“Thanks.” “That was excellent work.” “I really liked it when you….”

We don’t say these words often enough. Maybe it’s the overdrive mode that most organizations are in these days. What we’re missing by not sharing genuine appreciation with others is a key to employee motivation. Showing gratitude and giving positive feedback isn’t the only way to motivate, but it can be one of the easiest and most enjoyable.

We recently stumbled into an opportunity to appreciate each other at Humanergy. A couple of years ago, we started exchanging “white elephant” gifts during the holidays. A “white elephant” is that thing that’s been sitting in your basement or garage that you’ve been meaning to get rid of, but you don’t really think anyone wants it. Maybe you’re even embarrassed to admit you have it.

One of our staff gave a fellow employee a “beautiful” rope necklace embellished with a dozen Southwestern figures, like a coyote, cacti, sombrero and snakes. The nicest thing we can say about it is that it is unique.

The receiver of this gift quickly transformed it into a talisman for our Humanergy team. We each picked a figure to represent ourselves, and the necklace was passed from person to person when we noticed something good. To document our appreciation, we started using a journal which travels with the necklace.

A typical journal entry might read, “To Karen, the green cactus, for outstanding detail management and customer-centric thinking on the ABC project. From Christi, the sombrero.”

What started out as a fun gift exchange has been transformed into a way to communicate about the great things that are happening at Humanergy and each person’s contributions.

The fun factor cannot be ignored here. The journal alone would have been satisfying, but the quirky necklace adds a bit of spice and personality. (And, yes, some team members have been spotted wearing the necklace around the office from time to time. So far no one has been brave enough to wear it elsewhere.)

Sharing appreciation feels magnificent. We just can’t figure out who’s enjoying it more – the people receiving the heartfelt thanks, or the people giving them.

You don’t need a funky necklace. Look someone in the eye and share your specific, meaningful gratitude. You’ll both feel wonderful. And you’ll get back to work with smiles on your faces.

Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!