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Sometimes it’s easy to miss the seemingly small and obvious things that can make a world of difference in our businesses. Like saying “thank you!”

I’m going to assume that saying “thanks” – and other similar phrases – is a skill that you learned growing up. Good manners require some level of politeness, which means saying “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” and other various niceties. Sometimes it’s very easy to forget the things that we’ve known about since we were a kid.

Saying “thank you” to your employees and even your customers and vendors can go a long way to building a relationship and making the overall quality of your business better. And I would argue that it has a positive ROI on your business. After all, aren’t your more likely to work harder when you know your work is appreciated?

But it’s also important to consider HOW you say thanks.

I recently heard the story about an employee who was recognized for outstanding performance in front of his entire company and it ticked him off because he didn’t like the spotlight. Another time in the future when the same employee was recognized, his manager learned from his mistake and awarded the employee with a painting which brought him to tears. They honored him in a way that was in line with what motivated him personally.

How you thank someone is just as important as actually thanking the person.

Three Questions to Ask

Here are three simple questions to help you assess how you are saying “thanks” and to identify how to get a greater “Thanks ROI” for your small business:  

1. When was the last time you said “thanks?” And did you mean it?

Not everybody is good at saying “thanks.” For some people, it’s just not natural and takes a concerted effort. For others, it can become a meaningless phrase that is said vaguely and non-specifically. If you fall into either of these camps, I suspect that you may have some unsatisfied folks. Think about it for yourself – do you like it when someone says “thank you” in a non-specific, generic way, or would you rather somebody acknowledge something specific that you did and why they appreciated it? I suspect that you prefer the latter. The same goes for your employees.

2. Do you know your team and what motivates each of your team members?

First, let me point out that It isn’t always money. Author Gary Chapman wrote a book years ago called The 5 Love Languages which poses the idea that each of us has a different way of feeling appreciated. Some people like words of affirmation while others like receiving gifts. The takeaway is this, people are unique and are motivated by different things. If you don’t know what motivates your employees, then make every effort to figure out what motivates each one and look for ways to say thanks in a way that connects with each person.

Our team at Whirks recently wrote a blog post that includes six ways to say thanks. Check it out to find some great budget-friendly (free) ideas.

3. Do you measure your team’s overall happiness and job satisfaction?

You have financial statements and other reports that you use to monitor the health of your business. Are you also measuring or tracking your employee satisfaction? This can be as simple as having ongoing conversations where you are asking folks how they are doing, or it can become a structured process that is statistically based. Either way, it is essential to make sure that you are aware of your team’s morale, both as a group and at the individual level.

The bottom line is that your business is dependent on a team of people working together toward a common goal and mission. As their leader, you have the opportunity to inspire and motivate your organization forward. Merely saying thanks in a meaningful way can make that journey much more enjoyable and much more productive.


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