Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Try a Facebook variation of the old-fashioned thank-you note for a job well done, writes Tommy Weir. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Try a Facebook variation of the old-fashioned thank-you note for a job well done, writes Tommy Weir. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Go old school in a digital age

By expressing their appreciation on Facebook posts, employers can lift the morale of those who work for them.


I was enjoying lunch with a lieutenant-colonel from the British army, when he told me how he kept his troops motivated while out on mission under difficult circumstances.

Knowing that the long days and years of being away from home and family were taking a toll on his troops, he believed it was important to "capture their hearts" to keep them motivated.

Rather than relying on sophisticated motivational tools, he reverted to the old school approach of writing notes of appreciation. He even took pictures with them completing their tasks. Capturing their hearts came by what he did next. Instead of giving the notes and pictures directly to his soldiers, he sent them to their families spreading the recognition beyond the base.

Listening to his story immediately made me wonder, should leaders write on their employee's Facebook walls?

Before being corrupted by technology, giving handwritten notes of appreciation for employees' hard work was actually taught as an act of motivation. It worked - there are countless stories of employees taking these notes home to proudly share with their loved ones.

They made their way to the dinner table, where the employee shared them with their spouses and children. In some homes, they were prominently hung on the refrigerator next to schoolwork. The employees were so proud to have received this recognition that they showed it off. Unfortunately, we have largely done away with handwritten notes in our digital era and the subsequent act of capturing employees' hearts is disappearing with it.

This idea of writing on their wall was triggered in my mind by the inspirational leadership acts of Grahame Maher. He was the chief executive of Vodafone Qatar before his untimely passing in November 2010 at the age of 51. Grahame was a leader who had a purpose - to make a difference for people.

He placed people firmly in the centre of the business and modelled it for all to see. His employees were shocked when Grahame personally welcomed them to Vodafone. He would casually sit down with them during orientation and have very relaxed conversations with his new recruits. Grahame was an approachable leader. This was not limited to orientating the new staff - every day he went out of his way to talk with employees at all levels in the organisation.

What fascinated me about his story is that his employees took their picture with him, then put it on Facebook, tagging Grahame in the photo. They were proudly showing off their boss. If simply taking a photo with the boss captured their heart, how much more would a note from you on their wall? I could see Grahame doing this had he thought of it.

I know the argument that many have against this idea - "I don't want to be friends with my employees on Facebook. I want to have a private life."

Fine then, set up a work version of your Facebook page that you use only for colleagues and employees. Then write away. Do not let your need for some privacy stand in the way of capturing your employees' heart and motivating them.

A simple message: "Great work today" or "I'm proud of the way that you delivered on this project", posted for the world to see will have a huge benefit. This inspirational act of recognition will translate into your employees putting more heart into the already long hours.


Tommy Weir is an authority on fast-growth and emerging-market leadership, an adviser and the author of The CEO Shift. He is the founder of the Emerging Markets Leadership Center

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Miele coffee maker making Cappuccino at Miele Gallery in Sama Tower in Dubai. The cost of this coffee maker is around Dh 17,000. Pawan Singh / The National

Space-age coffee comes at a price from Miele

Miele have taken the coffee machine to a new level with its Dh17,000 offering that is built into your kitchen.

 The bridge of Seajacks Hydra, as the wind farm installation vessel undergoes finishing touches and testing works at Lamprell’s Hamriyah facility in Sharjah before its planned delivery on June 2, 2014. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Building the Seajacks Hydra

The Seajacks Hydra, a wind farm installation vessel, is undergoing finishing touches and testing works at Lamprell’s Hamriyah facility in Sharjah before its planned delivery on June 2, 2014.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 The rush of new supply of hotel rooms pushed Dubai occupancy rates down to 87 per cent. Sarah Dea / The National

Dubai hotel room rates rise 10 per cent

The rush of new supply pushed occupancy rates down to 87 per cent, a dip of 2.6 per cent from the previous year. Winter months are the strongest for Dubai hotels, with occupancy and prices falling to half their peaks by July.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National