The Bagg Group Highlights the Extraordinary Power of the Pen


We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s the little things that count.”  And in the workplace that applies as much as anywhere else. 

The proof?  A full 61% of Canadians said that a handwritten personal note of praise has more value than any other form of communication, according to a recent study by Bic Inc.

The study found a handwritten note “produces an immediate and positive reaction among employees,” says Bic handwriting expert Elaine Charal.   

In an age where most of us type faster than we can write, a handwritten note is undeniable evidence that someone made significant time and effort to acknowledge you. 

It’s an act that stands out in a world where we are used to quickly, and without much real thought, clicking on “like” to indicate our thumbs up.   

Having interviewed thousands of people over more than 40 years of successfully placing candidates in full-time positions, contract work and temporary placements in the GTA, recruiters at The Bagg Group know how much recognition matters.  It tops the list for employee satisfaction.

Strangely enough, no matter how talented, sophisticated, and senior we are, there’s still the kid in all of us that thrills to a handwritten “fantastic” like it was a gold star on our homework. 

It’s truly one of those old-time small gestures that can still pack a punch and fuel the drive and commitment of employees in the 21st century. 

Douglas R. Conant, the recently retired president and CEO of the Campbell Soup company, wrote about this in his latest book, Touchpoints:  Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments.

In the book, Conant and co-author Mette Norgaard insist a leader’s impact and legacy are built through hundreds, even thousands, of interactive moments in time.

In a blog for the Harvard Business Review, Conant sums up that experience taught him the three key rules for building relationships –all deceptively simple but extraordinarily valuable.

1.  Make a personal connection early on.  Conant found that a two-way conversation about personal philosophy, background, values, even favourite quotes, goes a long way to relationship-building—and employee retention.

2. Look for opportunities to celebrate:  Conant and his executive assistants spent 30 to 60 minutes a day scanning his mail and internal website for news of employees worthy of a pat on a back. 

At The Bagg Group, we can’t emphasize enough to our clients across the GTA how championing team and individual achievements helps lift workplace spirit in a way that money just can’t buy.

3.Get out your pen.   Conant says he sent roughly 30,000 handwritten notes over a decade to employees, from maintenance staff to senior executives.   He writes:  “It’s the least you can do for people who do things to help your company and industry.  On the face of it, writing handwritten notes may seem like a waste of time. But in my experience, they build goodwill and lead to higher productivity.”

As we all work on a quest to achieve a paperless office, it may be worthwhile to keep some paper for the personal note.   Sometimes the little things can be just the things employees want to stick around for.

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