Expert Advice of the Month: It’s not all about the money. A simple thank you goes a long way

By Sarah McVanel

Sarah McVanel is the founder of Greatness Magnified, an organization that specializes in providing training programs and certifications for employees at large. She is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, and creator of F.R.O.G.—Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness. She invigorates companies to earn great people and to see their people as exceptional so that, together, they can create a thriving culture where everyone belongs.

I’ve said it before; I’ll remind us all again. A paycheque—even a good one—is table stakes. As The Beatles sang, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.” Yet the results of a recent survey released by Gallup indicates that a “recognition-less”—or recognition-lacking—workplace is turnover territory.

Do you provide an environment of meaningful connection, purposeful contribution, and acknowledgement of impact? Do people leave or sign off at the end of the day knowing that their work matters to you, your peers, and your customers? Have they heard why their effort mattered and why they need to return the next day?

If they get to trade their time, experience, education, effort, and attention for a paycheque, they want it to have an ROI. They know the stakes are too high (a byproduct of living through the most significant health crisis of our lifetime) and that time is too precious to waste. You get one life. But you get many careers (if you want them; and workforce trends say people do).

Recognizing someone today—no, right now—means that people are more likely to affirm, “I choose you.” We spent a lot of time discussing how some people see their work as a job, others as a career, and others as a vocation. How can we put people in such a tidy little “work motivation” box? Pretty contrived, right? Instead, let’s look at a workforce as a group of people who want to be engaged and are experiencing varying levels of engagement.

Our world needs everyone at work—and I mean everyone—to make it better for peers, customers and beyond. Think of how many hours people work on any given day. That is how many hours of impact people can have! Why wouldn’t we recognize that so that impact can exponentially increase?

Even if you’re not the boss or part of HR, you have control over moving the needle on recognition. Because everyone needs to know they are valued. Every peer can ensure that happens. Don’t miss an opportunity to point it out.

What we recognize is reinforced. And that is priceless.