Six Suggestions for How to Thank Your Employees

Six Suggestions for How to Thank Your Employees

Focus Data Solutions hopes you enjoyed a restful and enjoyable Labor Day holiday.  As the long weekend that marks the end of summer, many of us gathered at barbecues, enjoyed the last weekend at the pool or finished our first-day-of-school preparations. We may not have spent much time paying tribute to American workers for their contributions to the “strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country,” as the holiday intends. No worries. It’s never too late to focus on worker appreciation, and we have some suggestions about how to recognize your company’s employees for their hard work.

TECHPol has discussed the value of employee engagement and ideas for achieving it (see blog post: Employee Satisfaction:  Where Do You Rank?).  The benefits of happy employees are many: reduced absenteeism, less burn out and lower stress, as well as better problem-solving, more creativity and enhanced collaboration. It’s intuitive, but also documented, that being appreciated for a job well done is a key component of employee happiness. A survey of American employees by Globoforce reveals that workers who receive recognition are more satisfied, motivated to work harder, and less likely to leave their job. This is confirmed by Salesforce research showing that 69% of employees worked harder when they felt they were appreciated, and 54% of employees would quit working at a company where they didn’t feel appreciated. So it seems like a good idea to offer up a few more “thank yous” around the office.

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There are many ways to recognize employees for good work.  The size and culture of your workplace might make some tactics more workable than others.  Whatever methods you choose, it’s important that recognition is frequent enough to make it meaningful in order to inure the benefits.

Let’s consider some options:

1.  Put Your Thanks into Words.  Pretty straightforward.  Vocalizing your appreciation by directly thanking an employee is effective.  A face-to-face conversation is always good.  A handwritten note can also demonstrate a heartfelt gesture.  Even an email or sticky note on a computer is nice.  It’s important to be prompt, deliberate and specific about what the person did that earned your gratitude.

2.  Offer Public Recognition.  Tell others about an employee’s or team’s good work; perhaps at a staff meeting, on a company bulletin board, in a newsletter or via a group email.

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3.  Encourage Coworkers to Show Appreciation to Each Other.  If a coworker praises an employee, and the boss hears about it, then the boss should acknowledge the good work. You might institute a recognition or reward program that allows coworkers to nominate each other as deserving of a company gesture of thanks. Such efforts cultivate a company-wide culture of appreciation.

4. Give a Reward That Improves Work-Life Balance.  Some 80% of workers would appreciate more flexible work options.  There are many ways to provide flexibility, and giving a little extra as a reward for hard work will likely be appreciated. A reward could include an early departure or late arrival, an extra vacation day, a day to work from home, or an extra-long lunch break. Reducing an employee’s workload is a nice reward too — the boss can take one of the employee’s less pleasant tasks and do it for them!

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5.  Provide Personalized Rewards.  Think about the things that are important to your employees and structure rewards accordingly. Some might enjoy movie tickets, others may value a gift card to their favorite store, an exercise class, a spa treatment, or a donation to the charity of their choice.  A more personalized reward will show that you not only appreciate their work, but also care about them as individuals.

6.  Invest in General Staff Appreciation.  In addition to individual or team acknowledgment, show your employees that you value them every day by making investments in a more pleasant office environment.  Stock the kitchen with snacks, offer gourmet coffee, buy donuts on Fridays or a staff lunch (food is usually a winner).  Give time off when you it’s easy — open late or close early on special days. Host an out-of-office gathering. Designate casual days or bring-your-pet-to-work days. A variety of perks can address the interests of different employees.

The great thing about employee appreciation is that it doesn’t have to cost a dime and there are myriad ways to show thanks.  But, don’t just do it once a year around Labor Day or at bonus time. A sustained effort to make your employees feel good about the work they do will earn loyalty that is priceless.