Thnks is a company that, at the most superficial level, makes it easy to give business gifts, but scratch the surface and you find a company that is really about evangelizing gratitude as a core business value. Anthony Leonard, Director Recruitment & Engagement at Thnks, is something close to the chief evangelist, since he oversees hiring the team which should be personifying gratitude as a value.
Gratitude is an ascendant value in business today, perhaps because of the well publicized stories of toxic superstars who have crashed successful startups by driving away talent and creating scandals. We asked Anthony Leopard about the internal culture of Thnks, and whether the results-driven business world is ready to become grateful.
The opening sentence on the Thnks career page is “Are you a thoughtful and appreciative person?” Is the secret of building a good corporate culture simply to hire nice people with good manners?
Anthony Leonard: Yes and no. A great candidate has to be well-rounded and bring something to the table on top of being nice with good manners. A perfect candidate simply can’t have one over the other. I have seen many talented individuals not be a team player due to their lack of kindness and gratitude so, here at Thnks these values are a necessity in order for a successful collaborative environment.
The mission that Thnks has given itself is to make gratitude a central part of relationship building. How does that mission influence Thnks work culture?
Anthony Leonard: When you make gratitude an essential part of your culture, you get to witness gratitude being adapted outside of HR and required team events. Since implementing gratitude as an integral part of Thnks, I’ve seen colleagues interacting with each other in a way I’ve never seen before. Our slack channels are booming daily with people wishing each other Happy Birthday, shouting out on a job well done for a closed deal, and other fun office comradery. The break room is filled with laughter and conversation and people truly love who they work with here. We have non-mandatory volunteer days to help out around our community and everyone jumps at the opportunity to be a part of them, even though they are not required. We even have team members who have recently formed a kick-ball team and non-players just show up to cheer everyone on. These aren’t just one off stories, the culture naturally evolved into this new way of working due to hiring team members who demonstrate kindness and gratitude in their daily lives. With the right team members, you can create a company culture that doesn’t just clock in and clock out.
You played football for Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn, and Thnks is headquartered in Franklin, Tenn. My personal experience from traveling through Tennessee is that people there are very nice, polite and helpful. Is that just me being nostalgic, or is that why Thnks is located in Tennessee?
Anthony Leonard: Southern hospitality is a real thing. I was born and raised in Tennessee and when I was brought onto Thnks, our CEO, Brendan Kamm, told me his vision for the future of the company when moving it from New York to Franklin. The culture that exists here in Tennessee meshes really well with the culture of gratitude that Thnks strives to have, which definitely factored into the move. Thnks promotes spreading gratitude in the workplace and I knew I had to be a part of this mission.
You’re in a leadership role at a tech company founded on building relationships through gratitude, but how well do you think startups in general are showing gratitude to staff, clients, and partners? How receptive are they to what Thnks is offering?
Anthony Leonard: Spreading gratitude internally and externally is important and the Thnks platform helps bring that to the business world. Business is often lacking gratitude and with more companies working remote or hybrid, it is an essential piece to retaining staff, clients and partners. Other companies have been extremely receptive and adapted our mission of spreading gratitude and because of that we have grown tremendously over a short period of time.
Want to add anything I haven’t asked about?
Anthony Leonard: We’re hiring! Check out more on the Thnks career page.