How to Show Employees You’re Thankful

By Thanksgiving, most of us are pretty burnt out at work. You’re nearing the end of the year, night is falling earlier and earlier, and most people are just counting down the days until their vacation. When you’ve been working hard trying to meet goals and keep your business thriving, it can be easy to get in a ‘no news is good news’ habit – that is, only acknowledging your employees’ performance when it’s dissatisfactory. Though you might know things are running smoothly, most employees want feedback to make sure they are rising to expectations and doing everything they can to perform their role to the fullest (and giving positive feedback can also make your criticisms a little easier to swallow later).

Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to show your team some appreciation. Unlike other holidays around this time of the year, its focus is specifically on gratitude, not expensive gifts. Your employees work alongside you every day to support your vision, and letting them know you’ve noticed their efforts will boost morale, improve productiveness, and can even help improve retention. Here are a few simple ways to give back to your team without having to dip into your holiday fund:

One on One Time

Setting aside time for a conversation with each employee is a simple but impactful way to let them know they’re important to you, and to the company. Good employees want to know that their work is contributing to something bigger than their own paycheck, and taking time to let them know how they impact the company as an individual will remind them of their value, as well as encourage them to keep doing their best. This time is also a chance to get important feedback from you team; ask them what they like and don’t like about their work, listen to improvement suggestions, and find out what their specific goals are to see if you can help enrich their time at work with assignment and projects they’ll enjoy. Just providing the opportunity for your team to share their feelings will mean a lot, and the context of your appreciation will make the meeting a pleasant and productive experience for both of you.

Thank You Notes

Your mom was right, thank you notes are a great little way to show your gratitude – especially if you’re trying to wrap up projects before the holidays, you and your team may not have the time to all meet individually. The same personal touch can be achieved with a short note that expresses your appreciation. Handwriting a special message for everyone on your team will show your consideration, and it costs virtually nothing. Mail it to their home address to make it even more personal (and give them a nice little surprise between bills and junk mail).

Give Them A Break

Whether your business is slowing down or heating up around the holidays, finding a little time to check in and chill out as a team will benefit your overall productivity and help combat burnout. A half day of team building games, potluck lunch – find an activity that fits with your company’s schedule, and take the time to get to know your employees as people. A friendly workplace handles its difficult days better, and works harder in an effort to support the team overall.

However you decide to celebrate, make sure to show your team some appreciation this Thanksgiving. Your encouragement means more than you may think, and could be just the thing to stave off that holiday slump between now and the New Year.

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Kylie Anderson is an L.A. based writer covering employment trends for the ZipRecruiter Blog.

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