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How To Thank An Employee

Livia Jenvey |  November 5, 2018

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you had graciously thanked someone and they didn’t take it that way?

Or, has there been a time when you showed appreciation to one of your employees, to later hear that they didn’t feel appreciated by your gesture?

If you have experienced either of these two situations, it may have been that your intention was in the right place, but the delivery of it caused the opposite effect than what you were going for.

When you are giving thanks to an employee, there are five things that you should avoid:


  1. Giving Public Thanks Only

During a team meeting, it can seem like the best time to tell the team how much you are thankful for one of the team members for a great job that they have recently done.  However, the issue this can cause is that if you have someone who does not like or even despises being put in the public eye, your show of appreciation, gratitude, and thanks for a job well done will come off as threatening.  The best way to avoid this is to meet with the employee individually first.  While you meet with them, mention that you would like to share this in the next team meeting, and ask if they are okay with this.  This simple question will create greater trust with your employee as you are demonstrating that you care about them.


  1. Getting Someone Else to Say it For You

It is completely understandable that you have a crazy schedule and that you are busy beyond comprehension and the thought of spending 5 minutes with an employee saying thank you can seem impossible. The idea of delegating this to someone else to say thank you for you seems like a great idea.  However, delegating this will backfire on you because the receiver will take this appreciation from the messenger giving it to them notfrom you.  All it takes is 5 minutes and the best way to do it is to schedule it on your calendar. Because this conversation coming from you directly can turn an employee into a super star productive one.


  1. Not Appearing Sincere

Similar to being swamped and busy as I described previously, if you don’t take the time to stop and give the thank you receiver your undivided attention, they will not interpret this as sincere appreciation.  When you speak with your employee, step away from your computer, the phone, or anyone else. Make sure that you make your employee feel that you have one hundred percent attention on them when you speak to them. The employee will interpret this as proof that you are truly sincere in your thanks.


  1. Relating it as Your Benefit Only

It is true that your employee doing a great job, makes you look good to your peers and manager(s).  However, if you tell your employee about how much their job makes you look good, it negates them as individuals.  Use your language to be only about them, which can be as simple as saying “Thank you for doing a great job and keep up the great work. It is much appreciated!”


  1. Not Saying You are Appreciated

Lastly, one impactful statement that is often not included when verbalizing your thank you is: “I appreciate the work you do.”  This simple phrase relates directly to your employee that the work they do is one of a kind and that you appreciate all that they do for you on the job.  Adding this simple phrase when saying thank you will verbalize that you do appreciate them and that they are an important part in your business.


The next time you are thanking your employee, remember to avoid these top five delivery method mistakes. Avoiding these will ensure your intention becomes a positive one with a happy appreciated employee!


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