According to the late Renn Zaphiropoulos, the former CEO of the silicon valley high tech company Versatec, “Everybody should have an elephant.” By that he meant everyone should have an elephant-sized amount of enthusiasm for their work and an elephant-sized amount of recognition for what they do at work. True to his words, Zaphiropoulos once donned a satin costume and rode around his company’s parking lot atop an elephant while the Stanford University marching band played alongside. He used this occasion to champion their impressive financial results and to pass out bonus checks, backing up yet another one of his beliefs: “If you’re going to give someone a check, don’t just mail it. Have a celebration!”
Bringing a live elephant into work might not work for, well, anyone. While you don’t need an elephant, you do need to trumpet people’s success on your team, lest they pack their trunk and leave for another waterhole.
A Human Resource Management and Watson Worldwide survey found that 88% of employees cited a lack of acknowledgement as their top workplace issue, while 70% of employees said it was the reason they left their job! Conversely, a study reported in Workforce Magazine found that regular recognition is linked to higher productivity, reduced employee turnover and increased job satisfaction. And a 10-year study by Gostick and Elton of more than 200,000 managers and employees found that simply saying, “thank-you” on a regular basis translated into higher profits.
Short of passing this message onto your boss as a gentle reminder, what can a thankless employee do? Perhaps more than you think. Several studies suggest that thanks are highly contagious: When you genuinely thank someone they are more likely to pass thanks onto another person. . . and before long, the entire herd is swinging in unison.
Michael Kerr, Humor at Work. March, 2014.
“Just wanted to say “WOW!” Our group has had many speakers over the years, but none the likes of Mike Kerr.”
Richard Dansereau, President, NAPA Autopro BDG
“Michael Kerr is one of the best speakers I have seen. I highly recommend him!”
Veronica D. Bouvier, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Aspen Properties Ltd.
“Mike held the full attention of our senior management team for a full FOUR hour
presentation – no small accomplishment!”
Martine Rothblatt, CEO, United Therapeutics