Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on all the things you’re grateful for – family, friends, and, of course, that delicious turkey right in front of you – but as a business owner, this gratitude should extend to your employees. They keep clients happy, prospects impressed and the day-to-day grind so much more enjoyable. Of course they deserve your thanks!
But, as the weeks, months, and crunch times get crazy – especially as we wind down the year — it’s easy to forget how impactful a simple “thank you” or expression of gratitude can be. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is upon us, and there’s no time like the present to begin saying “thanks!” Here are a few of our go-to employee gratitude strategies to turn that office potluck into a meaningful, motivating employee experience.
1. Give a toast
If you are having that office potluck (lucky you!), kick it off with a nice toast showing how much you appreciate your employees and highlight some milestone successes you’ve seen this year. You can keep this vague – congratulating the agency as a whole – or go targeted, calling out those who have gone above and beyond with their work this quarter. This is a great motivator, any time of the year. It’s especially appropriate around the holidays.
2. Make Friday your “thanks” day
As we go through the week, time gets tight and deadlines grow like wildfire. I realize that. But come Friday – the sometimes slower weekday – take time to go through your team’s weekly accomplishments and send a quick note showing them appreciation. This can be weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, but scheduling some time in your calendar to reflect on employees you should be thankful for will keep you accountable – and your employees motivated.
3. Give a “shout out” when it’s due
While sure, we all “pretend” to hate the spotlight, sometimes it’s fun to be recognized among your peers! Translate this into your weekly or monthly agency meetings, highlighting those employees who have been total “rock stars” for your firm. Try to mix up who you appreciate when, of course, but giving proper praise when it’s due – and in public – will ensure employees feel rewarded regularly.
4. Offer a “token of thanks”
Verbal praise typically fits the bill, but if you’re looking to go above and beyond for an above-and-beyond employee, you can take it one step further with a small token of thanks. It doesn’t have to cost a lot – it’s truly the gesture that counts and will be remembered. This could be a $10 Starbucks gift card or a lunch on the agency — any sort of out-of-the-box expression of gratitude will have your rock star grinning ear to ear (and feeling truly appreciated).
5. Share your gratitude with senior leadership
If you’re managing teams but have a manager yourself, don’t forget to include your own boss on gratitude emails. While it’s great to have appreciation coming from a direct manager, younger employees feel particularly proud when senior-level bosses and CEOs can see their successes. This is as simple as hitting “cc” – but can do wonders for employee morale. And, it’s always a great way to make sure that the ‘powers that be’ are aware of everyone’s efforts.
Sure, it’s easy to get in a work rhythm, knowing your team will be there to perform outstanding work daily, but taking a step back and putting your gratitude into words or action will ensure employees feel valued and fulfilled this Thanksgiving and beyond!