I like to extol the virtues of a genuine ‘thank you’ or an enthusiastic ‘congratulations’ or a thoughtfully placed ‘great job.’ I maintain that simply taking the time to utter these very words might have a more profound impact on your people than any silly, complicated, and short-lived employee reward and recognition scheme you put together. If I had a tail, I’d wag it every time I heard these things from my boss. It’s how I’m programmed: I like to please the Alpha. Strange? Not really. In fact, more humans are programmed this way than aren’t (I don’t really have the science to back that up, but I didn’t really try to find it either…it’s out there, I’m sure.)
Anyway, sending a ‘thank you’ E-Mail is one thing; sending a hand-written ‘thank you’ note is another; and offering the praise in person usually takes the cake. But printing it on a prominent page of the Chicago Tribune Sunday Edition (1M subscribers) kind of trumps it all.
I came across this really thoughtful piece in the paper this weekend and thought it was a good reminder that we should all do a better job of singing our employee praises in public.