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Keep employees engaged with gratitude! Your summertime workplace Thank You builds year-round motivation and happiness. (Photo via m01229, Flickr)

Happy Solstice! Summer officially begins today — and with it the season when employee engagement commonly takes a nosedive.
This year, don’t let disengagement win! Keep employees engaged all summer with gratitude.
Your summertime workplace Thank You engages employees for year-round motivation and happiness.
But be sure you’re doing it right. The odds are your Thank You message may not be getting through to employees.
“Employers and managers may think they’re showing gratitude for the contributions of their staff, but more often than not, those thanks are not heard or believed,” writes Fortune’s Katherine Reynolds Lewis in her article, “The Best Way to Give Thanks at Work.”
Paul White, a psychologist and co-author of “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” tells Fortune that when he talks to workers about their employee recognition programs, “there’s a lot of distain and cynicism.”
“They distinguish between authentic appreciation and going through the motions,” White says.
Authentic appreciation can’t be forced, but with regular practice, it’ll come naturally. It’s all about developing the right habits. Start today with a workplace Thank You plan for Summer 2016! Read on for tips and best practices.

7 Tips for Summer Employee Appreciation

Employee appreciation can’t take a vacation over the summer. Keep engagement going strong with these summertime workplace Thank You best practices.
1. Focus on Regular, Low-Key Celebrations
At any given time this summer, it’s likely a good percentage of your staff will be away on vacation. Plan regular recognition events throughout the summer, so no one gets left out. Keep it low-key, relaxed and fun! And, don’t forget virtual employees. If you celebrate in the office, send Ice Cream Gift Certificates or a card signed by the whole team to remote workers so they feel valued and connected, too.
2. Meet One-on-One with Employees
“For many, summer is a time of relaxation, sure, but also of reflection. Employees are thinking about what they’ve done in the first half of the year and where they are headed,” writes CEB Marketing and Communications blogger Kayleigh O’Keefe in her post, “Summer: A Killer of Employee Engagement?”
Schedule mid-year check-in meetings with employees to tell them one-on-one how grateful you are for their work and to discuss goals for the second half of 2016.
3. Think Beyond ‘Summer Fridays’
Summer Fridays — the tradition of letting employees leave work early on Fridays — are “a holdover from the Mad Men days, when cutting out to beat the Hamptons traffic was paramount in the race to the first martini,” according to Fast Company’s “4 Alternatives to Summer Fridays.”
But Summer Fridays are increasingly incompatible with the modern workplace and “put too much onus on hours worked, and not enough on personal health and happiness,” Fast Company’s Scott McDowell writes.
Instead, he suggests alternatives that empower and actually motivate employees, such as flex-hours or even turning off the clock altogether. The goal? Employees focus on the work, not hours logged — and on doing their best work as efficiently as possible.
4. Practice Your Thank You Note Skills
Are you expressing your workplace Thank You in a way that employees understand? The Thank You note is a great way to practice gratitude and it’s still a much-appreciated business tradition, even in the digital age!
Thank You notes in the summer are a delight for employees. It’s unexpected! Typically we share Thank You notes at Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, or for big milestones like workplace anniversaries, so surprise your employees with “just because” summertime Thank You notes. Follow this guide for writing a great letter of appreciation.
5. Get Active Outdoors (Or Create Summer Indoor Fun!)
Outdoor employee activities like a softball league or pool party are the obvious choice for summer engagement, but you don’t necessarily have to go outside to enjoy the season — especially if it’s just too dang hot out! Baudeville has a six-day guide for recreating summer camp fun indoors on a budget.
6. Share Small Seasonal Gifts
Share Thank You gifts that say “summer” — CSA shares for weekly produce boxes, tickets to a water park or outdoor concert series, or gift certificates for hot-weather treats like ice cream. Pick gifts that are practical and meaningful and that your employees can share with family and friends.
Make sure your gift also explicitly says “Thank You.” Sharing gifts is an important gesture, but the real impact on employee engagement is the note that accompanies it. Be personal, specific and to the point in your praise — just a sentence or two is fine!
7. Mark Your Calendar
Besides the 4th of July, summer doesn’t have many official holidays — but that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating regularly with employees. Workplace celebrations energize employees and get them recharged to go back to work refreshed and ready to perform even better.
Mark your calendar with holidays to celebrate this summer, even unofficial holidays or holidays your team creates for themselves. Some examples:

  • Take Your Dog to Work Day (June 24)
  • National Strawberry Sundae Day (July 7)
  • Cheer Up the Lonely Day (July 11)
  • National Ice Cream Day (July 17)
  • System Administrator Appreciation Day (July 31)
  • Summer Olympics (Aug. 5-21)
  • National Tell-A-Joke Day (Aug. 16)
  • Be An Angel Day (Aug. 22)
  • Just Because Day (Aug. 27)

Find or create holidays that fit your workplace culture and then plan a small celebration that always includes a Thank You element — a gift, a note, or words of appreciation from the CEO or other company leaders.

Inspired? Keep Reading…

Are you up-to-date on the latest tips and insights for building a vibrant culture of engagement through employee gratitude, recognition and celebration? Be sure you are by downloading our popular free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading”.
The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should Be Reading

About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
gThankYou, LLC ( is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at or 888-484-1658.
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