Small words, big impact

A salary is recognition enough, isn't it?—Studies show that personal appreciation is more important to employees. A thank you makes up for a lot of effort.

The team has spent weeks working under extreme pressure. Even weekends were no longer sacred at the end of the project. Unfortunately, the employees wait in vain for a thank you. Their boss takes their hard work for granted and tries to find fault with the results. By doing this, however, he's taking a bigger gamble than he realizes.

Work psychologists and HR advisors agree: Employee commitment depends on appreciation. Surveys conducted by the HR consulting firm O.C. Tanner show that being appreciated by superiors is considered even more important than being paid more money. If employees feel appreciated, 78 percent of them are highly motivated in their work, enriching their company with new ideas twice as often. If there is a lack of appreciation, two thirds of those surveyed withdraw into an “inner emigration.” They work to rule, are hard-headed and unfeeling—mirroring exactly the behavior of their superiors. Bosses who think that a salary compensates for their employees' hard work squander their motivation and jeopardize the success of future projects and even the company's innovation.

Whether you're a boss, a colleague, a customer or a client: Every day we can choose to be hard-headed and unfeeling or warm and appreciative. When communicating electronically, it's particularly tempting to use a terse, abrupt tone. Pausing for a moment, putting yourself in the other person's position and paying a compliment or saying a genuine thank you takes only a few seconds. However, it can compensate for hours of hard work. Cicero already knew that: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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