This is one of the commonest complaints I hear from employers, particularly at this time of year, when pay rises and bonuses are paid out.
And it is frustrating. You have let them know that there is a bonus or pay rise, you’ve paid them in their normal monthly payment, but has anyone come up to you and said “thanks”? The heck they have!! Which leads on to muttering about “ungrateful so and so’s” and starting to sound like Scrooge!
Your employees are grateful, but they are not sure how to say “thanks”.
How can you get them to say thank you?
Make it easy for them – and yourself.
It is a big thing, getting a payrise and/or a bonus. So don’t just mention it as an aside, make it clear that it is a big deal.
Step by step guide (or how to teach people managers to suck eggs!):
- Call them into your office individually or take them into a private area.
- Have the letter with the pay rise / bonus detailed in it printed out and in an envelope, addressed with at least their name on it.
- Be on the same side of the desk as them.
- Shake their hand, hand them the letter (still holding on to it) and say “Thank you (you need to use the words “thank you” as any others will not count in their perception) for your contribution to our success / the company this year*. I really appreciate it. Here is your pay rise / bonus – the money will be transferred to your bank account at the end of the month.”
- Then let go of their hand and the letter. The automatic response from them should be “Thank you” or “my pleasure”.
- If there is nothing, then do as you would with children: say “Thank you” which the employee, if they have anything in their noggin, will repeat after you. But with most people this will not be necessary.
- By drawing attention to it and combining it with a sincere thank you, your staff will appreciate the seriousness and will respond accordingly.
Putting it silently in their pay packet is like putting extra money in your child’s piggy bank: they notice there is more there, but think they got “lucky”!
* If you are already becoming Scrooge like and saying “they didn’t contribute this year” then we should be looking at your performance management process.
Nobody should be in your company who is not contributing. Even if it is at a level of “we need somebody to open the post”, that is enough for this situation. All other issues should be addressed in appraisals or performance disciplinaries.