The holiday season is a great time of the year to show your gratitude. Here are some ways you can show employees you’re thankful for their great work.
1. Spend time with them
The best way to show people you appreciate them is to give them some time out of your busy schedule. Whether it’s sitting together in the company lounge, eating lunch together, going for a walk, or going on a company outing, people appreciate leaders who are personally interested in them. Show your gratitude by taking employees to their favorite lunch spots, planning a group event that aligns with their personal interests, or simply taking a moment to say hello when they arrive at work.
2. Get to know new employees
As part of your employee onboarding experience, schedule time to sit down one-on-one with each new hire. Introduce yourself, explain what good things you’ve heard about them from coworkers or referrals, and how you’re glad they decided to join your team. This talk gives you the opportunity to learn about one another and establish a personal connection that (1) demonstrates the value you place on them and (2) sets the tone for your working relationship. Starting the relationship from a place of graciousness and appreciation is the first step in nurturing a productive professional relationship.
3. Send thank-you notes
Thank-you notes are a rarity these days, which makes receiving one a special occasion in itself. Hand-writing a brief note thanking your employees for their contributions demonstrates that they are important to you. Not everyone takes the time to hand-write a thank-you note, but their boss does! The holiday season and employee anniversaries are especially great times to send personal thank-you notes to team members.
4. Tell people what specifically you value about them
However you intend to show your gratitude, be specific. Explicitly stating why you appreciate your employees is more impactful than standard “thank you for your hard work” comments. Focus on the unique skills or accomplishments for each employee to maximize the impact of your expression of thanks. If you can’t think of something specific to say to a certain employee, ask their coworkers for their thoughts on recent accomplishments, unique skills or knowledge, or other things that will stand out. Take notice of why each person is uniquely valuable to you and take care to remind them of their unique value.
5. Maintain eye contact when conversing
During face-to-face interactions, maintain a healthy amount of eye contact when conversing with an employee. Looking away, checking your phone, or never directly facing a person is an indicator of disinterest. You express active interest in the conversation when you look someone in the eye.
6. Give employees a gift
Consider giving a gift to all of your employees as a token of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant. Company-branded clothing or consumable products such as seasonal treats are inexpensive and more likely to be used than fancier gifts. You’re offering something unexpected as a sign of gratitude, so even if you don’t pick out the perfect gift that’s loved by all, the gift will be something your team members appreciate.
7. Organize a dinner or party to show your gratitude
A thank-you dinner or Thanksgiving party is another excellent way to thank employees for being great team members. Restaurant outings give employees some choice in what they eat, ensuring everyone appreciates the product of your gratitude, not just the intention. Alternatively, private company-hosted parties can offer a more intimate environment where employees feel more relaxed than they would in a public restaurant.
8. Invite people to your house for Thanksgiving
Some employees may not have family to visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. Others—especially recent college graduates who relocated for their job—may have too great a distance to travel to see loved ones over the holiday break. Open your home to employees so they have somewhere to go with people whose company they enjoy. You may not have any takers, but if you do they will be very thankful to have such a gracious boss.
Do you want to improve your leadership skills?
Create an account for Insight and you’ll have access to our entire leadership playbook. The playbook includes specific actions you can take with your employees to increase employee engagement. Review example conversation scripts, real-world ideas, and simple ways to get started. We also offer highly relevant employee engagement activities catered to each employee. Send an employee engagement survey with Insight and we’ll show you exactly how you can best support each team member based on what they care about most.
It’s free to get started, but the leadership guidance is invaluable. Give Insight a try.