There’s more to saying “thank you” than good manners. In fact, research says that embracing a mindset of gratitude can make you and your employees happier. Gratitude can improve your team’s ability to work together, motivate us to work harder (and smarter), and can help us achieve our goals. (You can read more about all that here: Gratitude is Good for You.) That covers why we ought to express our gratitude in the workplace. The question you may be asking now is, “how?”
You don’t need to comb through the budget to identify funds to support an employee appreciation campaign. Gratitude doesn’t require grandiose gestures. Simple, heartfelt, honest expressions of thanks make a bigger impact. More importantly, a culture that incorporates a mindset of gratitude ingrained in the day-to-day of your business will mean more to you and your team.
Forced gratitude doesn’t mean much. You can’t fake it. People see through the manufactured moments and choreographed sentiments. Be sincere in your thanks.
Be in The Moment
Don’t wait for those big moments like employee appreciation events, team meetings, and annual reviews. Yes, those are all very appropriate spaces to express your gratitude, but they shouldn’t be the only place. A simple, “Thank you. I appreciate your hard work on this,” in the moment, however, can have a big impact.
Go Beyond “Thanks.”
Don’t get us wrong. We’re still talking about simple expressions of gratitude here. This is just about adding some detail to why you’re grateful. When you thank someone, “thank you” is just the beginning. Take a moment to elaborate. “Thank you for your efforts on the new product launch. Your suggestion to target early marketing at a specific demographic is intriguing. I’m going to add that to our list of campaign ideas to explore further. I appreciate your creativity and your willingness to try new things.”
Your team works hard. Take the time to review results with them. When you thank your procurement folks for working hard to identify new vendors and negotiate better deals with suppliers, let them know what impact their work has had on the company’s bottom line. Try this on for size, “That new deal you negotiated with Widget-maker helped us reduce our overall expenditures by [percent.] Great job!”
Look “Behind the Scenes”
Some roles operate in the spotlight. Others move more quietly and perhaps their contributions are not as readily noticed. Make the effort to notice. From the support team that produced the hand-outs and samples that wowed your new client to the warehouse team that crunched to get that big sale shipped out in a timely manner, take the time to recognize the small (and not so small) contributions that make your company successful. Take the time to thank your partners from that outside digital marketing agency that keeps your website looking its best to the virtual assistant that keeps you at your best.
Keep It Balanced
This one is important. Your team wants to succeed and they want to grow. Don’t just heap on praise. Be sure to offer constructive feedback. Note, we said constructive feedback. This isn’t about criticism. Here’s an example, “I like the concept you were working with for these graphics. I think with a bit of work, this can be a strong campaign. Do you have a minute to talk about some of the changes I’m thinking about?” Even better, don’t just talk about the change you want to see made. Explain why. Going back to our example, “Let’s replace the font that’s there with this font instead. The handwritten script font is pretty, but it can be hard to read on smaller screens. One of these will be cleaner and more discernible even on a phone.”