Talk to employees about recognition and it’s unlikely you will meet one who does not like to hear “thank you.” I have worked in house and as a consultant to build cultures where kudos are regularly extended. Sincere, well-timed praise is particularly valuable in a handwritten note. Yes, e-mail is easier but taking the time to put pen to paper for a few lines shows extra care and a provides a tangible memento.
Acknowledgment of appreciation should not stop with communications to subordinates. The first time I sent a carefully crafted card to my boss I was surprised to see it displayed on his credenza the next day. In a work environment where anyone with a desk proudly showed off “Great Job” and “Way to Go” alongside birthday greetings and family photos, I should have known that the VP would follow suit.
Today a client described how helpful their manager had been during completion of a recent big project. I encouraged him to express the value of the assistance in writing. He laughed and told me about two cards sent at least three years ago in celebration of boss’s day to a leader with a generally dour countenance that continue to earn shelf space. Appreciation does not require a holiday. A speech, great press or results are all worth a mention. Take the time to send the right message. No need to worry about offending; in fact, the opposite is likely to occur.