A little thanks may equal a lot of productivity

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A new survey confirms what underappreciated workers have known all along: a "thank you" from the boss would go a long way.

According to a new survey of nearly 1,500 workers, two-thirds said they would like more thanks on the job, thank you very much. And the vast majority of respondents want it in person, please, although an e-mail thank you is better than none at all.

Sixty percent said the extra appreciation would make them work harder. This is especially true of younger workers, aged 18 to 34 - 68 percent said they would hustle more with extra thanks. Of workers 55 and up, only 42 percent said the appreciation would motivate them to be more productive. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive for Adecco, the staffing firm.

The survey also revealed that people think they're better at thanking their colleagues than perhaps they really are. Three-quarters said they thank their co-workers enough, while only half said their boss "does a good job" of thanking them.

"Recognizing the value of your employees, even with something as simple as a 'thank you' for a job well done, is an important aspect of strong employee satisfaction and retention," Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer of Adecco Group North America, said in a statement. "Today's savvy managers realize that an employee who feels undervalued won't stick around for long."

The problem isn't confined to the U.S.

The Western Mail of Cardiff, Wales, reported on the results of a 1,000-employee survey by Maritz, a company that helps firms improve performance. Almost one in three workers said they are NEVER thanked for their efforts. And one in four said feeling underappreciated was one of the reasons they left their previous job.

"Managers and bosses need to take note of this now and put time, effort and money into making their staff feel wanted," Maritz Managing Director Nick Bender told the newspaper. "Our experience shows their business will quickly reap the benefits through increased productivity and decreased recruitment."

Elizabeth Houldsworth, professor at Henley Management College, said, "We all know that saying please and thank you is an act of common courtesy, however the importance of 'thank you' in the workplace is often overlooked, but it is a means of achieving the goals of staff retention and also high performance."

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