Book Review: The Power of Thanks

Authors Derek Irvine and Eric Moseley Discuss how Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Great Place to Work

It turns out that almost everything you need to know about management you really did learn in kindergarten. Saying “thank you” is not just polite, it’s also an effective tool for engaging your staff while driving the exact behaviors and values you need to grow your business.

In their book, “The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Great Place to Work,” authors Derek Irvine and Eric Mosley, from Globoforce, an employee-engagement consulting firm, make a powerful case for the simple act of saying, “Thank you.” Combining real-world examples from leading companies with academic research, the authors show how a well-crafted employee-recognition program can help you manage your business and boost your bottom line.

For example, ConAgra Foods combines data from its social recognition program with demographic data to predict previously unknowable business trends, such as attrition. IM Flash, a tech company, uses the data from its program to measure various aspects of company culture and connect them to business outcomes. And this is just the beginning. According to the authors, an effective recognition program can:

  • Inspire greater employee engagement and loyalty
  • Build stronger, more unified teams and connections
  • Foster a creative, innovative company culture
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Increase profits and improve organizational health

The key to achieving all of these benefits is to create your recognition program the same way you would plan and execute any other strategic initiative. That means it has to come from the top, with a clear set of quantifiable goals and metrics. It also needs to be tailored to reflect your company’s unique objectives and values while resonating with your entire staff.

Much of this book is devoted to examples from Fortune 500 companies — Bechtel, The Hershey Company and Intuit, to name a few. But the authors provide a clear, actionable guide that companies of any size can follow.

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