Letting employees know that they’re important, that their contributions matter, and that they’re seen and noticed is no longer optional. What was once viewed as touchy-feely relational stuff has a very measurable effect on your business’ bottom line.
But capitalizing on the benefits of good employee relations can seem nebulous and tough to measure. Sure, there’s data galore, but what are you actually supposed to do with it?
Our suggestion? Begin with a simple thank you. More than 80% of workers say they work harder for a boss who appreciates them.1 The fact is, if you don't give people you work with regular expressions of gratitude, you're liable to lose them.
Research aside, the uncertainty of 2020 has shown that those we lead are pretty praise-worthy. On a moment’s notice, they pivoted to additional roles, worked from home, rotated schedules, and implemented new technology to power everything from staff meetings to online sales. All of that while managing the personal anxiety that comes with instability.
If there was ever a year for doubling down on gratitude, this is it. With that in mind, here are six principles to get you started:
1. You can’t thank enough.
This applies to both how often and how widely you share your gratitude. It’s best to thank everyone as personally as possible. And plan to do it often. No one tires of being recognized for their contributions. Being thanked on a regular basis has the added benefit of breeding more thankfulness among your employees. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
2. Be careful using humor.
Expressing your thanks should be lighthearted and affirming. However, unless the recipient is someone you know well or the joke is mutual to both parties, shy away from using humor. What’s funny to one person can easily be hurtful to another.
3. Handwritten cards are an easy starting point.
Saying thanks is always more personal when done in your own handwriting. Plus, it signals an intentional investment of time and thought. Unsure what to write? Tell the recipient a specific way he or she has added value to your team and why it was such a help to you.
4. If you include a gift, make it a considerate one.
Gifts don’t have to be extravagant, but skimping can backfire. In other words, your employees know when they’re getting leftover swag from last month’s tradeshow under the guise of thanks. Businesses give food gifts and gift cards most often because of their affordability and the way they benefit an employee’s whole family.
5. Unexpected timing may be beneficial.
Employees are primed to expect appreciation and gifts at Christmas, but it can be more effective when the recipient isn’t expecting it. Consider pressing the thankfulness angle with a Thanksgiving gift or celebrating a fresh start with a New Year’s one.
6. Your thanks is a bright spot in anxious times.
Because we’re so pandemic weary, signs of “normal” like gifts and cards of thanks become extra dear to us. And so do the folks who give us those signs.
Whether 2020 has your gratitude overflowing or running dry, it makes good leadership sense to show gratefulness. Thanking your employees truly couldn’t be easier or more necessary, and now’s the time to plan how you’ll do it.
Mr. B's Chocolates offers small-batch, premium Belgian chocolates that leave just the right impression on you, your budget, and your recipients. We'll help you find the perfect gift to express your thankfulness to employees, clients, and maybe even yourself.