As my American team members prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m in a mood to share top ways to say thanks. While the below are written with the workplace in mind, all can (and should) be applied in our personal lives as well. The power of thanks goes deep, at work and at home.
- Actually say it! – You’d be surprised (or perhaps not) how many people just never say the words. They may think to themselves, “Joe did a terrific job in the meeting today. I should tell him that” but then never get around to it. Taking the time to meaningfully, personally express your appreciation powerfully communicates not just appreciation, but value and worth to others.
- Beyond the thanks – Sometimes, people don’t express their gratitude because they limit “thanks” to those who they feel have personally helped or benefited them. Remember, true appreciation looks to recognize those who also demonstrate desired behaviors and contribute to the success of the company, the client, the team, or other colleagues. There are countless opportunities to appreciate others, if we look for them.
- In a team meeting, publicly – Make recognition a standing agenda item at every meeting. Recognize a successful initiative of the entire team or an individual who went above and beyond. (Just make sure the individual enjoys public appreciation.)
- In person, privately – For those that don’t enjoy the spotlight, knowing their work is noticed and appreciated is still critical to engagement and happiness at work. Stop by their workstation or invite them into your office and spend a moment telling them how much they and their efforts are valued.
- More than a gesture – Add memorable value to your recognition efforts by giving employees awards they can redeem for the reward of their choice. They will long associate their reward with the value you see in what they do every day.
BONUS: Top 5 Ways to Make “Thanks” More Effective
- Make It Timely – Don’t wait for the annual bonus or “employee appreciation day.” If someone deserves recognition, give it to them in the moment or soon after! This ensures the recipient knows what they did that was deserving of recognition and is now encouraged to do the same again and again.
- Make It Personal – Broad recognition announcements can serve to demotivate in that people don’t feel their personal efforts or contributions were acknowledged. Get to know your team members and colleagues. Learn how they like to be recognized and follow suit.
- Make It Specific – Similarly, generic recognition messages (“Thanks, great job!”) have little impact. Far more impactful are messages that call out what the person did and why it mattered. Share how their efforts helped you, the team, the client or the company achieve greater success.
- Make It Meaningful – In addition to personal and specific messages, give the gift of ongoing memories through a substantive reward, too.
- Make It Frequent – There should be no limit on the amount of recognition given. Do you see excellent behaviors, results or progress made? Recognize the contributors – every time!
What are other important ways to say “thanks?” What’s your favorite way?