Thank You alphabet soupA simple thank you goes a long way.

We know how great it feels to be appreciated, whether it from a spouse or family member, and how great it feels to show appreciation to others.

If you’re in sales or support, you probably say thanks to your customers with every interaction.

Yet for some reason, only 10% of you say thank you to a colleague every day, arguably the most important people in your professional life you should thank. These are the people you spend more time with than your own family. I’m not talking about the knee-jerk email “Thank You” response people throw in an email. I’m talking about an honest-to-goodness thank you to someone.

You’ll get some who say, “a paycheck is all the appreciation I need.” And good for them. But studies have shown that genuine appreciation in the workplace improves productivity and employee retention.

And worse than the 10% is that only 7% thank their managers. This isn’t about kissing up to them but honestly appreciating something they’ve done for you and expression your gratitude.

The most important thing about a thank you is that it must be honest and genuine. But there are ways to ruin a thank you as well. Bob Nelson, a consultant and author, has identified five failed approaches often taken by managers when they attempt to express appreciation to their employees.

  1. Automatic Pilot: Manager decides, ‘I’m going to walk around at 2 p.m. every Thursday and thank everybody.
  2. Overcompensating: The managers has never thanked people before, but suddenly starts thanking everybody for everything.
  3. Double Message: The manager torpedoes a “thank you” with a “but.” “Thanks for doing a great job on that report, BUT there were some typos.”
  4. Too Little, Too Late: The manager waits a week before acknowledging a top performance.
  5. Machiavellian: The manager offers praise because he secretly hopes it will induce you to work late.

So if you do one thing today, thank a coworker or even your manager. And then you won’t be part of the 90%.