“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” ― Oprah Winfrey
My partner and I just sent five of our staffers to our state insurance association's annual convention in Indianapolis, a collection of vendors, industry classes and a bevy of old friends. We even had the opportunity to spend a Saturday night with a few of our employees, laughing and having a couple of drinks.
One of our producers is very active in the association that hosts the convention, so it has been our practice to provide him a room at the Westin during the event. We closed our office Monday so that every person in our Parker City office could attend the convention. We thought it would be a nice reward for their dedication and hard work since our recent merger.
My first interaction about the event happened when I asked an employee what he thought of the convention. He replied, "It was nice. We had a nice dinner, the stuff they gave away was not as nice as last year, so-and-so got really drunk, but it was nice.”
Then he said, “Yeah, I wish I would have had a room like Ronn. I didn’t like driving home at 12:30 last night.” The reason for the late night was there was an optional party that a few of them obviously decided to attend.
I went back to my conference room and lamented on the fact that every year I spend about $2,500 sending my staff to this convention. I've never gotten a thank you--it has come to be expected. I resolved that this was just the way it was.
Then--perfect timing--one of our employees walked into my office and said, "I just wanted to thank you and Jenny for allowing us all to go to the convention. It was nice to get out of the office and attend such a nice event. We really appreciate the gesture.”
As a business owner, I get frustrated with my perceived lack of employee appreciation. I’m sure this is a two-way street. I think that I regularly say thank you and tell people they're doing a great job, but my staff might tell a different story. I was reminded yesterday about the power of thank you and hopefully, this might remind you as well.
This is a concept you can take to your clients. Think about the last time you received a hand-written thank-you note; it's probably still in your desk drawer or on a board somewhere in your office, while the last thank-you email you received is in your "deleted" bin. A hand-written thank you is worth 100 thank-you emails.
For years our office has had postcards printed for our staffers to use to say “thank you” or to send other positive messages to our clients and vendors. Over the years I’ve received many calls from our clients and vendors, thanking me for the thanks that they received from my staff.
It doesn't take much effort to say thank you, and it doesn't cost a thing. We should all do it more.