Giving Thanks for Your Employees

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to talk about gratitude. Rewarding employees and showing recognition is a great way to boost morale and motivate people. We all want to be acknowledged for our contributions and it is easy to do but it is absolutely amazing that so few managers are comfortable with the concept of saying thanks.

Look at organizational websites you’ll frequently read “we value our outstanding employees” or “people are our most important asset”. However, a lot of managers just don’t recognize and/or reward good performance.

The most cost-effective reward and the most valued for nearly everyone is a simple “thank you” for a specific job or for completing a project or for going above and beyond. “It sounds like such a no-brainer, but you would be amazed at how few mangers use those two simple but powerful words.

In addition to saying thanks, many organizations that understand the value of rewards and recognition programs, take the time to ask their employees what would be the most meaningful to them. There is not a “one size fits all” recognition program. If you want to do it right, consider starting with a survey or focus groups to ask your employees what would be motivational to them. Remember that any program you consider will reinforce your organization’s values. Also, consider how and when you provide recognition—some people don‘t want to be publically thanked so be sure to thank them privately.

There are lots of ways to recognize and reward that are no or low-cost. Consider:

· Sending a hand written thank you note
· Acknowledgement at an all-hands meeting
· Assignment to a highly visible task force
· Recognition in the employee newsletter
· Company logo’d merchandise
· Reserved parking place
· Day off with pay
· Lunch with CEO
· Lunch for the team
· Flowers, balloons, plant delivered to office

The Thanksgiving season is a perfect time to re-evaluate your rewards and recognition programs or to decide to start to formally recognize your great employees. Remember that rewards and recognition can also impact your employee retention which can have significant impact on your bottom line! Are you thankful for your employees, let them know and do it today!

For more information on rewards and recognition, see chapter 16 of The Big Book of HR.


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