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2020 Trend: And finally… a simple thank-you

Posted on Tue, 2019-12-24 14:51 by Chris Carr, Senior Workplace Consultant

Research has highlighted the importance of the manager – employee relationship. It appears that this relationship is as critical to employee performance as all the sit-stand desks and yoga classes combined.

If, as the Elton John song goes “Sorry seems to be the hardest word” then a close second seems to be “Well done”. Congratulatory messages in the workplace are typically confined to birthdays, weddings and new baby arrivals – semi-public events where colleagues’ best wishes can help to foster a strong community identity.

What about those quiet words after a presentation or when a report is submitted? A quick “well done” or “thanks for turning that work around so quickly” form a colleague (it doesn’t have to be the line manager) can go a long way to improving team morale and personal confidence with staff. It might not banish the imposter syndrome entirely but everyone likes a bit of praise. The flipside is equally important however, you have to be able to take a bit of a verbal kick up the backside when your manager deems it necessary. Relationships built on trust and mutual respect is essential for an individual and a team to thrive.

Where there are different grades and different skills within a team, mental health and wellbeing can also be affected when there is an inequality of opportunity. If the same people get the preferential treatment when it comes to training and attending events then it can lead to disengagement; an eager member of staff who is constantly told “maybe next time” will feel undervalued.

There does however seem to be a constant push for the workplace to offer more and more in terms of what might be called ‘perks’ in order to keep staff fit, healthy and motivated. There is a lot to be said regarding the fact that underpinning all of these very worthwhile endeavours is the critical importance of talking, and not just once a month when you have a team meeting, but regular (but brief) chats. Disrupt the office slightly, shake people out of their comfort zone, get them away from their desks for 5-minutes and get them talking to different colleagues.

While kettles have probably had their day, they did provide some excellent opportunities for colleagues to have a blether. Maybe we should be putting a delay on that Ziptap order and get the art of tea and coffee making back to a more human pace and less like changing tyres in Formula 1.

So, as we approach the end of year, and reflect on what we’ve achieved, what’s changed, think about who we should be saying a thank-you too.