The 2 Most Important Words to Say to your Employees

Two Factor Theory (Human Motivation)
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Saskia Constantinou
Journalist, Cyprus

The 2 Most Important Words to Say to your Employees

I believe that the two most important words in any language are without a doubt "thank you", whether we are in the business or social environment. And yet, they are often just not used, or not said often enough.

Most people go to work everyday aiming to give their best and in return receive payment in the form of a salary. But research shows that there are two things people want more than money, and that is recognition and praise.

They want to be acknowledged for their efforts and if one studies volunteer groups, one can see that recognition and a thank you is what drives them forward to give of themselves and their time.

Fostering a culture of gratitude is definitely a game changer for a sustainably better performance. It is so easy for a manager to say it verbally, but has an even greater impact when an employee who has been working really hard on a new project for example, receives a handwritten note.

Why is it then that so many companies do not foster such culture one which seems to be particularly prevalent in Cyprus. Is it seen as a management weakness to be grateful? Is there a fear of some type of revolution within the work environment?

This culture of gratitude can also extend into service industries where tellers for example can give a smile to their customers and say hello. It changes the atmosphere, fosters good will with clients and will without question, encourage them to buy or shop there again.

I wonder how many parents at home say thank you to their children? If one is expecting them to say thank you, surely it has to begin by "do as I do rather than do as I say?" I believe that we can definitely nag and complain less, laugh more, listen to what they have to say especially teenagers who often have interesting perspectives and insights and say thank you to them for sharing of themselves.

Psychologists Prof Emmons and Prof McCullough in their article "Counting Blessings Versus Burdens" in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology following an extensive study of 3 differing groups found that gratitude is effective in increasing well-being as it builds psychological, social and spiritual resources and also inspires pro-social reciprocity. They also found that gratitude also facilitated in coping with stress and adversity.

Emmons and McCullough also found that those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis and exercised expressing gratitude regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the upcoming week.

I challenge everyone to make a difference to someone today and say thank you. I will start the ball rolling by publicly saying "Thank you!" to you for reading this and for your reactions!

Emmonds, R.A. & McCullough, M.E. (2003) Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 84, No. 2 377-389.


Gratitude by Saskia Constantinou

Thank you on the article on gratitude. It is said (...)

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