Charlie Mullins: Happy workers are productive workers

A survey released over the weekend suggests that a well-timed ‘thank you’ from the boss feels as rewarding as a £1,600-a-year pay rise. I’m not so sure that everyone would take gratitude over cash, but it makes a good point that money isn’t the only motivator.

According to the survey, a simple ‘thank you’ can lift workers’ moods and output and even boost company profits. Now that’s something I can agree with. And get the right balance between praise and pay and a business can be onto a winner.

Giving someone a good day’s pay for a good day’s work is at the heart of how our society operates and, despite a few shady characters still paying below the minimum wage, it’s a practice that is serving our society well. 

Simplistically, it gives people the opportunity to aspire to do things like rent or own their home and take holidays. These are the sort of things that get people out of bed in the morning.

However, money really isn’t everything and if people aren’t happy in their work they won’t be productive, which doesn’t do anyone any favours.

There are so many ways in which employers can boost morale and ‘buy-in’ to company ethos beyond remuneration and, as this survey suggests, a timely thank you is one of the most straightforward ways. 

Recently at Pimlico Plumbers we introduced an incentive scheme where, if the company has a good month financially all meals and snacks in our canteen will be free for one day.

It makes good sense for the people entrusted with looking after your customers to be happy and content at work. That’s why when we beat the sales total for the same month the year before, the chilli con carne, roast beef, sandwiches or whatever’s on the menu will be all gratis for a day.

Communicating gratitude to staff is not only the right thing to do; it’s the polite thing to do. Interestingly a fifth of the 2,500 workers questioned for the poll said their bosses were ungrateful or in some cases rude.

I can’t see why employers have to act like 18th century mill owners when they’re interacting with their staff. It’s not productive, but being polite could be one of the best non-financial investments they make, after all manners cost nothing!

Charlie Mullins is CEO and founder of Pimlico Plumbers

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