One of the easiest ways to boost workplace morale is right on the tip of every employer and employee’s tongue. Just a simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way towards making people feel appreciated in the workplace.

When people feel valued for the work they are doing, they are more productive and report higher job satisfaction and personal wellbeing levels.

Shockingly, common courtesy isn’t always a high workplace priority. In a survey from SuperFriend, just 40 per cent of respondents answered ‘yes definitely’ when asked if they believed people in their workplace greeted each other in the morning, smiled, made eye contact and said thank you to each other.

Yet showing appreciation for your colleagues’ actions – especially if they have helped you out – is a very effective way to build a healthy workplace culture. If employers lead by example and say thank you to their employees on a regular basis, it can really have a beneficial ripple effect through the whole organisation. It also shows the employer is aware of people who are contributing to the organisation, which reflects positively on their management skills.

Showing gratitude can strengthen already healthy workplace relationships or help rebuild ones that have been under strain. People tend to feel more positive toward people who recognise and thank them for their work. Vocal appreciation can be a vital – yet often overlooked – part of building and maintaining workplace relationships.

When we spend 40 hours a week together, saying thank you for help with a task- or even just for being a kind and supportive colleague - can make the working week so much smoother. But, keep in mind that gratitude has to come from the heart; don’t say thank you just for the sake of it. Saying thank you should be because you really want to show appreciation – and be specific about what it is you’re thanking them for. For example, if a team member has found a way to streamline a business process, then thank them specifically for their attention to detail and contribution to positive change.

People can also have preferences about the way they are thanked. Some like public acknowledgement, via a newsletter or staff meeting, while others prefer a private conversation. It all depends on their personality type.

Some ways you can say thank you

  • Write a thank you note or send a thank you email. While an email is often the easiest way to express appreciation, people still value a hand-written note. In fact, they will keep them long after an email has been deleted. Leave it on their desk or their seat and watch their face light up as they open it.
  • Talk to your co-worker or employee face to face or acknowledge them publicly, being very specific about what they have done. For example, “thank you, John, for staying late to fill those last-minute orders. It meant the customer got their order on time which they were very grateful for.”
  • If it is a big thing you are saying thank you for, then take them out for lunch or coffee, or give them a gift voucher from their favourite store.
  • Email or speak to their manager directly so the employee knows the praise is being heard around their specific work area.

Boosting workplace morale often doesn’t need major organisational change. It can start with a simple ‘thank you’. Encourage it in your workplace and see the difference it makes.