Source | LinkedIn : By Simon Tennant
Thank you’ is a powerful phrase, especially when linked to employee engagement. But, used without qualification, it can sometimes do more harm than good.
It’s Friday afternoon. You’re sitting in a crowded room surrounded by your colleagues, listening to a briefing from your boss. Busy engaging with the presentation, you’re making notes and giving verbal feedback. Despite all of this, you’re aware of some of your nearby co-workers staring blankly out the window, clock watching or checking their phones. At the end of the session, your boss thanks you all for attending.
So what just happened here? You received the same amount of thanks as everyone else, despite some members of staff not making the effort. You feel slightly peeved, and rightly so. Not only that, other employees might think management didn’t notice (or didn’t care) that they weren’t paying attention. So, they’re much more inclined to repeat that negative behaviour.
Looking at this from an engagement point of view, the boss would actually have been better off not saying ‘thank you’ at all. The seed of disengagement has been sown, and once taken root, it’s much harder to weed out.
Don’t use ‘thank you’ blindly. Not only does it start to lose the desired effect if used too often, it needs to be partnered with qualification of exactly what you’re thanking that person for. That way there’s no confusion, and that affirmed behaviour is much more likely to occur again. And beware the danger of group thanking, for the above reasons.
‘Thank you’ can be a powerful tool in your engagement arsenal. Just like any tool however, it can do more damage than good if used without care and attention.