powerful words in the workplace are - Thank You. 

Those familiar with KangoGift know that we strongly believe in the power of thank you and don't think it's said often enough at work. For us this is strange given how simple it is to take a moment to show appreciation to a colleague, peer, manager, or team member.

A lot of research on employee engagement, corporate culture, and high performing teams suggests that timely and public praise can reap expected and surprising benefits. Yet, while many companies cite employee engagement as a core area of opportunity, HR teams struggle with fostering a thank you culture. 

While there may not be a magical solution, Eckert's five tips on recognition are effective, simple, and come from a CEO who helped bring Mattel into Fortune's Great Places to Work list

  • Set aside time every week to acknowledge people’s good work.
  • Handwrite thank-you notes whenever you can. The personal touch matters in the digital age.
  • Punish in private; praise in public. Make the public praise timely and specific.
  • Remember to cc people’s supervisors. “Don’t tell me. Tell my boss.”
  • Foster a culture of gratitude. It’s a game changer for sustainably better performance.

We bolded the point about sharing the praise with a person's boss since this is one of the most common ways we've seen organizations adopt KangoGift. The ability to add a data point to an employee's on-going recognition statement and broadcast it to colleagues and a manager taps into the ROI of social tools. 

Managers we work with find it helpful to have a dashboard of who on their teams has been recognized and can offer unique insight into the contributions of the employees. It's common for us to hear, "I didn't know a member of my team helped the other department with a time sensitive project." 

These types of insights work wonders because it helps the employee shine at review time and the manager feels more informed about how their teams are working toward the goals of the organization.

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