The Art of saying “Thank You” in the Workplace

Brainy Quotes

One of my first assignments as an HR practitioner was to arrange a “Thank You Day” where the leaders will go around to say “Thank You” to their staff and give them doughnuts.

It was a major hit…

…for ONE DAY.

“Happiness” died down the day after.

Engagement survey came around a few days later. The scores remained low.

They scratched their heads wondering why the doughnut event did not positively impact engagement scores. I scratched mine wondering they thought it would…

Actually, it seems that no matter how big or mature the organization is, employee appreciation or even as simple a gesture as saying a sincere “Thank You” is always an area for improvement.

Do you have a similar experience? Would you like to share what happened?

The Art Of Saying “Thank You” In The Workplace

Not A One-Time Thing

Foremost, know that a “Thank You” day will never work when left on its own. It should be practiced everyday and especially, should be given real-time. “Thank you” is a form of feedback, so should be treated like so.

Should Be Sincere And Heartfelt…And Felt

Someone opens the door for you, you say thank you. Even without looking at the other person or sometimes we just murmur the thank you.

That’s not the kind we want.

When you thank someone, pause and look at that person. Make sure your “thank you” is clear and audible. It will only take 2-3 seconds of your time to let the person feel your sincerity.

Should Be Meaty

There are instances when “thank you” is simply not enough. Like, when your team members did a good job or you exceeded your targets or you observed an exemplary behavior.

In such cases, set aside some time. Maybe 15, maybe 30 minutes. The length should be enough for you to thank the person and tell the person why you say this.

For example, “Thank you for going the extra mile to cover for your teammate who was on SL. Our team met our targets even when we’re not complete, because you stepped in and did an excellent job. You really owned it even if it wasn’t your core! Good job and continue to be a great team-player.”

This would mean a lot to your team. A great way to keep them engaged.

Authenticity and Consistency

Of course, only say this when you really believe so. Be careful not to go overboard than what the performance/behavior/outcome merits.

Why is this important? Because the more we sincerely thank our team, the more they feel valued, appreciated and recognized. All very good! But we have to be consistent. In other words, informal appreciation, especially for employees who often get recognized, should in the end funnel into the formal recognition platforms or be reflected in performance appraisals.

Yes, saying thank you is an art. It is something we should practice and execute skillfully and carefully.

I hope you for this a good reminder. Thank you very much for visiting Engagement Imperative and feel free to return whenever you need inspiration, employee engagement or workplace related tips.

For your questions, topic suggestions or just about anything you wish to share, please feel free to connect with me thru –

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Talk to you soon! 🙂

About Emile Therese

Emile Therese is a graduate of the University of Philippines in Diliman with a degree in Psychology. She is happily married. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with one amazing daughter (and hopefully at least one more child). She believes that values and character ought to be taught as early as possible and that these are key to community and nation building. This was also how she and her siblings were brought up by their two awesome parents! She is a Certified HR Professional who advocates employee engagement in its entirety. Emile believes that true employee engagement rests on the pillars of basic human needs and in ensuring that process and leadership basics are in place - the employee engagement imperatives. She hopes to contribute to making this world a better place for all of us now and the next generation. She loves sipping tea, conversations, reading and writing. The latter gave birth to two blogs - Purposeful Parenting Journey ( and Engagement Imperative (

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for addressing this! I have served in multiple ministry positions with numerous volunteers as well as having paid staff work alongside me. I know how much it meant to me to hear the words “thank you”, so I have expressed my gratitude a million times over. It is very appreciated, especially in the church setting where most of the people volunteer countless hours without pay. People thrive in environments where they feel appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

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