The Power of a Handwritten Note

As a social experiment, someone in San Francisco wanted to understand the power of a handwritten letters. People interviewed generally responded that they;

  • Get a lot of emails
  • Feel an overload of information
  • Are unexcited about getting an email
  • Have not received a handwritten letter in years (if ever)

Importantly, with handwritten letters, they felt “fuzzy”, “overjoyed”, “more appreciated”, and “more personal and intimate”.

I feel that there is a take out here for good Human Resources practices…

With the sentiments of today, many companies face a manpower crunch and retaining staff is a constant challenge. Take a moment and consider why employees leave. Some of the usual responses include; “It doesn’t feel good around here” and “They wouldn’t miss me if I were gone”. These response come down to one basic point; the lack of appreciation.

Perhaps you do show your staff appreciation, however, how is it done? A simple pat on the back or maybe an email to say “good job”?

The question that I am asking now is: Is that enough?

Sure, employees want better benefits, more compensation, and opportunities to use their abilities. Challenges, empowerment and growth are important too. However, they also want better  relationships, more meaning to what they are doing and, yes, heartfelt appreciation.

Think about the last time you got a handwritten note or letter? How did you feel? Perhaps you kept it? I know I did. Did you ever pull it out to read whenever you felt down? Then ask yourself, have you ever handwritten a note to someone in your company to thank them, to praise them? What effects would that have on that person?

Am I being overly simplistic on this matter? Perhaps so. One handwritten note is not going to save your company from staff turnover. The fundamentals that staff are looking for still needs to be present. However, start hand-writing those important thank you notes. Start that culture of appreciation. You will be surprised at how surprised the recipients are. You will love how appreciated they would feel after that.

Check out the video of that social experiment here.

Courtesy: Flickr - Yandle

Courtesy: Flickr – Yandle

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