Say thanks. Give thanks.

A simple thank you is vital component of employee engagement.

Saying thank you is a really easy thing to do and often has a huge impact on the person you are thanking. This is exactly why the employee engagement working group wants to inspire more people to say thank you more often.

"In my 20 years of business leadership, I have found one of the best pathways to success is creating an environment where everyone feels welcome, they know their participation is valued and they rally around a common objective to do amazing things," says Colin Rush, associate vice-president for Business Development. "Taking the time to say a meaningful thank-you for someone's efforts is one of the easiest ways to motivate people to participate and give their best efforts."

As the employee engagement working group chair, Rush took a bit of extra time earlier this year to surprise his team members with a thank you message and gift.

"In our high-tech environment where we are bombarded with texts, emails and quick appreciation notes, these efforts are often lost among our daily information overload. That personal touch from a small gift to a hand written note is exceedingly rare in our efforts to do more with less," says Rush.

"For me to say thank-you to my engagement team was a natural effort I would have frankly done for most of the groups I lead, however I felt it was important to convey to this team that building a culture of appreciation starts with everyone," he says.

According to Betty Mutwiri, director of Human Resources Strategy Development, ensuring each employee feels appreciated and recognized for the work they do is part of fostering engagement among staff and faculty.

"The recognition survey from staff and faculty reinforced the need for informational sincere acknowledgements done frequently as being key to increasing engagement."

Mutwiri shares saying thank you, and encouraging others to say thank you to their staff and colleagues, it is a really easy way to remind people they are a valuable member of the team.

"There's a quote from Max de Pree in which he states, 'the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant,'" says Mutwiri. "I like that quote as it alludes to the role of the leader engaging people in a shared vision and serving them and not forgetting to say thank you. It's a simple thing that makes a world of difference."

This is the second instalment in a series highlighting Saskatchewan Polytechnic employee engagement. Our goal is to be an employer of choice, to be a great place to work. We strive to have a vibrant, healthy and safe workplace where employees thrive. We want to attract the best and the brightest and, once they become a part of the community, they stay.