You might think that handing over a paycheck every two weeks is all the thanks your employees expect or need.
But that’s not all they want.
Employees crave and respond to appreciation and praise from the boss, each other and customers. Filling that need is just about the easiest and least-expensive way to build morale and loyalty, to keep employees excited about their work and to prompt them to go the extra mile for you and your company.
They say that employees quit managers, not jobs. The reverse is true as well: Most of us stick around when the people we work for treat us right, reward us for our hard work and show us how proud we make them.
Think about how grateful you are for your clients or customers. They buy from you, they pay you, and you say “thank you.” You wouldn’t even consider concluding your business with them without telling them “thank you.” You probably thank those clients again and again by following up with them, checking on how the product or service you sold them is working out, and asking whether they need something extra from you.
Consider this: Your own employees are your most-important customers. In a sense, they’re buying what you sell every time they clock in. They’re buying that you are a stand-up employer. They’re buying that they can count on you to pay them. They’re buying that you have meaningful work for them to do. They’re buying that they’ll still have a job with you tomorrow.
That’s because, in a sense, that’s what you sell them. You sell them on working for you. And they buy it every day with their decision to come to work for you instead of going to work for your competitor.
Say “thank you.”
Say it all the time. Say it when you run into an employee in the hall. Say it after an employee finishes an important project. Say it whenever you give a speech — even if your employees are not in the room.
And don’t just say it. Show it. Show it by knowing your employees’ names, even if they don’t report directly to you. Show it by remembering their milestones, like birthdays and big work anniversaries. Show it by bragging about them to your investors, colleagues and industry groups.
If you can afford it, thank employees with small rewards, like a $10 gift card for a cup of fancy coffee for finishing a project early or an invitation to lunch with the boss at a hot spot in town after a tough week of overtime. Hand-write the occasional note to an employee who routinely goes above and beyond.
To professional salespeople, “thank you” is an essential part of the sale. They know that gratitude is what keeps customers coming back for more. Follow that lead, and use sincere, authentic gratitude to keep your employees working at their peak and sticking with you as you build your brand and grow your company.
For sales pros, “thank you” is part of creating a “customer for life,” and it’s a strategy that any small business owner can imitate in an effort to create good working relationships not only with clients, but with staff and colleagues.
Continue to thank your external customers — of course. But move your internal customers — the ones who do you the favor of working for you every day — to the top of your list when you hand out gratitude, praise and rewards.
Gratitude can grow your company.
Dr. Cindy McGovern, known as the “First Lady of Sales,” speaks and consults internationally on sales, interpersonal communication and leadership. She is the author of “Every Job is a Sales Job: How to Use the Art of Selling to Win at Work“. Dr. Cindy is the CEO of Orange Leaf Consulting, a sales management and consulting firm.