• Celebrating Teams and Organizational Values

    Spikeball Players Celebrating Teams

    Photo by Spikeball on Unsplash

    When leaders understand the importance of celebrating teams and organizational values, important messages resonate beyond an “event.” There are many opportunities to bring people together to underscore that your business is about people and values, not just work and the bottom line.

    We’re in a time of heightened pressure to recruit and retain happy, committed employees and this big-picture thinking is critical. Here are a wide variety of ways you can incorporate “celebrating teams and organizational values” into your workplace. We hope this sparks inspiration for gifts of connection, belonging and shared joy.

    Give the Gift of Connection

    • Welcome new employees with a memorable first impression. Schedule coffee or lunch with the head of the company on their first day at work.
    • Plan a field trip to tour the facilities of a supplier or client, so staff can learn more about partner businesses while strengthening team relationships.
    • Organize casual group activities before, during or after work – walking, frisbee, lawn games (like Spikeball, pictured above), badminton, softball.
    • Bring teams together over food! 60% of employees say they feel more valued and appreciated when employers provide meals. A few ideas:
      • Coordinate a series of in-person and virtual lunches to build relationships between unfamiliar teams. Deliver meals or send prepaid grocery certificates in advance to remote employees.
      • Cater monthly “Ask Me Anything” hybrid lunches, featuring a series of senior leaders.
      • Host virtual cooking lessons. Hire a pro chef or ask talented employees to teach their favorite recipes, while participants follow along or just watch all the action.

    Give the Gift of Belonging

    “Belonging” is more than a buzzword. It’s building a culture where people feel welcome to be themselves and thrive. It takes work to foster a sense of belonging and worth every ounce of effort. Here are some ideas to help as you plan periodic events where employees are free to mingle and strengthen team relationships.

    • Create a “peer hero” recognition program, where anyone can recommend a deserving colleague or team at any time. Each quarter, publish a “recognition roll call” to share nominee stories. Then, everyone votes for the winner of a high-value prize.
    • Involve everyone in long-term organizational planning. Host a quarterly meeting where leaders discuss key issues and the road ahead. Solicit staff ideas and feedback to build trust, enthusiasm and buy-in.
    • Actively invite and encourage people to participate in a variety of activities — and consistently ask for new ideas from everyone.
    • Audit what kinds of programs and activities exist with a lens of diversity and inclusion.

    Give the Gift of Shared Joy

    Friendships and unique bonds are created when people find joy and happiness with each other. We aren’t talking about “forced fun”, but embracing ways to bring people together beyond work-related meetings. Here are some ideas:

    • To foster camaraderie, plan an online scavenger hunt or board game tournament. Build on digital versions of Monopoly or Settlers of Catan, or design your own Trivial Pursuit game based on company history and employee facts.
    • Host in-person and/or digital activities that bring people together to share common interests in real-time.
      • Watch parties for popular movies or tv shows
      • Game-day spectator huddles
      • Book clubs
    • Help your team bond through engaging digital games from specialized services like JAM, which offers a variety of popular options like Escape Rooms, Office Olympics, and Jeoparty!
    • Looking for an engaging virtual event or team-building experience, but overwhelmed by all the options? Let an online concierge help you make the best pick. For example, a guide can help you navigate the vast collection of virtual events at reELIVATE.
    • Connect(or reconnect) offsite for face-to-face group activities:

     

    When celebrating teams and organizational values, remember that there is a larger message. Let your actions speak louder than words: YOU BELONG HERE. We care about you! We are a team and we are stronger together.

    For more ideas, download The Big List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas — FREE!

    DOWNLOAD Free eBook, "The Big List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas" Now!

    Learn More About gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude:

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  • How Ice Cream Builds Employee Engagement

    Ice Cream Builds Employee Engagement

    Ice Cream Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

    Hopefully you are already aware that July is National Ice Cream Month! This is the month to celebrate our love of all things ice cream, including sorbet, Popsicles, sundaes, floats, shakes — we could go on and on. It’s a lot like a good employee engagement program: it brings people together, makes everyone feel happy, and is endlessly creative.

    That doesn’t mean you can drop off a tub of vanilla in the break room with a scoop and expect magic. But this tasty treat as a vehicle for employee engagement is powerful. Not only is it just plain fun and delicious, it reminds us of happy memories that we share with other people — our parents, kids, siblings, or maybe a special date night with our significant other. It’s special. It’s a treat. It speaks a language of happiness.

    Let’s look at how ice cream (and its dairy-free alternatives) can be a great team-building activity, reward for hard work and overall boost to employee satisfaction.

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  • 8 Easy Ways to Thank Employees for 4th of July

    4th of July at work

    Photo by Tom Dahm on Unsplash

    Some of the most effective, easy ways to thank employees can be done on the fly, or with just a few days’ notice – just remember to keep the message of gratitude in mind!

    Try it! You have your chance coming up with a holiday that’s easy to celebrate in the workplace: the 4th of July.

    Independence Day has themes that bring people together — patriotism, community, family — plus it has traditions everyone loves: fireworks and sparklers, parades, neighborhood barbecues and events for kids.

    Some businesses shut down over the 4th of July weekend, giving their employees some well-deserved time off. Many companies have no choice but to stay open, particularly those in the service industry.

    If you have employees working on 4th of July or over the 4th of July weekend, take the opportunity to acknowledge that they’re working over a popular holiday and let them know how much you appreciate their valuable time (grocery gift certificates are always a good choice).
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  • How to Celebrate on a Tight Budget

    Piggy bank for savings

    Photo by Braňo on Unsplash

    Organizations often shy away from celebrations when on a tight budget. We’ve all been there! But a small budget shouldn’t impede employee appreciation and recognition. Never forget that a “thank you” is free! But there are many ways to share gratitude that don’t end up costing a fortune. We have many ideas for how to celebrate with little time or money.

    Volunteer Togethervolunteerism offers a great experience despite a tight budget

    A wonderful idea is to organize a service opportunity for teams. By partnering with a nonprofit, there is often very little prep work to do but to bring people to help! Public Service Day is June 23, providing an excellent reason to start thinking about community relations. Not only is it usually good PR and goodwill, but the act of service really brings people together.

    “America’s Charities Snapshot Employee Research found that 71% of employees surveyed say it’s imperative or very important to work where culture is supportive of giving and volunteering.  When strategically integrated with your company’s business goals and values, involving employees in a mix of volunteer work, skills giving, workplace giving programs, and matching gift opportunities gives employees a sense of purpose, and makes them feel more connected to the community and your company-wide social responsibility efforts.”

    Build Experiences

    A tight budget is an excellent reason to focus on spending TIME together. Tap into talented employees to offer special experiences for others. Ask staff with strong skills to share their gifts with the team. For example, arrange an employee talent show, art exhibit, origami demonstration or guided meditation session. The possibilities are as endless as your team’s talent and enthusiasm.

    Quick, Easy & Impactful

    For a quick solution, instead of focusing on fancy gifts, put what’s already at your fingertips to good use:

    1. Praise people early and often on email and on your collaboration platform.
    2. Submit a LinkedIn recommendation or skills endorsement for a stellar employee.
    3. Gather your team together. Thank them and lead a hearty round of applause.

    PRO TIP FOR A TIGHT BUDGET

    For inexpensive gifts that keep on giving, consider buying subscriptions for information, services, entertainment and more, such as:

    • Online music
    • Books
    • Videos
    • Training
    • Industry publications
    • Personal productivity apps

    Check out our Big List of Employee Appreciation Ideas for ANY budget, any season, any industry, any time!

    DOWNLOAD Free eBook, "The Big List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas" Now!

    Learn More About gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude:

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  • Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day & Pi Day!

    Gorgeous pie and slice of lime to celebrate Pi Day- Photo by kaouther djouada on Unsplash

    Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

     

     

    Two of our favorite events are coming up and we want to help you celebrate: Employee Appreciation Day and Pi Day! You still have time to rev up the fun engine and plan ahead for these excellent opportunities to recognize employees.

    EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION DAY (MARCH 4)

    Let the tone of appreciation ring loud and clear! Celebrate with a team activity and message of gratitude, or use the occasion to kick off a new appreciation program.

    Some activities can include:

    • Tell your team about Action for Happiness’ “10 Days of Happiness,” a free, research-backed coaching program that “guides you through daily actions for happier living.”
    • Facilitate an (optional) book club or group that gives employees 30 minutes a week to connect and talk about something that has nothing to do with work. The relationships they build will be a net plus for your company.
    • Give your team gratitude journals. When you give out the journals, share research on their benefits and talk about your own experience. That’s more likely to inspire workers to try it themselves.
    • Have a yoga instructor come in a few times a week to do short classes for employees who could use a break that’s both relaxing and revivifying.

    PI DAY (MARCH 14)

    When it comes to gratitude, we can keep it going forever! Serve up some delicious pie to celebrate the mysterious mathematical constant known as pi, or 3.14159….

    Some activities can include:

    • Host a breakfast with pie and coffee! Invite everyone to come indulge in a slice of pie and fresh coffee, allowing team members to mingle and chat.
    • Ask for pie recipes ahead of time and distribute a digital or printed pie cookbook including employee names, photos and notes.
    • Hand out pie gift certificates to all employees as a fun thank you to go pick up a pie to enjoy at home! We offer same day shipping for orders received by 3PM (CT), Mon-Fri. Our pie gift certificates are good for any brand of pie, cake, cheesecake or similar items — fresh from the bakery section or frozen. Redeem at virtually any U.S. grocery store chain. Your organization’s name will be printed on the gift certificates for free and Enclosure Cards with your custom message and logo (if desired) are FREE.

    Ideas and Resources

    2022 Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar

    Our work world has been transformed by the pandemic – bringing both challenges and opportunities for recruiting, nurturing and retaining employees. Employee engagement, wellbeing and appreciation have become mission critical for all organizations. In our 2022 version of this popular resource we presume social distancing and remote work remain the norm.

    Inside this one-of-a-kind resource you’ll find the inspiration, creative ideas and current examples to help you keep employees feeling valued and important to the success of your organization in the year ahead. Why wait? Download Your Free eBook Now!

    Download your FREE 2022 Employee Celebration Calendar – FREE from your friends at gThankYou!

    BIG List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas

    This hefty gratitude resource offers ways to support and recognize the people who make your business work. It’s simple to download, share, print and use when you are planning ahead or need quick ideas.

    The BIG List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas is broken down into helpful categories so it’s easy to find just the right gift or concept for whatever your objective or occasion may be:

    • Support new ways of working
    • Encourage employee wellbeing
    • Reinforce teamwork and organizational values
    • Celebrate holidays with flare
    • Acknowledge milestone moments in work and life
    • Recognize people anytime with simple gestures

    Download free ebook, The Big List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas

    We guarantee you can find something for everyone, regardless of their position and your budget. From free to extravagant, recipients will be wowed by your sincere acts of gratitude. Read to learn more here!

    Learn More About gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude:

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  • Build Your Employee Engagement Calendar

    Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash - Employee celebration

     

    January is full of forecasting, goal-setting and looking forward to a successful new year. It’s also National Thank You month, which is why it’s the perfect time to plan ahead for acts of gratitude and appreciation. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! Check out these gratitude resources that will inspire and help you build and maintain a culture of appreciation and employee celebration ALL YEAR LONG! Using these resources, you can build your own employee engagement calendar.

    We have a wide variety of FREE RESOURCES to help you
    build your own engagement calendar.

    2022 Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar

    Free Gratitude Resources: Day-to-Day Employee Celebration CalendarIt is our tradition to publish a day-to-day appreciation calendar tailored to people who are committed to celebrating employees. This popular guide helps you plan for holidays as well as your own anytime celebrations; it offers a plethora of ideas to keep employee appreciation front-and-center all year long.

    The 2022 Employee Appreciation Calendar is chock-full of awesome information: party ideas, case studies, resources and much more!

    This how-to guide walks you through planning for seasonal engagement and a wide variety of holidays, organized by month. You’ll also find important statistics, mini case studies, “anytime recognition” ideas, and tips for building a happier workplace through engagement and fun.

    By planning ahead, you’ll lessen any stress and the recognition, enjoyment and positive responses will ensue.

    Peruse this gorgeous resource and think about how you can implement ideas every month, every season. Employee appreciation best practices focus on frequent recognition and appreciation. Don’t wait for the holidays next year – your employees deserve so much more!

    Download and share this free Calendar with colleagues, friends, and executive, social media and benefits teams and start planning 2022!

    BRAND NEW! BIG List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas

    This hefty, new gratitude resource offers ways to support and recognize the people who make your business work. It’s simple to download, share, print and use when you are planning ahead or need quick ideas.

    The BIG List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas is broken down into helpful categories so it’s easy to find just the right gift or concept for whatever your objective or occasion may be:

    • Support new ways of working
    • Encourage employee wellbeing
    • Reinforce teamwork and organizational values
    • Celebrate holidays with flare
    • Acknowledge milestone moments in work and life
    • Recognize people anytime with simple gestures

    The Big List of Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas

    We guarantee you can find something for everyone, regardless of their position and your budget. From free to extravagant, recipients will be wowed by your sincere acts of gratitude. Read to learn more here!

    Download your free copy now and use it to inform your appreciation planning now and in the future!

    Appreciation Planning Checklist

    Don’t let the name fool you! Our Appreciation Planning Checklist is a helpful two-pager that serves as a terrific kick start to your employee appreciation and recognition conversations.

    Here are some examples of when appreciation is key:

    • Celebrating achievements
    • Embracing seasonal activities
    • Highlighting milestones
    • Supporting core company values
    • Encouraging smart behaviors

    With this planning checklist you’ll be sure to both be inclusive and proactive! Download your free copy today.

    Download free Employee Appreciation Planning Checklist

    Guide to Writing Meaningful Employee Thank You Notes

    The foundation of having employees feel valued and appreciated is sincere gratitude. One of the easiest and most meaningful ways managers can share gratitude is with a heartfelt note of thanks. Thank you notes should be part of any employee appreciation plan. They are low cost, easy to do and make both recipients and givers feel good.

    A written thank you note that can make someone’s day can be as simple as “Thank You! You are Awesome :)” on a post-it note or “You are a Life Saver” on a roll of Life Savers.

    At gThankYou, we are big believers in the power of a meaningful “thank you.” We believe managers should be trained, held accountable for and given resources to share thank you notes with employees, customers and other vital constituents. Senior managers should model the behavior and peers encouraged to share their written gratitude through gratitude boards and appreciation stations.

    Thank You Guides

    As such, we have created two guides to writing thank yous for workplace leaders. Be sure to download and share one or both with your appreciation planning team.

    The first is our Writing Thank You Notes Employees Will Treasure.

    Download free ebook - Writing Thank You Notes That Employees Will TreasureThis resource is your go-to for writing an employee thank you note.

    Inside this book you will learn:

    • The anatomy of a memorable thank you note
    • What is the difference between recognition and appreciation and why that’s important
    • Practical tips for writing great thank you notes
    • How to build a culture of gratitude with written notes of appreciation.

    Download and share your free copy today!

    The second resource is our ever-popular, Put the Thanks in Thanksgiving; How to Write to Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees.

    While we just closed out the holiday season, this book is really a year-round reference for how to write a company-wide employee letter of appreciation holiday-time or anytime, or a longer-form individual letter of thanks.

    Inside this book you will learn:Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees

    • Real-life examples of well-written company-wide Thanksgiving letters from bosses in a variety of industries.
    • Best practices for thanking employees and ideas for brainstorming your own unique approach.
    • How-to details on crafting a meaningful and memorable employee letter of appreciation.
    • Tips on how to share your Thanksgiving letter.

    Plan ahead! Download now and share with your team.

    Plan Ahead and Everyone WINS!

    Let gThankYou be your ally in winning the workplace appreciation game. An employee engagement calendar is a GREAT way to start! Plan ahead so you can focus on what’s really important, engaging with and personally appreciating employees. These gratitude resources will help you make employees feel valued, save time, lessen stress, build loyalty, and foster a culture of appreciation and gratitude.

    We hope these resources bring creativity and inspiration to your employee engagement and appreciation planning this year and in the future.

    We want to hear what ideas you implement! Shoot us a note any time to: info@gthankyou.com.

    The Transformative Power of Gratitude

    To learn more about the truly transformative power of gratitude – check out our free eBook, Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.

    This resource is perfect for doing a deeper dive into understanding how gratitude works and why it is so powerful in the workplace. This book provides the foundation for understanding why workplace appreciation is vital. If you have leaders who still struggle with the need for frequent and sincere employee appreciation, share this eBook with them. If you want to become smarter about harnessing the power of gratitude and building a culture of gratitude, this book is for you.

    Download and share your free copy now!

    The Ultimate Workplace Gratitude Guide

    Good luck creating your own employee engagement calendar — your employees will thank you!

    Learn More About gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude:


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  • Summer Reboarding – Make it Fun!

    Summertime Reboarding Means Outside Fun!

    On the topic of “reboarding” employees, take advantage of being outside for social events to celebrate employees returning to the workplace or who have been there all along! Outside, it’s easier to socially distance and still have fun – perfect for summer reboarding activities.

    Who needs workplace fun? We all do after more than a year of COVID, societal tension and volatile politics. Social events are great for workplace culture and morale which are as important as ever right now.

    Parties and team building exercises may not look exactly like they used to, but with some creativity and agility, the fun committee is back in session!

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  • Employee Appreciation is Key During “Welcome Back!”

     

    Workforces are trickling back into office buildings and teams are rejoining in person after a long pandemic-related hiatus. It feels a bit like starting over, doesn’t it? While safety is the number one priority, it’s also critical to view this period as an opportunity for employee appreciation.

    What is Reboarding? According to HR Daily Advisor,

    “Reboarding is the concept of bringing individuals back who were previous employees but away for some period of time. The idea is to modify onboarding for someone who is already familiar with your company but has been away.”

    Here at gThankYou, we are extremely optimistic about the potential for reboarding across all industries in businesses of all sizes. While there will be the necessary burden of policies, daily minutia, schedule conversations and so much more, there is also the gift of a restart — and employee appreciation.

    What if NOW was the perfect time to shift your leadership mentality? What if you lead all efforts in the “return to normalcy” with a mindset of employee appreciation? We recommend welcoming employees back with a few things in mind that could shape or reshape your culture for years to come.

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  • Secret to Easing Workplace Transition

    Learn self-compassion with Tess Hayes's new book, "May You Shine: Love Letters to the Hurting, Healing and Growing Heart".

    As we emerge from the challenging pandemic to some sense of normalcy at both work and in our personal lives, it’s an ideal time to check in on how we are speaking to ourselves. Many of us had extra time alone with ourselves during the pandemic and while some people seemed to flourish, many of us struggled with added loneliness, stress, grief, and anxiety. Often our own internal voice during this time was our toughest critic and harshest judge. The transition back to an office or to a job can be rough right now.

    There is no better time to show ourselves some compassion and grace.

    The Language of Affirmation

    Affirmations are based in a belief that the frequent use of positive words (affirmations) can motivate, build self-esteem and replace negative thought patterns.

    If affirming self-talk doesn’t come naturally to you, we thought we’d share some quotes from Tess Hayes’ book “May You Shine: Love Letters to the Hurting, Healing, and Growing Heart.” In her intro Hayes describes the intent of her book, “May this book remind you of just how special you are, how wildly capable you are of letting your light shine.”

    If you’re feeling like your light has been dimmed during the pandemic, you’re not alone. A CDC study found worsening anxiety and depression, especially for young adults, during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that you could benefit from some positive affirmations.

    Hayes shares this wisdom:

    “Bathe yourself in self-compassion. Shower yourself in grace…Remind yourself that you are not alone in this journey, that you have never messed up too badly to begin anew.”

    After or during a particularly challenging day at work this gentle message from Hayes might be helpful:

    “It’s so easy to be hyper-aware of the annoying or difficult parts of your day. It’s even easier to gloss right over the incredible things happening all around you. But there is always a reason to celebrate — if you only look for it.”

    Those celebrations can come in all sizes:

    * Celebrate getting through the transition from remote work back to your office space
    * Celebrate not procrastinating
    * Celebrate knowing you lightened a coworker’s load
    * Celebrate opting for a healthy snack during that afternoon energy lull
    * Celebrate finally getting a good night’s sleep
    * Celebrate speaking up in a meeting when you typically wouldn’t have

    Want more? Listen to podcast interviews with Tess!

    Self-Compassion is for Everyone

    Speaking of self-compassion, if you’ve read our blog posts or referred to our 2022 Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar, you know we are fans of Dr. Kristen Neff, whose research and guidance on self-compassion, is both inspiring and practical. A good introduction to Dr. Neff is her website. Neff has a new book, “Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindess to Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive,” out June 15th and we are always eager to learn more from her expertise.

    McKinsey & Company’s Author Talks recently featured an interview with Neff in which she discusses how “women can balance tender self-acceptance with fierce action to claim their power—in the workplace and beyond.”

    This quote from Neff sums things up perfectly,

    “With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.” Try being a better friend to yourself!

    We are also fans of Barb Schmidt. We first discovered her gentle yet thought provoking posts on her aptly named Instagram account @peaceful_barb. She is the co-founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life (another good Instagram account to follow). Her frequent messages are an excellent reminder to be kind to ourselves – complete with strategies and quick tips that always seem reasonable and do-able. In fact, we’ve clicked play on their tips on ways to say no without actually saying no several times. Her book, “The Practice” is a fast read and is full of helpful insights to help you, as the book cover suggests, manage stress, find inner peace and uncover happiness.

    Schmidt wrote this about affirmations in her book,

    “With all the negative chatter going on in the mind, sometimes an affirmation is exactly what is needed to get the mind to change course. In order to calm down, the mind might want that added verbal assurance that everything really is fine.” She shared her affirmation for stressful situations: “Barb, you are strong and capable; all is well.”

    Next time you catch your internal voice and thoughts being especially critical, demeaning, unforgiving or sarcastic, take a deep breath and without scolding yourself for thinking that way, move on to a more gracious and kinder manner of self-talk. You wouldn’t talk to a colleague, friend or loved one that way so try to get out of the habit of speaking to yourself like that.

    Affirm your worth, celebrate your resiliency and remind yourself of all of the amazing things you have to offer this world — in both your work and personal life.

    Share Your Kindness with Peers

    We are all in this transition together. As we ease back into the workplace, be intentional with your kindness and compassion with staff and peers. Don’t expect everything to be the same overnight. Fact is, it won’t ever be the same. Together, though, we can work to make it better. Download our Calendar Guide to celebrating employees year-round for inspiration on how to re-start.

    Download your 2021 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar Now!

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  • Vaccination Incentive – Grocery Certificates!

    Incentivize employees to receive their Covid vaccinations!

    Employers across all industries are facing major decisions about their policies for vaccinations. If it’s important or required that your employees get the vaccine, we have the perfect incentive – grocery gift certificates! Good for any combination of food-only products, redeemable at grocery stores nationally.

    At gThankYou, we work closely with organizations to ensure they have the right tools to engage and reward employees. Decades of experience have shown us that food is met with gratitude and is an excellent driver of positive action.

    This last year and a half have been extremely challenging for us all. However, now we are starting to regain some normalcy and gratitude towards our employees is more important than ever. While we are asking people to come back to work (or even if they were essential all along), there are a variety of ways to show thanks and even incentivize behavior.

    If you request or require vaccination for employees, we suggest a grocery gift certificate as a thoughtful gesture in return. As the workforce revs its engines again – in a new way – people may feel overwhelmed with tasks, time and transitions. We are here to help!

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  • Crisis in Workplace Burnout and How to Help

    workplace stress - image of a fraying rope about to break

    Workplace Burnout Has Worsened During Pandemic

    NPR’s Life Kit recently addressed the growing problem of workplace burnout.  They shared results from a survey supported by Harvard Business Review from the fall of 2020 which indicated that burnout is a global problem (respondents were from 46 countries) that has gotten worse during the pandemic.

    Here are some statistics:

    • 89% of respondents said work life was getting worse.
    • 85% said well-being had declined.
    • 56% said demands had increased.
    • 62% of those struggling to manage their workloads experienced burnout “often” or “extremely often” in previous three months.
    • 57% of employees felt that pandemic had a “large effect on” or “completely dominated” their work.

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  • Engaging Employees in 2021 – Your Guide

    The Workplace Has Changed

    Our work lives have been transformed by the pandemic. Despite the optimism brought by vaccine approvals, the fact remains it may be a long-time before we are back to business as normal, if at all.

    This new world of work provides both challenges and opportunities for recruiting, nurturing and retaining employees. Workplace leaders recognize the value of being creative and adaptive during these times.

    Josh Bersin, HR industry expert, sees this time “as an incredible opportunity to transform”. “Companies are treating employees better than ever.” There is a new focus on protecting employees’ “personal productivity, wellbeing and personal resilience.”

    Employee Celebration Guide Cover – Download now!

    Rethinking Employee Engagement and Appreciation

    Our Employee Celebration Calendar could not come at a more needed time.

    We have created a resource that presumes social distancing and remote work will dominate 2021. And, one that provides the inspiration and creative ideas to help keep employees feeling valued and important to the success of your organization in the uncertain year ahead.

    Take advantage of this unique time to invest in employee engagement. Our popular one-of-a-kind resource provides the fresh perspective and resources you need to retool your employee appreciation efforts for today’s workplace.

    Showing appreciation is even more crucial now.

    As Sabina Nawaz wrote in a Harvard Business Review article about how a little thanks goes a long way:

    “Research clearly indicates expressing gratitude is beneficial to our health and well-being.  During a crisis, taking the time to thank others is vital to dampen loneliness, amp up social connection and generate generosity.”

    We’ve curated a collection of impactful and inspiring articles, resources, best practices, stats and quotes that will help guide you through 2021.

    The year ahead may still present challenges, but it also provides new opportunities to build connections with employees.  Eileen McNeely, a Harvard School of Public Health researcher, shared that her team’s studies indicate that caring and empathy from management and employee trust in management is a “great driver of well-being.”

    As we wrote in the intro to the 2021 calendar, we’ve seen success stories emerging during the pandemic that underscore what we have known all along — HR leaders are nimble, creative and passionate.  The calendar is a reflection of gThankYou’s commitment to helping workplace leaders who continue to create loyal workforces and cultures of appreciation, even during a pandemic.

    Your free 2021 Employee Celebration Calendar will guide you through each month with:

    • Research-based suggestions for building a culture of gratitude.
    • Monthly celebration ideas to engage employees.
    • Recommendations for current, topical resources.
    • Inspiring and current real-world examples.

     

    Download your day-to-day guide to engaging employees in 2021!

    Download your 2021 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar Now!

    Don’t wait! Download your free copy now and share with colleagues. We hope the new year brings fresh optimism and hope for the future. Visit our website for more free resources for building a lasting workplace culture of gratitude.

    Your friends at gThankYou

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  • Make Your Virtual Halloween Party a TREAT!

    Host a virtual Halloween party in your workplace this season!

     

    What about your annual office Halloween party?

    Health experts recommend skipping in-person gatherings this year — especially in areas with high COVID-19 levels. But you can still have plenty of spooky seasonal fun online.

    Holiday parties have always been a great way to help employees bond and burn off stress, and to recognize their hard work. That matters more now than it ever has.

    Mix some fun and creativity and you can host a virtual Halloween party! Your colleagues will appreciate the efforts to keep the Halloween spirit alive despite the pandemic.

    Here’s how to get started:

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  • Pandemic Makes Frozen Turkey Gifts Unpractical

    Protect your holiday turkey gift giving this year! The Pandemic makes frozen turkeys unpractical and unsafe.

    Your Turkey Gift to Employees is More Important than Ever

    The pandemic has changed lives and dramatically changed our workplaces.

    For many of us, we have lost the in-person connection with employees – the ability to smile, share a handshake or genuinely thank someone in person.

    Employees need to feel secure right now in knowing that they are valued. If you have company holiday traditions that are near and dear to your team, respect them. Find a way to make them work in our new work world. Many employees are relying on that cash bonus or holiday turkey gift that they have always received.

    Thanksgiving and the holiday season have always been an opportunity for workplace leaders to share their gratitude and appreciation to employees. Your appreciation and thanks are more important than ever this holiday season.

    The gift of a Thanksgiving turkey has long been a valued and meaningful gift for employees. The tradition of turkey gift-giving is revered by many companies, and for some, distributing frozen turkeys is a beloved tradition that is decades old.

    This year especially, the practical gift of food is something everyone can appreciate and can share with family. The gift of the centerpiece of the holiday meal is a truly meaningful and appreciated gift by all.

    If you are new to turkey gift-giving, download our free PDF, “10 Reasons to Give Employees a Turkey for the Holidays” and share with colleagues.

     

    Pandemic Makes Frozen Turkey Gifts Unpractical and Unsafe

    The reality of a literal gift hand-off this year brings about a variety of challenges.

    Firstly, safety is paramount. Commitment to employee safety continues to be in the spotlight for good reason. The pandemic means leaders can’t go desk to desk shaking hands; gatherings of employees exchanging pleasantries and holiday goodies simply isn’t feasible or legal in some cases. And, a socially distanced line of masked employees to receive a frozen just isn’t that safe or appealing.

    Secondly, many workforces are partially or wholly remote at this point making frozen turkey gift-giving logistics simply unfeasible.

    No need to worry! gThankYou can help.

    You can keep your beloved turkey gift tradition this year with gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates. Employees choose the brand, preparation and size turkey that their family would like, at major grocery stores nationally. No messy frozen bird logistics to manage plus flexibility in distribution for in-person and remote workplaces.

    (more…)

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  • Host A Virtual Ice Cream Social!

    Learn how to host a virtual ice cream social! Staff will love the opportunity to connect and have fun together.

    This summer doesn’t look or feel like most summers.  If you traditionally host a staff picnic, BBQ or summer retreat, it’s likely that the pandemic prohibited you from holding those events.

    But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have summertime fun. While the heat of the season is here, host a virtual ice cream social!

    Consider providing team members with a Certificate for Ice Cream from gThankYou which can be redeemed for any brand and flavor of ice cream at major grocery stores across the U.S. Certificates are available in $5 and $10 values.

     

    You can even make a “ice cream sundae to-go bag” for remote workers and include shelf stable toppings such as sprinkles, chocolate, caramel or fruit sauce and cones.

    Share your Ice Cream Certificates prior to your planned virtual event so everyone has a chance to shop and be ready for the party. If you prefer, or have workers outside the US, partner with a local ice cream shop and have them supply and deliver the ingredients.

    (more…)

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  • Five Solutions to Keep Remote Workers Happy

    Employee Engagement

    As workforce leaders find their way through the COVID-19 world, defining ways to keep remote workers happy and engaged is of utmost importance. Remote working isn’t new to the world of work, but for many industries and people, it’s a brand new endeavor.  

    According to the New York Times, “In a May working paper, Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor in management science at M.I.T., and a group of academics reported survey results indicating that half of those who were employed before the pandemic were now working remotely. That’s a significant increase — pre-Covid-19, the paper estimates, the figure was about 15 percent. (In 2018, a U.S. Census Bureau survey found that just 5.3 percent of Americans worked from home full time.).”

    According to SHRM.org, “This working arrangement may seem exciting at first, but it can lose its appeal over time, resulting in disengaged employees. And, when employees aren’t engaged, their productivity and motivation can suffer.”

    As passionate champions of happy, productive workplaces, we’ve gathered some suggestions for embracing remote workers to keep the engine running on all cylinders.

    How to Keep Remote Workers Happy & Engaged

    Solution #1: Allow Creativity to Infuse Decision-Making

    Some workplaces are a hotbed for creative thinking (think advertising agencies), and some industries aren’t exactly wired for out-of-the-box thinking. This is an opportunity to enjoy the freedom that creativity can bring to a group of employees. Instead of “We’ve always done it this way,” NOW is the time to say, “How can we do this differently?” This relates to every organization that has shifted its daily operations.

    Engage employees to weigh in on how processes and procedures can be expedited, improved or even scrapped. Look at how innovative companies tackle certain parts of business and push yourself (and your executives and teams) to look at new ways of “getting things done.” Here are some great examples from a recent CNBC piece on innovation.

    Remember, this isn’t change just for change’s sake, which can be a buzzkill for employees. Instead, view this as a way to dream up new models that make everyone’s lives (and the business) better!

    Solution #2: Embrace New Opportunities for Employee-Up Communication

    Most of us have “chat” functions, cell phones, and other technology for basic communication. However, some organizations are taking this a step further to open up employee dialogue – maybe even between people who never had the ability to communicate before!

    There are some 24/7 technology tools (such as Glint) that allow employees to share ideas, feedback and even complaints (anonymity is optional). Now is an excellent time to implement such systems. An organization that we work with has rolled out a technology platform across its national network to improve engagement, measure the success of current companywide communication, and learn from the “front lines.”

    As a result, they have been able to gather excellent information that would be impossible in many other formats (typical town halls or staff meetings). It offers flexibility and a methodology where the information can be filtered to managers or departments who can respond with agility.

    Solution #3: Rethink Meetings

    Chances are that these technologies aren’t going anywhere – especially as remote working continues to be the norm. However, now is a great time to think about how to take the funny yet painful examples of why these can be a complete waste of time and use knowledge about your company culture to make them … dare we say it – enjoyable?

    What would engage your employees? Keeping check-ins to 15 minutes? Allow for everyone to weigh in on something important? Do a swift but fun icebreaker at the beginning of the meeting to avoid the “Just hangin’ in there” and “What’s the weather like over there?” warm-up conversations?

    This is another opportunity to turn the work-as-usual model and turn it on its head. Ask your people – and use some common sense, too!

    Solution #4: Consistently Show Employee Appreciation

    We are clearly advocates of employee appreciation. In fact, we believe that it should be touched upon every day. There are big gestures and there are also the smallest, nuanced acts that can equally improve the employee experience.

    To get started, check out our 2020 Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar. There is always room for a note of gratitude or a “Thank you for all you’re doing during these shifting times” statement to express thanks. This resource offers insights into the importance of employee appreciation and also delivers excellent examples based on company culture, seasonality (did you know that National Ice Cream Day is in July?), budget and other considerations. 

    Solution #5: Ask the Right Questions

    When looking for solutions, be sure to pinpoint the issues. What can go wrong with a remote workforce? Isolation? Overworking? Lack of trust? Shifting group and team dynamics?

    Take the time to define what is most likely happening in the organization – which can vary drastically even among departments. Utilize surveys, ask questions, challenge leaders to ignore the tendency to say, “Everything is fine!” and ask, “What isn’t going right and how can we fix it?”  

    With the right tools and a sincere listening ear, team members will feel valued – which goes a long way. Medium.com offers employees some tips to fight isolation, which you can offer as a resource here. Forbes addresses how to avoid burnout, another great resource for the high achievers of the world.

    For more timely information, check out our blog, “Supporting Remote Workers Now”. 

    Since 2007, gThankYou has been helping managers delight, honor and thank employees and customers. We’re all about building workplace gratitude. Check us out at www.gthankyou.com.

    *Photo by Allie on Unsplash

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  • Supporting Remote Employees Now

    Work from home.

    Let’s start this blog post with kudos for you for hanging in there during these uncertain and challenging times.  That you’re taking the time to click on this post shows your commitment to staying engaging with and supporting your remote employees.  So hat’s off to you for remaining curious and committed to bringing out the best in your staff.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a host of challenges to everyone and we are seeing that people are dealing with those challenges in different ways.

    Maybe you already had remote employees at your company so your challenge was expanding that scenario to many more employees.  Or perhaps you are like many companies who find themselves dealing with a remote workforce for the first time. 

    No matter where you are on that spectrum, there are ideas and strategies to help you support your remote workers and make sure they feel engaged and appreciated.  We’ll address leadership during challenging times, new rules for remote work and finally, how to recognize remote workers.

    Leading During Uncertain Times

    In an article written for Forbes well before our current crisis, Glenn Llopis outlined some key concepts for effective leadership in uncertain times that still resonate today.  In fact this quote seems particularly appropriate for these times:

    “Most of the problems that leaders have with their employees have to do with knowing how to manage and communicate uncertainty to them.”

    Glenn Llopis for Forbes

    Llopis advises that leaders: 

    1.  Be Honest and Consistent — When asked a question, give an honest answer.  Avoid dancing around the issue and show your employees that you have their back.

    2.  Meet Often and Evaluate Mindset — Try to minimize distractions and focus on sharing any insights you have.  Consider staff meetings an opportunity to genuinely engage with your employees, not just a time for status updates and reports.

    3.  Listen and Pay Close Attention — There may be chatter and gossip about the current crisis and the future, take it all in through broadened observation — focus on listening and remain calm.

    4.  Create and Share Key Learning Moments — Employees seem to have a sense when leaders are mindful about their concerns.  Look for the positive impact that might be gained from this trying time.  Allow your employees to ask questions and extract learning.  You might also be able to learn more about them and how they cope with uncertainty. 

    5. Reveal Your Executive Presence — Frame this as an opportunity to show your leadership style.  How do you react to negativity and the effects of this challenge? By being present and compassionate and staying focused on engaging with employees you can shape the impression you make as a leader. 

    Empathy during this pandemic is vital.  This quote from Llopis, written back in 2015, seems like sound advice for leaders grappling with the current Coronavirus crisis.

    “Great leaders know that managing uncertainty is a matter of putting themselves in the shoes of their employees and delivering the compassionate leadership they expect.   People don’t want good intentions from their leaders during times of uncertainty; they want their leaders to be not only strong, confident and decisive, but transparent and vulnerable enough in their leadership role to express a sense of genuine care and concern.”

    Glenn Llopis for Forbes

    New Reality for Remote Workers

    In an article for the Harvard Business School website, author Dina Gerdeman shared that prior to the coronavirus, 5.2 percent of employees in the United States telecommuted most of the time and 43 percent worked from home some of the time.  These numbers are certainly increasing exponentially around the world with the closing of most workplaces.  

    Working remotely can come with its own challenges during more normal times, but currently employees are facing not just distractions, but increased responsibilities like child care, assisting school age children with virtual learning, assisting elderly or ill relatives, coping with technology like Zoom and Slack that they may not be familiar with, etc.  be mindful that employees are also under the very real threat of a potentially deadly virus.  The combination of these factors can cause unprecedented stress for employees.

    Here are some things Gerdeman shared that you can do to support remote workers (she also recommends communicating clearly and decisively, leading by example and accepting that productivity will probably suffer):

    Being More Flexible — If possible, ask employees which schedule works best for them and try to work around it.  Communicate schedule changes to all team members and be clear that just because someone might be doing their majority of their work and emailing colleagues in the wee hours of the night, immediate replies aren’t expected.

    Adjusting Expectations — Some employees may be feeling overwhelmed by their workloads, while others may be feeling that they need more work to show that they are integral to the team.  Look at shifting projects and workloads and make sure those employee who seem to be busting out a ton of work aren’t doing it just because they feel pressured and certainly avoid throwing more work at them.

    Rethinking Meetings — Since it can be harder to focus in virtual meetings, really evaluate the length and frequency of meetings and ask yourself if there need to be so many long meetings right now?  Also ask yourself if a meeting is really necessary; could it be addressed in an email?

    Moving to More Asynchronous Work — The world is starting to see that work in a company doesn’t need to be done at exactly the same time, with employees working in synchrony.  It’s more important that the work is getting done than it is that everyone is working on a project at the same time.

    Focusing on Outcome Rather Than Monitoring Activities — Speaking of work getting done…now’s probably not the time to spy on your employees by asking them to leave their webcam on during their entire shift, having them alert you when they take a short break, or making sure they are working until the clock strikes 5:00 pm.  Trust that you have competent and honest employees who are doing their best.

    Taking Time to Empathize —  Give employees the time and space to talk to each other about their concerns, stress levels, fears, etc. and encourage a culture of support and active listening.  Being vulnerable with one another during this time can actually bring people together.

    Letting Workers Blow Off Steam — It’s been great to hear about how creative some companies have been about having some virtual fun to lighten the mood.  Consider optional online social events like virtual happy hours, cooking and crafting projects and meet the pet sessions. Encourage employees to take breaks between meetings for a cat nap or quick walk and of course sharing the announcement that employees can call it a day a few hours early at the end of a hard week would be welcomed and appreciated.

    Don’t Forget to Appreciate Remote Employees

    While recognizing your employees’ hard work and effort is always a priority, now it is even more critical to show that you appreciate their flexibility and dedication during what is an extremely stressful time for so many.

    In a blog post for Fond, writer Erin Nelson shared the following suggestions:

    Reward Employees for Donating to Charities — Send recognition to those who have donated or volunteered.  You can crowdsource a list of worthy organizations from your employees and encourage generosity.

    Harness Technology to Share Good News and Kudos — just because you won’t be having a face-to-face meeting doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate wins via Zoom.

    Provide Opportunities for Professional Development — You may not be sending employees to conferences and seminars but tap into online learning opportunities like webinars, courses and coaching for your staff to make them feel valued and keep them engaged by acquiring more skills and knowledge.

    Buy Lunch from Afar — Support local restaurants offering take out and/or delivery services by ordering lunch for employees.  If the logistics are tricky consider giving employees gift cards for third party delivery services like Grub Hub, Door Dash and Uber Eats.

    Give Gift Cards to Local Businesses — Share your gratitude with your team with a gift card to a local business and make it a win-win for everyone! 

    Send the Gift of Food – Why not share a practical gift everyone needs? A gift card to a local food chain like Kroger, Publix, Safeway and more might be what employees would appreciate most. Major grocery stores now offer online ordering with pick-up and/or delivery. Instacart, an online shopping and delivery service that pulls from local grocery stores also sells gift cards.

    gThankYou Gift Certificates are accepted in-store at major grocery chain stores nationally and are an easy and flexible way to provide the gift of food to a distributed workforce. Send Certificates for fun items like ice cream, pies and candy, wholesome options like fruits and veggies or simply the gift of groceries – good for any food items.)

    Nelson closed with this apt quote: “…we must make an effort to cultivate inclusive, connected digital communities that thrive with recognition.”

    Supporting remote employees during these challenging times will take creativity, patience and commitment. We hope these ideas help you in your efforts to have workers feel valued and supported.

    The gThankYou! Team wishes you, your families and your work place families safety and good health.

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  • It’s Halloween! Don’t Forget Workplace Fun

    Happy Halloween! It’s the perfect holiday for dressing up, eating candy, carving pumpkins and having some workplace fun.
    But in all the fun, don’t forget a key element: recognizing and thanking employees. It really is the secret to planning effective and worthwhile fun activities in the workplace.
    A report released this week shows many companies have their priorities mixed up when it comes to engaging employees with workplace fun. What employees actually want doesn’t always match what employers think they want.
    The report is based on a survey by HR systems firm Sage People. It asked workers for opinions on various workplace benefits and conditions.
    Quirky perks like a job-site ping pong table got a resounding “meh” from employees. Meanwhile, 72 percent of those surveyed said that feeling valued and recognized is what they value most when it comes to their day-to-day work experience.
    “The research reveals that while many companies invest in quirky benefits to keep staff happy, employees aren’t impressed,” the report concluded.

    Does this mean ping pong tables, games and fun activities don’t belong in the workplace? Not at all! Having fun at work builds creativity, engagement and teamwork.
    But it isn’t reasonable to install a pool table in the break room and expect employee engagement to automatically go up.
    Perspective, and a culture of appreciation, must come first. That means a) listening to employees, and b) incorporating appreciation into day-to-day work as well as special celebrations and activities.
    Of the employees surveyed by Sage People, a whopping 42 percent said they have never been asked by their employer what they believe would improve their work experience.
    “The findings show a disconnect between the benefits employers provide and what employees want. This failure to listen is costing businesses in the form of reduced productivity levels and a disengaged workforce,” the report says.
    (more…)

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  • Engaging Blue-Collar Workers: A How-To Guide

    Engaging blue-collar workers is one of HR's biggest challenges.

    Is your company engaging blue-collar workers with a focus on recognition and pride? (Photo via UC Rusal, Flickr)


    Engaging blue-collar workers may be one of the biggest engagement challenges facing HR today.
    Hourly workers are unhappier than salaried workers in many job aspects, according to recently released Gallup poll data.
    A Harvard Business Review analysis concluded, “People working blue-collar jobs report lower levels of overall happiness in every region around the world. This is the case across a variety of labor-intensive industries like construction, mining, manufacturing, transport, farming, fishing and forestry.”
    Retention is a big problem, too. The “new blue-collar” industries, such as foodservice and hospitality, grapple with it on even bigger scales.
    And there’s the skills gap.
    The historical loss of manufacturing jobs has hurt communities across the U.S., yet currently “a significant number of manufacturing jobs remain open with not enough people to fill them,” according to HR Dive. “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) predicts that U.S. companies will be facing two million job vacancies by 2025. And the American Welding Society contends that manufacturing industries will need 300,000 welders and welding instructors by 2020.”
    One expert, Jobcase CEO Fred Goff, tells HR Dive he blames the skills gap on an “image problem.” Young people for decades have understood that the best way to a rewarding career is through a college degree and a job in finance, marketing, law, engineering or teaching.
    “The ‘image problem’ that these blue-collar fields face has finally come home to roost — and employers are struggling to make up the difference,” according to HR Dive.
    (more…)

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  • 7 Employee Engagement Books to Read

    New employee engagement books for your summer reading list

    Put a few employee engagement books on your reading list this summer for fresh ideas and perspectives. (Photo via byrawpixel, Flickr)

    Make it a goal this summer to check out employee engagement books that will inspire and challenge you, whether you’re planning a major “think week” or just have 15 minutes a day to read over lunch.
    Get a head start on engagement planning for this year by exposing yourself to fresh ideas and perspectives. Spark your creativity!
    According to Kevin Kruse, consultant and NYT bestselling author of “Employee Engagement 2.0,” employee engagement is often misunderstood.
    That lack of understanding is holding back American companies.
    In an interview with Business Management Daily, he calls engagement “one of the secrets behind so many of my companies.”
    Yet it’s surprisingly rare.
    “Only about one-third of the workforce is truly engaged at work, and we’ve been stuck at this number for about two decades. This is really a shame as life is too short to be unhappy at work,” Kruse says.
    In short, effective engagement leads to a workforce that cares.
    “A sales person who truly cares about organizational results will sell just as hard on a Friday afternoon as she would on a Monday,” Kruse explains. “An engaged service rep will be just as patient and helpful at 4:59 p.m. as he would be at 9:00 a.m. An engaged factory worker will yank the cord to stop the line every single time a defect is noticed.”
    Want to see this level of passion and caring at your company? Make it a goal to read one or more of these employee engagement books, based on decades of experience and research into building vibrant, engaged workplace culture.
    (more…)

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How gThankYou Certificates Work

Step 1

Order Certificates

Choose the gThankYou Certificates you want and order them online or by telephone.

Step 2

Ship directly to your business

Your order is delivered by UPS. Nearly all orders ship the day received. Overnight shipping is available.

Step 3

Distribute to your employees

Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Recipient and Giver names (optional) and give them to employees.

Step 4

Redeem at any grocery store

Recipients redeem Certificates at major U.S. grocery stores and select the items they want.