An article from the Harvard Business Review mentioned an employee losing a promotion opportunity after he chose not to reply to a email from his superior that complimented his performance. The employee said he did not believe a follow up or thank you email was necessary.
In my mind it would have only been acceptable the employee to not respond if he had sent a written thank you or thanked him in person instead. It takes less than 60 seconds to respond to an email and even if the response wasn’t as heartfelt as the email he received, at least it lets the sender know he received it. The CEO who emailed the employee took the time to write a personal, thoughtful email. To not receive even a quick thank you response seems unappreciative. Since the employee didn’t end up receiving a promotion based on this one interaction, it is obviously important.
Saying thank you goes beyond just words. It says you acknowledge the other person, respect that they took the time to do or write something nice and believe they are important enough to deserve a response.
I still believe in the importance of traditional handwritten cards or thank you notes. Taking an extra couple minutes to write a little note – it doesn’t have to be long, shows thoughtfulness and is more personal than a text or email. With everything revolving around technology now, it’s nice to take a moment to do something personal.