The Base Of The Program: The ‘Thank You Card"
The ‘Thank You Card’ is an internal gratitude program we started that allows employees to show thanks and appreciation to other employees. We have two different types of Thank You’s: those that are internal, meaning someone from Hollywood Branded is thanking another HB team member, and those Thank You’s that come from clients. We use simply formatted cards to express our thanks.
Here’s an image of the Internal Thank You card, which are the size of business cards. As you can see, we keep it short and sweet: who is being thanked, who’s doing the thanking, and what is the person being thanked for.
Here’s an image of the Client Thank You card used when it's clients that are doing the thanking... more on that a little later.
Once the Thank You card is filled out, it’s dropped into the appropriate bejeweled box. We have three different boxes. One is for full-time employees, one is for interns, and one is for Thank You’s that come directly from clients.
The full-time employees box is, you guessed it, where the Thank You’s to the full-time employees go. So, if an intern is thanking an employee or an employee is thanking another employee, it will go in this box.
The intern box is, of course, where the Thank You’s to the interns are dropped off, whether they be from an employee or fellow intern.
The Client Thank You box is where we the Thank You’s from clients go.
This one works a little differently as we don’t have often have clients in-house writing down their thanks. Instead, if a client expresses extreme gratitude or praise about a particular campaign or video edit a team member has done, someone from the HB team takes the liberty of writing out that Thank You on behalf of the client to the team member responsible.
It’s not uncommon to have a few weeks go by of this box collecting dust as, I believe many agencies can relate, we often don’t get our clients’ feedback unless it’s a panicked, "No! Why did they cancel the shoot!?". And we get it. Our programs are supposed to run effortlessly for the client, so they don't feel the need to say "thank you" in a big way, because in their viewpoint, we're just doing our job they hired us for. And that's why they keep hiring us for new projects. But when there is that big, “This is AWESOME – thank you!!!!” from the client, we make sure it’s recognized by the whole team. Welcome to agency life!
What People Thank Each Other For
This truly runs the gamut. Because really... we don't CARE if someone is being thanked for doing just something so awesome and above expectations, or if they just jumped in and did something little. Because the end result is the same. A token of appreciation is provided, and someone's spirit is uplifted by the gesture of receiving a card acknowledging them.
Of course, the original intention was for professional thanks and recognition, which are the most common: “Thank you for editing that client report so quickly,” “Awesome job on landing that new client,” “Great job settling that production issue,” or “Excellent job leading that client call with XYZ.”
But we also often throw in ones like, “Thanks for helping me carry product to my car before that set drop-off,” “Thanks for bringing in bagels,” “Thanks for covering for me while I was on vaca,” etc.
However, because we can’t help ourselves, not a single drawing goes by without a couple on non-professional thanks thrown in there as well like, “Thank you for sharing that story about your embarrassing date,” or “Thank you for finally shutting up about your team beating mine in the finals!”
And Then What: The Drawing Process
Every other week during our team meeting, we do the drawing from all three boxes.
There are two winners chosen from the intern box, one winner chosen from the employee box, and one winner chosen from the client box. However, the winners aren’t revealed right away.
Because who wins on a bi-weekly basis is actually less important than this next step.
Instead, after a winner(s) is pulled out from the box, we hold on to that winning card(s), careful not to reveal what it says. We then distribute the rest of the cards at random to all the team members and each go around the table reading aloud all of the Thank You’s. And that's the magic of this program. People LIKE to hear their name called out. And if you don't hear your name called out often, it is a self driver that gets people to step up to the plate to more actively help in the following weeks, because everyone naturally wants to be a winner.
Once all the cards for that box have been read, we have a quick but loud table drum-roll and reveal the winner(s).
And it’s very easy to spot when it’s someone’s first time experiencing the drawing because even though we always brief newcomers on this practice, writing out a ‘Thank You’ card isn’t always top of mind. However, when you’re sitting there during the Thank You readings, realizing that you didn’t thank anyone, regret sets in real quick and you learn to make this process a habit. The trick is to keep a stack of cards at your desk so the second something Thank You-Worthy happens, you can write it down.
And it makes everyone on the tip more accountable to give thanks... and to do things to get thanks too.
What You Win
We’re playing for some good stuff! Our CEO came up with this concept so the first time we pulled winners we truly didn’t know what to expect, and I speak for everyone when I say we were pleasantly surprised.
Each winner pulls an unmarked envelope from this box with a gift card inside. They’re valued between $25-$100, or possibly an actual 'item' that is valued more, and the gift card can be to anywhere. So far just to name a few, we’ve seen Starbucks, Amazon, Nordstrom’s, PF Chang’s, and Fleming’s.
Why We Love It
It’s certainly arguable that we’ve become a more conscientious office because the incentive to earn a 'Thank You' card is there.
However, more than that this lighthearted activity has become a real staple in our office. We all look forward to that drawing, not so much to see who’s going home a winner, but more so to quickly celebrate the appreciation we have for each other.
And it is easy in an office to forget to say "thanks". And for some people, it actually doesn't come easily to say those words out loud. It's easier to talk about something that needs fixing than to remember to take notice and help build someone up. But this program does that - in a majory way.
Not that we even needed it, but it’s really boosted team moral. It’s that one time of the week where we’re not discussing a campaign that’s gone awry or a report that needs to be done. Instead it’s a time where we only focus on the good and reflect on the appreciation we have for one another.
And that, is our Thank You Box program.
Take This Idea And Run With It
While you may not be in our office and able to participate in this program - it is something you can steal as an idea for your own agency or business. We've seen other agencies take this on and adapt it for their own purposes, and gotten feedback that it is working well in major ways.