You have likely heard the saying that a little thanks goes a long way, but do you factor appreciation into your workplace? Thanks, merci, gracias – any way you say it, gratitude matters.

Motivation experts agree that simply saying “thank you” is one of the best ways to let team members know that they are valued, and encourage them to continue to excel. According to a survey performed by, the most powerful motivator for employees is receiving a simple note of thanks from their boss. The survey found that employees would work harder and stay longer at their companies if they felt more appreciated by their managers. Writing a thank-you note or email or even taking a quick moment to say thanks is an easy way to connect with people and can be done for little to no cost.

Words and messages of appreciation make the recipient feel good and the bonus is that being grateful also boosts the givers happiness. According to numerous studies, gratitude is proven to have a positive impact on a person’s well being. Check out this infographic from The Huffington Post for more on the effects of gratitude on the human body.

There’s no limit to how thankful you can be. Here are some key opportunities to say thanks:

  • When you receive a compliment or suggestion from an employee
  • When staff members or a team have completed a quarter, an additional year of employment, or other milestone
  • When employees have done something extremely well
  • When someone has gone above and beyond their job description
  • Just because

It may take a little work to get into the practice of being grateful, but the rewards are worth the effort. Be cautious of letting excuses get in the way of your path to thankfulness. Here are four common gratitude roadblocks and how to navigate around them.

  1. I have so much going on that I often forget to be thankful.If you struggle with remembering to be thankful take the stress out of it by putting notes in your calendar. Maybe begin or end your week by choosing an employee to send a surprise note to. Or, build gratitude into your meeting agenda. Start the meeting by sharing something you are grateful for and perhaps have others do the same. This humble act will not only show your vulnerability, but model to your team the importance of being thankful and expressing it regularly.
  2. I’m short on time.Short is the important word here. Short thank–you notes work well. It takes just one or two lines to express thankfulness and make an impact. And don’t worry about finding stationery. The vehicle is of little importance – it’s the thanks that matters.
  3. I’m great at constructive criticism –does that count?Make sure you are striking a balance. It’s often easy to see what needs to be fixed, but may take more effort to note what’s going well. Take the time to focus on the positive.
  4. They know I’m thankful, right?Employees cannot read your mind. Don’t assume your employees realize that a job done well was noticed or appreciated. Say it, email it, send a pigeon – just be thankful.

Another quick tip. Not all thanks are created equal. Inc. Magazine’s Jeff Haden wrote about being genuine in your expression of gratitude… “I once had a boss who walked around the plant every Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m.

He said warm and fuzzy—albeit vague and generic—things to employees during his little tour, but all of us could tell he was just checking off a box on his to-do list. (Thursday, 1 p.m.: Check in with troops and make them feel appreciated.)

Never praise for the sake of praising. It’s obvious to everyone, and you lessen the impact when you really do mean what you say.”

And, what if you are not the boss, but the customer or employee? Should you be thanking people, too? Of course! Expressing gratitude is beneficial to everyone involved.

What are you waiting for? Kick off the gratitude chain.

p.s. Thanks for working with KeyStaff.