How to Thank Employees—and Make It Matter

February 8th, 2019

By Carrie Andrews

As Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse, says, “a company is only as good as its people.” A solid team of qualified professionals makes for a successful and booming business—after all, they are what keeps the engine running! With all that your staff members do on a daily basis, it’s only right to express how grateful you are for their time, contributions, and even sacrifices for the company.

Plus, staff who genuinely feel a sense of purpose and belonging in the workplace are typically more productive in their daily responsibilities and are overall more loyal to the business itself—truly a win-win. So how can employers express their gratitude while simultaneously increasing employee engagement—during not only the holiday season but also all year round?

While there is no cookie-cutter method to showing employee appreciation and boosting office morale, my team and I at Sterling abide by 10 key rules of thumb.

Implementing some or all of these rules in your office will help convey a sense of respect and gratitude to all employees and ensure your business has the most productive year yet.

1. Write It Down

Most employers do their due diligence of saying “thanks!” to employees throughout the day. But let’s be honest: The term doesn’t hold as much weight if the exchange happens while running to the next meeting or as a quick e-mail response. Writing down a special holiday greeting—and sincere thanks—to each member of your staff will resonate in a much more profound way.

2. Take Notice

You know your employees are great at their jobs—that’s why you hired them! Get to know your team members by discussing their interests beyond spreadsheets or presentations. Your employees will appreciate that you have taken the time to learn more of their interests and what ultimately motivates them—both personally and professionally.

3. Celebrate Professional—and Personal—Achievements

One of the best feelings in the world is accomplishing a great feat. By the very same token, one of the worst is when that accomplishment gets completely overlooked. Remembering each employee’s list of New Year’s resolutions is too much to ask, but there are things you can do to make it more realistic. Aim to be more present in quick daily exchanges, or try jotting down a note or two post-water jug conversation. The next time you find yourself speaking with that employee, ask for an update, and watch his or her face light up.

4. Consider Contributing to Higher Education

While not every company has the means to sponsor furthering education for an entire team, it may be worth doing some research to see what contributing a percentage would entail. Weigh the different cost options, and consider it an investment in your employees.

5. Extend Holiday Breaks and Long Weekends

Employees, on average, spend about 1,811 hours at work each year. Closing for a few days around the holidays is routine. Show how much you really appreciate your employees by offering them a couple of additional days off to share with their loved ones.

6. Include Family Members

Your employees may be the only ones employed, but each member of the family is invested in the company in one way or another. Whether they are sacrificing sit-down family meals or time together on the weekends, etc., these individuals deserve to be recognized, too. Make it a point to invite family members to holiday parties and include them in office gatherings whenever possible.

7. Make Their Lives Easier

The sheer amount of time spent in the workplace can sometimes make it difficult for much else. There are days when running out for a cup of coffee seems unattainable. Keep your staff focused and content by stocking the office kitchen with energizing essentials like coffee drinks and fresh juice, power bars, and other snacks.

8. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Remember that just as your employees have different interests and motivations, the way you reward them should be unique, too. Whether it be a congratulatory e-mail or a holiday gift, ensure each gesture is thoughtful and specifically tailored to the individual.

9. The Power of Appreciation

While exchanging gifts is a great way to celebrate your employees during special occasions, it’s simply not sustainable year-round. Expressing your gratitude doesn’t have to cost a thing. Never underestimate the power of a sincere “thank you for your time today” or “thank you for all that you do for the company.”

10. Make It a Habit

Showing employee appreciation shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions. Keep productivity and morale high (and turnover low) by making acts of gratitude a permanent part of your daily routine.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.

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