Take Time to Be Grateful
As you work toward the end of your busy season, which is definitely now in sight, it’s important to make
sure you’re doing the appropriate level of “internal marketing” by taking the time to acknowledge those
in your firm who have helped you make it all happen.
Perhaps it is your firm administrator who has planned the firm schedule so brilliantly and fed the crew
regularly, your superior who spent time teaching you and reviewing your work, or the receptionist who
fielded calls and made your clients feel so welcome, each of your key people will benefit from your
acknowledgement and gratitude – especially when pressure is at its peak.
When we teach firms and association members about employee motivation, we ask attendees to
prioritize their professional motivators from the following list:
1. Increased responsibility and challenge
2. Compensation and benefits
3. Flexibility and time off
4. Camaraderie and fun
5. Acknowledgment and respect
6. Personal and professional development
While people place their value on these motivational values differently for a variety of personal reasons
and individual factors, we have noticed that “acknowledgement and respect” almost universally
appears in each person’s top three priorities.
Acknowledgement and respect includes acts that communicate your appreciation for another person’s
efforts and those that show them courtesy and kindness at work. This is one of the least expensive, yet
impactful, motivators, and yet it is often discounted as too “touchy/feely” or delegated to office
administrators or others with “more time” to consider and execute acts of thanks.
In fact, you may be thinking, “I don’t have time to stop and thank others, especially in the middle of busy
season.” However, think about how much time you’ll save in recruiting and replacement costs if you
calendar a reminder at regular intervals (start with this week!) to thank someone on your team for
something they’ve done lately. People want to work where their efforts are appreciated! Consider that
you may also gain time because a more engaged work group will produce more. And, when you treat
your employees with respect and acknowledge their hard work, the word will get out into your
community about the kind of work place your firm offers. This is free marketing!
To start consciously acknowledging the contributions of others – now and after the end of busy season -
start with a few simple ideas:
1. Encourage all in your firm to treat people, at all levels, with dignity and respect. Discuss with
your team the importance of keeping the tone of their comments well-meaning and sensitive of
individual personalities, especially those who may engage in teasing, jabs, barbs, or sarcasm as
those comments may act as “de-motivators.”
2. “Catch” your people doing something positive and thank them for it as soon as you can. If
someone often does something well and you haven’t thanked them for it lately, stop the next
time they do it and express gratitude for this instance and all of the others, too, so they know
that you are aware of their long-term efforts.
3. Send personal e-mails of appreciation for a job well done or in honor of a team member’s
birthday or anniversary with your firm. If you are in a position of authority, you would be
surprised at how much these communications mean to others.
4. Send group communications acknowledging a team accomplishment or “publicly” single out a
team member for an achievement.
5. Implement a “wow” note program where anyone in your firm can submit someone’s name and
their accomplishment to management. Then, firm leaders can choose one or two “wow” notes
to read at departmental or firm-wide meetings.
6. Provide constructive, honest, and private feedback about your team members’ areas for
improvement and ways for them to develop as a professional. You’ll show respect and
commitment to the individual when you show your interest in helping them grow.
Consider mixing up how you express your appreciation as well. For certain instances, stopping by
someone’s cubicle or office to tell them what a great job they did on a project will make a big impact
because of your extra effort to connect with them in person. In other situations, a hand-written note of
appreciation will differentiate you and show how much you value their contributions. We have seen
these cherished notes pinned to cubicles or taped to walls years after they were sent by a superior,
colleague, or client.
When you acknowledge people for their contributions, be sure that your thanks are specific and sincere.
Generalizing, over-blowing, or acknowledging people when they don’t deserve it will feel artificial and
can have a negative effect on morale.
Choose one idea and experiment with gratitude this week. You’ll be amazed at how much more
engaged and grateful those you acknowledge will be and how great you’ll feel in the process!
Krista Remer is a consultant and Jennifer Wilson is a partner and co-founder of
ConvergenceCoaching, LLC, a leadership and marketing consulting and coaching firm that
specializes in helping leaders achieve success. Learn more about the company and its services at