- Companies are hiring robots to write thank-you letters to their hardworking employees.
- The idea is to show appreciation to workers amid labor shortages and pandemic pressures.
- Gift cards are also increasingly being sent in place of other items, to avoid supply chain issues.
An ongoing labor shortage plaguing the US has left existing employees under strain at many companies.
Accordingly, business owners are making an extra effort to thank their employees by sending them robot-written thank-you notes.
The machines, described as “gratitude robots,” are created by Handwrytten, which is located in Phoenix, Arizona. The robots pick up pens and write thank-you notes and holiday cards with custom messages.
Handwrytten has 130 robots to meet demand and has sent more than 3.5 million notes.
The company was founded in 2014 by CEO David Wachs.
Each robot features a mechanical arm that holds a Pilot G2 ballpoint pen. To make the cards, operators send vector files to the robots, which include the handwriting design.
“We have companies of all sizes using us to send their notes of thanks and gratitude,” Wachs told Insider.
He added that while most of his customers typically use the service to send notes to clients, there is an increasing trend of customers sending notes of gratitude to their employees. They “often [send them] along with gift cards, thanking them for their hard work during these difficult times,” Wachs added.
Wachs recalled one nutraceutical brand that put together gift boxes for employees during the pandemic and had the robots write them 500 notes to include inside. “Each note was signed by the CEO and thanking them for their hard work and sticking with the company during the pandemic,” he said.
More companies are opting to use the service, as opposed to writing the letters themselves, as it allows them to save time and scale their outreach. On the company website, one customer wrote: “I always want to send thank you cards, but I typically don’t get around to it.”
The robots can also mimic clients’ handwriting styles, taking into account character variation, ligature combinations, line spacing variation, and left margin variation for an authentic look.
With the holiday season fast approaching, Wachs said he is seeing more clients opt to include gift cards, along with the letters to send to their employees too. This is specifically due to an ongoing supply chain crisis, which is making sending gifts much harder, due to low inventory and weeks-long delays to receive items.
As early as August, UPS President Scott Price joked that consumers should “order your Christmas presents now because otherwise on Christmas day, there may just be a picture of something that’s not coming until February or March,” Insider’s Áine Cain and Grace Kay reported.
“By opting for gift cards, the risks of gifts being unavailable is mitigated,” Wachs said.
Last month, Wachs said the company created more than 400,000 pieces for clients, and this month they expect that number to be even higher.
According to Wachs, employees who receive the robot-written letters appear to be very appreciative of them. “We do see clients return to us for this very purpose, so we assume it is an effective tool,” he said.