Showing Appreciation: Going Beyond the Obvious


If you are a human resources manager, you naturally rely on a lot of people in your organization to get things done. And it’s natural to show your gratitude to people who have helped you. But when it comes to showing appreciation, business consultants caution that you should look beyond the obvious people to those who might not immediately come to mind, but whose help has nonetheless been important.

Mentors are people often overlooked when it comes to showing appreciation, according to business strategist Dorie Clark. This might happen because they are not around on a regular basis. But the advice they give can make a big difference in your performance. Having a more senior manager in your corner to offer advice and encouragement is a real stroke of good fortune and should not be taken for granted.

When considering people to thank, don’t ignore a person just because it may have been a while since he or she helped you, Clark says. Even though you may not have seen the person in a number of years, he or she almost certainly will be glad to hear from you. Clark relates a story about a person who wrote a thank you note to a college professor a few years after she graduated. He was touched that she remembered him.

Also, remember support staff, Clark says. If someone important has helped you, in addition to thanking that person, think about the people under him or her who may have made his or her efforts possible.

The method of thanks that is the most personal and has the most impact is a handwritten note. The note should include specific details about what the person did that was helpful to you.

If you want to send a gift as a way of showing your appreciation, you need to keep in mind any legal restrictions that may apply because of the person’s position, or any ethical considerations – something that may pose the appearance of a conflict of interest, for example.

Also, when sending a gift, it is best to take into account the recipient’s interests, Clark says. If the person is a big football fan, for example, getting him football tickets probably would be greatly appreciated. If the person you wish to thank is more inclined toward the arts, or something cultural, a ticket to a symphony or an art exhibition would be more appropriate.

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