I received a hand written thank you note for a project I did a few months ago. It was not only a pleasant surprise, but one that has maintained some impact after several months. I’m of the age that when I first started in work, we used to give recognition through hand written cards and notes on a regular (ok, maybe not so regular) basis. With the advent of e-mail and electronic forms of communication, the hand written thank you has gone the way of the pay phone – not quite dead, but pretty close.
There is something very special about a letter or note or thank you that is written by hand. It has a lot of stickiness in today’s electronic world – it stands out from the crowd. It also provides a sense of real appreciation – one that has taken a little bit of extra effort to do.
We did work with a large med device company this spring in which we interviewed a number of their sales people. These people were very highly compensated, had significant incentive earning opportunities, and fantastic recognition programs (valued at $10,000s of dollars). What struck me, was the impact that one VP of Sales had by writing hand written letters of appreciation to his top performers. One sales person went so far as to frame the letter and had it hanging in his office (note – he did not have the plaques or other awards that he earned up in his office). These letters had a greater recognition value and motivational impact than some programs that cost millions of dollars to the company.
So please excuse me, I’m going to go write a few thank you’s by hand.