When Jimmy Fallon sits down to write his weekly thank you notes on “The Tonight Show,” he is mocking a practice that some people may feel is as dated as a ruffled, powder blue tuxedo circa 1981. Jimmy asks James, the keyboard player from The Roots to play some “thank you note-writing music,” as he scribbles on a note card and says something like, “Thank you, work email announcement, for announcing ‘There’s cake in the kitchen…’and for turning everyone in the office from hard-working adults into a pack of rabid hyenas.” “Thank you, Jeopardy,” he writes, “for being the most entertaining way to remind me of how stupid I am.” Of course, Jimmy’s routine is a hilarious way to talk about various pop culture references while also reminding us that no, the traditional custom of hand writing a thank you note is NOT dead.

In healthcare, it’s important to hire the best possible people to provide the highest quality of care for your patients. While many organizations use scientifically validated behavioral assessment software to determine if candidates are a fit for the organization, it’s not the only criteria you should use to see if someone’s a fit.  After you meet with a candidate ask yourself, “Did they send a thank you note?” According to CareerBuilder data, 22 percent of hiring managers are less likely to hire a job candidate if they don’t send a thank you note after an interview because they believe it shows a lack of follow through. “Many job seekers believe that the interview is over once they step out of the office, but that’s simply not the case,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert for TheLadders. “Based on my decade-long experience in conducting interviews, I can attest first-hand that failure to follow-up can be the deciding factor in rejecting a candidate who is otherwise a great fit.”

Another opportunity to benefit from thank you notes is to encourage your managers to send thank you notes to staff for outstanding performance.  Berkshire Health Systems, Lakewood Health System, Southern Ohio Medical Center and Trinity Health System have been named “Best Place to Work” organizations and require their managers to write thank you notes to employees when they exhibit positive behavior.  At Southern Ohio Medical Center, managers are provided with training to give them the skills needed to write an effective thank you note.  According to Vicki Noel, Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development, “Managers’ letters target a specific event and how the employee’s behavior has a positive impact.  The notes are mailed to the employee’s home and the information is captured in the feedback module of our performance management system.”  Employees also receive an email and can make comments which are captured in the performance management system as well.   These are all great examples of organizations reinforcing values of their culture, such as showing appreciation and recognition.

As our world becomes increasingly digitized and mobile, people want simple and instantaneous forms of communication. The times have certainly changed and now it is easier than ever to get in touch; all it takes is a quick email. However, there’s still a place in this world for handwritten notes in our fast-paced society – especially for something as important and personal as a thank you note. Handwritten notes still have a personality and warmth that computer screens and mobile phones will never have.


Do you want to learn more about how healthcare organizations, particularly ‘Best Place to Work’ organizations are recruiting and retaining their top talent for leadership positions?

Download our white paper, Becoming a ‘Best Place to Work’ Organization: Recruiting & Retention Strategies for Healthcare to learn best practices from your award-winning peer organizations.  


About Meghan Doherty

Meghan Doherty is a content marketing professional based in the Greater Boston area. She has more than five years of experience creating and managing content for SaaS companies in the healthcare and talent management spaces.