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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

The Free and Easy Way to Motivate Employees

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Motivated employees are essential to a company’s success and there are countless ways to encourage employees to give you their best. One place to start is by showing appreciation. You can do that by giving bonuses or pay raises, feeding them, recognizing them with company awards or, our favorite, bringing puppies to the office.

These are the things that employee appreciation programs are made of. Ideally, each of your departments has an Employee Appreciation budget and the money is spent in a way that is most meaningful to those employees.

But if company finances are stretched, these great ideas may not be feasible.

What if there was something that would be just as powerful as these more expensive efforts

- but completely free?

Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a Stanford psychology professor and an authority on the science of gratitude has just the thing.

Dr. McGonigal knows the power of saying, “thank you”. She says that when you point out something good someone did, they are more likely to repeat that behavior.

But not just any “thanks” will get you those results.

To really have an impact on someone, learn to give Dr. McGonigal’s “superpowerful thank-you”.

There are 3 parts:

  1. Find the benefit. What good came to you because of this person? Be specific!

  2. Acknowledge the effort. What might have been hard for them?

  3. Spot the strength. What good do you see in the person you’re thanking?

-And always start and end with “thank you.”*

Here’s an example of how this might sound:

Thank you for organizing the stockroom. Because everything was in order it took us half the time to take inventory and we were able to handle that influx of customers super smoothly (benefit). I know it took a lot of patience and perseverance since you were getting interrupted so often (effort). You have a keen sense for order and organization and you’re good at creating efficient systems (strength). Thank you!

And there’s a bonus to using the superpowerful thank-you.

Not only does it have a big impact on the person you are showing thanks to, gratitude is good for the giver.

Research has long shown that a grateful heart leads to decreased stress, improved sleep, and a more robust immune system.

Newer research shows that actually expressing that gratitude, such as with the superpowerful thank-you, improves your outlook and mood for the following 24 hours!

It’s a win, win!

Who in your life needs a superpowerful thank-you?

*(McGonigal, J. 2015. Superbetter, p. 369)

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