With Thanksgiving around the corner, now is a good time to think carefully about how you show gratitude to your staff for their contributions to the work environment. Research tells us time and time again that many don’t feel they are appreciated for their efforts, particularly as the pace of change accelerates in many organizations, causing long hours and extra demands. Make sure your employees know they are not taken for granted. Tell them, through words and deeds, that you value their presence, their work, and their dedication. Here’s how.
Say “thank you “ in a variety of ways.
While email is quick and easy, the personal nature of a handwritten note or card makes the message more special. Or, make it a point to visit or call each staff person to express your gratitude. Remember to give specific examples of what the employee has done to make a positive difference. Avoid a group email, sent to all staff, which most likely will not have much impact. Individualized attention, intentionally given to each staff, creates more meaning.
Stage an appreciation event.
Host a breakfast, lunch, or special meeting to say, “thank you.” Plan what you want to express, including acknowledgement of individual and team accomplishments. Tell stories of how the group has impacted the people they serve. Better yet, have a client, customer, or patient tell a story or two in person or via video. Consider inviting upper level leaders to attend a meeting to say a few words of thanks to your team. Ensure employees know others value the work they do.
Give an unexpected gift.
While it doesn’t have to be expensive, a token of appreciation will be well received. Gift cards, matched to the interests of each staff person, have great appeal. While appropriate in other instances, avoid giving the organization’s logo wear. Make the gift personal, customized for each individual. This says you have taken the time to know something special about each person.
Arrange for extra time off.
Perhaps the greatest gift you can give to a busy staff during the holiday season is the opportunity to take a little extra time off. Spending more time with family and friends can be a bonus more meaningful than a monetary reward. Arrange for coverage, close the office early, or cover a shift yourself.
Affirming the importance of others is essential to good leadership. Use the momentum of the Thanksgiving season to let your staff know their good work is not overlooked.