By Simone Lockhart


With the war for talent intensifying, never have organisations been more focussed on employee engagement and retention.

We all know that pay and reward is a significant element of this review. However, research suggests creating career opportunities, flexibility to support our new work-life balance, and creating a culture that is open and inclusive is of equal, if not more, importance today. As employers it is our responsibility to ensure our people feel involved and have that sense of belonging we know is critical for true engagement.

However, there is another powerful benefit that should sit equally in all of these important items, and that is recognition. I don’t mean the pay element of recognition, I mean the more subtle, personal aspect that comes from a simple thank you. “Thank you for doing a great job”, “thank you for helping me out”, “thank you for being a great colleague/team player/friend”.

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I think we can all remember a time where someone saying “thank you” has meant the world and made us feel really valued at work. And it doesn’t need to come from your boss either. A thank you from as colleague or client is also hugely appreciated – and for those managers out there, getting a thank you from someone in your team can almost turn you to mush!

Just saying the words can be enough, but to formalise “thank you” into your thinking there are lots of other things you can do to make that thank you truly memorable. As a colleague, go retro and send a handwritten card or send an email, even copy in their boss or others at work. You might even couple it with a gesture by sending them a bunch of flowers or a bar of their favourite chocolate.

As a manager you can do the above, but you might also like to invite them out for a coffee or lunch, or you could also thank people with an informal late start/early finish/day off.

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As a business, introduce formal schemes that encourage people to say thank you and give recognition, such as a monthly awards scheme with categories that cover all employees, or quarterly lunches bringing together those who have gone the extra mile. I have also worked in organisations that offer Values Awards or have even invested in online tools where colleagues can send a thank you or feedback which can be copied into line managers, which gives kudos in the official feedback and appraisal process.

Be that company, manager, team where people say, “I love working here because I feel valued and appreciated”. It sounds like such a simple thing to do – because it is – and its power should not be underestimated. I’ll sign off with my own thank you for reading my column and hope it creates a flurry of appreciation as you perhaps think about who you would like to thank today…

Simone Lockhart is the group commercial director for the Taranata Group