Gratitude can be the simplest and most direct way to foster an organization of employees who feel valued, engaged, and driven by purpose. A thousand studies exist detailing how employee recognition can reinforce employee loyalty and boost productivity—but it’s just common sense when it comes down to it.
If you tell your employees how grateful you are for them, you’ll see them find greater purpose in their roles, dive deeper into their work, and have them feel like their effort matters. It’s the same in our relationships. Ignore what someone does for you, or feel ignored yourself, and those relationships will suffer.
With the holidays upon us, now is a great time to work in some gratitude to your weekly to-do list. Try these four ideas to get the gratitude flowing.
1. Share it
One great way to show an employee some gratitude is to share it on social media from your company page. Boast about their talent, what they’ve done for your organization, and how grateful you are for their hard work. The public nature of this form of gratitude makes it all the more valuable. You aren’t just telling all of your employees and your followers about them, but you’re speaking to their entire network. By building someone up publicly, you’re:
- Displaying a beautiful part of your company culture for all to see
- Celebrating someone on your team who deserves the applause
- Setting an example of what you value within your organization that others can emulate
- Publicly demonstrating your company values
While this type of gratitude is simple and doesn’t take a ton of effort on your end, it can mean a lot to an employee who wasn’t expecting it. Have fun with it and remember to spread the love to more than one employee.
2. Make it a team effort
Peer recognition can be a wonderful thing. But how do you encourage it within your team? Consider creating a company-wide recognition program where colleagues nominate one another for different prizes. The prizes don’t have to be big—it’s the thought that counts for these types of things. It can be a fun way to get employees thanking each other, and to foster a sense of team spirit and camaraderie.
Weave the announcements into a spot at your annual holiday party, in your company newsletter, or at monthly team meetings. It’ll be a fun way for employees to build each other up and celebrate one another’s contributions.
3. The gift of cash
You might know the saying “cold hard cash”. For most people, receiving money is neither cold nor hard (especially if it comes attached to a handwritten note or a heartfelt message). In challenging times (which this year has definitely served us), pure compensation can make a real difference in someone’s holiday. For instance, their spouse may have lost work due to the pandemic, or they might have a sick child, or they may have lost value in the volatile stock market. Whatever the case, cash can be an effective way to give back a little of the value you received from an employee. If you don’t have extra cash to give out, consider including a note with their holiday bonus (if they receive one) or a gift card to a store.
4. The gift of time
Another great way to show appreciation is to provide employees with an extra day or two of PTO. Spending extra time with the family or going on a fun weekend trip goes a long way in boosting employee energy and engagement. Having time to rest and do something fun can be one of the most valuable gifts for employees who are used to working hard just to get those few extra days off.
However they choose to use their PTO, they’ll associate the free time with you and the gratitude you showed them.
Don’t hold back
Showing gratitude never gets old.
You can’t overdo it.
You can’t thank someone enough.
You may never know the extra hours your employees put in under the radar on projects, or the late nights they spent making something perfect, or the customers they went out of their way to please. Employees do this on their own, often without people telling them—and displays of gratitude keep them going above and beyond for you. Gratitude opens up a two-way street, where thankfulness flows back and forth, driving loyalty, satisfaction, and purpose.
Photo by christianchan
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