Holiday gift-giving is a joyous time to spread gratitude. It brings people together (even remotely) and delivers a pick-me-up during challenging times. The COVID-19 Pandemic has rocked many boats, but let’s look at the positive: increased employee engagement! To embrace this uptick, let’s also explore employee appreciation and keeping morale high by giving employees what they REALLY need or want this holiday season.
COVID-19: Good for workplace engagement
Understanding the importance of employee engagement has always been important to organizations; especially those that care about employee satisfaction, retention, and a variety of other factors that support a great workforce. With the COVID-19 pandemic, employee engagement has been absolutely critical as companies have needed to heavily rely on essential workers and revamp organizational structures. Remote workforces require extra effort to keep engagement levels high, and recent research indicates that this is indeed happening.
According to Josh Bersin, noted HR industry analyst, educator and thought leader, made a bold statement in an April 2020 blog post entitled “COVID-19 May Be The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Employee Engagement.” Bersin pointed out that the Coronavirus accelerated one of the biggest business transformations in decades. He stated,
“Yes, it’s a health crisis but for most companies, it’s also an incredible opportunity to transform.”
Bersin & Associates research showed that during the pandemic,
“companies are treating their employees better than ever. And employee engagement, a problem that plagues more than two-thirds of companies year after year, is actually going up.”
Bersin indicated that businesses are bending over backward to take care of their employees because they have to these days. There is a new focus on protecting employees, “personal productivity, wellbeing, and personal resilience.”
The COVID-19 crisis has brought many challenges to the world of work, but it has also opened up a remarkable opportunity for workplace leaders to reinvent how they engage, appreciate and recognize their workforce.
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:
This year, more than ever, displaying gratitude is critical for employee motivation and engagement. Our teams have weathered unprecedented challenges and deserve accolades for their hard work and dedication. The holidays are quickly approaching – are you prepared to show your employees how grateful you are?
Check out this article from the Harvard Business Review, “In Times of Crisis, a Little Thanks Goes a Long Way.”
At gThankYou, when you order holiday gift certificates, a personalized card enclosure is included. This offers that extra touch of customization that make recipients feel seen and valued.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, a thoughtful employee holiday letter or card from your CEO can be especially meaningful. As part of our holiday gift offerings, we have new Thanksgiving Thank You Card Designs, crafted to inspire your messages of gratitude.
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.
It’s August already — time to start planning your annual corporate turkey gifts for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
During these unsettling times, sharing your holiday turkey gift carries special importance and meaning.
Early planning gives you and your team peace of mind that your turkey gift-giving is organized despite what the fall brings.
And, more time to focus on what really matters at the holidays: sharing your gratitude with staff, volunteers and customers.
Let gThankYou take care of the logistics this year.
gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates make it easy and convenient to share corporate turkey gifts. Even if your organization is large and working remotely.
Our turkey vouchers carry on the appreciated tradition of giving employees a Thanksgiving turkey, without the hassle of storing and handling a large number of frozen birds.
gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates are redeemable for any brand and any preparation of whole turkey, at virtually all major U.S. grocery stores.
Plus, all gThankYou purchases come with customizable Enclosure Cards — absolutely free! It’s the easiest way to wish a “Happy Thanksgiving!” to the people in your workplace and express your sincere appreciation for their contributions.
Givers and recipients alike love gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates. They’re easy, practical and, best of all, meaningful.
A turkey is the centerpiece to the most gratitude-focused holiday of the year. This year, more than ever, we all crave feeling valued and remembered. The gift of a Thanksgiving turkey shows your recipients that you care about them and their family. When they sit down to their annual Thanksgiving feast, surrounded by loved ones, they’ll be grateful for you and your organization, too.
Turkeys are meaningful, appreciated employee Thanksgiving gifts that honor a popular workplace holiday tradition going back generations.
But what if you need to buy turkeys as employee gifts for a large workforce?
It used to be the only way to share the gift of Thanksgiving turkeys in bulk in the workplace was to order and deliver them frozen.
Today, you no longer need to deal with the hassle of buying, storing and distributing bulky frozen turkeys, plus you can provide a holiday gift that recipients prefer more — the choice to choose the right size turkey for their family, when they want it.
gThankYou Turkey and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates make it easy for you to share the gift of a Thanksgiving turkey. And, recipients love the flexibility to choose the size, brand and preparation they want as the centerpiece of their holiday family celebration. That’s because gThankYou! Gift Certificates are Manufacturer Coupons good for any brand of merchandise specified and can be redeemed nationally at virtually all major grocery chain stores.
Large company or widely distributed workforce? gThankYou can help with a customized turkey gift program to meet your timing and budget. To learn more about our large volume pricing, customizing and delivery options, call us at 888-484-1658 or request a consultation here. That customization is what sets gThankYou apart from other companies. We work with a wide spectrum of businesses and understand that each company has unique needs.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in the workplace is an appreciated and valuable way of showing gratitude to employees. Don’t miss out this year!
SHRM calls Thanksgiving workplace celebrations an “incredible tool” for managers.
A business veteran and author quoted by SHRM says that “in so many organizations, employees go through their days assuming that their co-workers, and especially their bosses, don’t notice or appreciate all of the hard work that they do.”
“And if that’s the way you feel, you will just go through the motions,” the expert, Todd Patkin, says.
Thanksgiving gratitude to the rescue! “Tapping into the spirit of Thanksgiving can tip the balance between success and growth or stagnation and failure,” Patkin says.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in the workplace is also a “motivator and catalyst for growth,” he added.
Read on for tips on how to celebrate Thanksgiving in the workplace, even with limited resources or at the last-minute. After all, the emotion that Thanksgiving thrives on — gratitude — is 100% free and instantly accessible.
There isn’t just one recipe for success when it comes to employee recognition; there are many thoughtful ways to acknowledge employees’ dedication and hard work. Leaders who take the time and energy to show employee gratitude year-round end up with happier team members and a more enjoyable workplace.
We couldn’t agree more with this recent Forbes article that states,
“Never underestimate the power of ‘thank you.’ Everyone wants to feel recognized and appreciated, so encourage employees to thank the people around them, including their colleagues, senior leaders, and employers, on a regular basis, year-round.”
So what are you waiting for? It’s always the “time of year” for gratitude!
Celebrate Spring in the Workplace
Right now, many people are gearing up for Easter (Sunday, April 12). While not everyone celebrates this holiday, it can easily be regarded as a “Spring into Spring” workplace celebration with chocolate, bunnies, family meals and egg-hunting – which everyone would welcome and enjoy.
If you have concerns about tackling Easter at work, take a look at our blog post about Why You Should Celebrate Easter in the Workplace. It is chock full of ideas about how to make Easter-ish and spring workplace celebrations entertaining and appropriate for everyone!
Another resource is “4 Easter Employee Engagement Ideas For Your Office.” Dying eggs is easy and relaxing, allowing employees to chat while dipping. And a Peep diorama? How fun would that be? Check out these creative winners!
Share the Gift of an Easter Ham
If you are pondering how to shower employees with a “Happy Spring” thank you, consider the gift of a holiday ham. For many, the gift of a ham for Easter is a valued and welcome gift. It evokes family and underscores the joy and warmth that comes from sharing a special meal together. gThankYou makes it easy to share the gift of ham – during springtime or whenever you want to share your workplace appreciation.
Want more choice? Consider our Ham or Turkey Gift Certificate. Recipients choose what’s best for the centerpiece of their family celebration.
Be sure to check out our Spring cards selection, they are guaranteed to brighten someone’s day and are always free with any purchase.
Thinking you’d rather go the sweet route? How about a Candy Gift Certificate? Since sugar makes the world go ‘round, this is always a fan favorite for employee appreciation gifts. There are so many seasonal candy classics like jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and of course Peeps in every color.
Our Holiday Ham Guide Gift for You!
At gThankYou, we love a delicious, juicy ham with all the fixings. That’s why we created our Ultimate Holiday Ham Guide – so everyone can cook a a crowd-pleasing ham! Our Guide is packed with pages of ham goodness, including an exploration and explanation of the different kinds of ham, cooking tips, menu planning ideas, food safety strategies, recipes and much more!
And even better, it’s FREE for you! Download it now and share with colleagues and friends. Give this guide/cookbook with your gift of a holiday ham and delight your recipients. They will appreciate getting not just the centerpiece of their meal, but all of the helpful hints contained in the guide.
Do you want to learn new ways to glaze a ham? Interested in how to properly cook and carve? Intrigued by new recipes that inspire novice and top chefs alike? Then look no further! Check out the Ultimate Holiday Ham Guide for inspiration and practical advice.
Happy spring and Easter from your friends at gThankYou! We appreciate YOU.
Planning a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration may seem like a tricky proposition at first glance — drawing attention to romance, among coworkers? That’s an HR headache waiting to happen!
But there’s another way to frame a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration: as a celebration of workplace friendships and the strong bonds that develop between people who work closely together.
“We all need friends at work,” writes University of Kentucky provost and management professor Christine M. Riordan, for Harvard Business Review.
At a time when employee engagement is at an all-time low, it’s important to recognize the power of friendship in the workplace, according to Riordan.
Why Workplace Friendships Deserve Celebration
“Research shows that workers are happier in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers. … Gallup found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work,” Riordan writes.
But workplace friendships are about more than camaraderie and fun.
“It is also about creating a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together,” she writes.
Friendships are particularly vital to the happiness, motivation and productivity of Millennial employees, according to a LinkedIn study.
Another demographic is seeing an increased reliance on friendships: men. According to a recent survey, men are forming more meaningful relationships with other men. And that could have a “transformational” effect in the workplace, according to the Fast Company article, “How Men’s Changing Friendships Might Reshape the Workplace.”
“We already know how workplace friendships can be vital, energizing and meaningful. In addition to their upsides for individual well-being, they also impact team performance, adding another level to the instrumental ways we rely on each other and collaborate,” researcher Michael Kimmel writes for Fast Company.
“We men are also learning that workplace friendships, with both women and men, can be a reason we show up for work every day. We let down our guard, share what’s important, and listen with care. And our lives — in the office and outside it — are so much richer for that.”
Read on for tips on how to plan a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration that reflects the transformational power of friendship between coworkers.
One of our favorite moments is when we unveil the new Enclosure Cards for Christmas and the winter holidays. It’s our own little version of the traditional tree-lighting. 🎄
This season, we have some exciting new designs to help you offer a meaningful “thank you” to your hardworking team members.
Write a Note of Appreciation
What do employees want most for the holidays? Your appreciation and thanks for their efforts, loyalty and contributions.
When you bundle your employee gifts, include a sincere and heartfelt note of gratitude. It will transform your gift-giving – lifting spirits, making your gift memorable and ensuring recipients feel valued and appreciated.
It’s why we offer attractive Enclosure Cards for the holidays and everyday occasions – free with every purchase so all gThankYou gifts are wrapped in gratitude.
New Holiday Enclosure Card Designs
Whether you prefer elegant or playful, snowy scenes or strings of lights, “happy holidays” or “peace and joy,” there’s an appealing holiday-themed Enclosure Card to fit your company’s style. Create your own message of appreciation or use one of ours – Click to see all our Christmas and Winter Card Designs.
Here are our newest additions for your holiday note of cheer and gratitude:
Download a Catalog of Popular Designs
Want a PDF of our popular designs to share with colleagues?
As always, gThankYou Enclosure Cards come free with any purchase of our Certificates of Gratitude. Choose your favorite Enclosure Card design, include a thoughtfully-crafted message of appreciation and sign it in text or with a logo. We’ll gladly send you a proof to approve, and we’ll make edits until you love it!
There’s still time to give the workplace holiday gift everyone loves. Order your gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude now – for ham or turkey, pie, ice cream or groceries and let your holiday gratitude bring joy and appreciation to your workplace.
Wishing you and your colleagues a wonderful holiday season.
As we approach celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, this quote from Melody Beattie beautifully reminds us of the transformative power of gratitude at the holidays – and every day.
Beattie knows about the transformative power of gratitude having survived a traumatic childhood, addiction and the loss of a child but emerging from this to live a a full and rewarding life. After having an epiphany in rehab that got her to focus her energies on “the right things,” she became a renowned self-help author (she literally wrote the book on codependency, followed by many other bestsellers) and remains a celebrated writer and an inspiring beacon for many struggling with addiction and grief. The daily meditations on her website (or apps) are a good way to start or end your day!
Let’s break down what she said in this quote because while it’s the perfect quote as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, it’s also a powerful reminder for us to look at every day through the lens of gratitude.
“Unlocks the fullness of life…”
Who doesn’t want to live their life fully, experiencing the maximum of satisfaction and joy at both home and at work. Gratitude opens our eyes to the beauty and goodness of the world around us. It energizes us and brings hope. Sharing gratitude brings out the best in those around us too.
“Turns what we have into enough…”
Gratitude allows us to be thankful for the abundance of good things in life and not be driven by societal or selfish needs. Gratitude helps us realize we are, and we have, enough.
Research finds that “just acting grateful can make you feel grateful” says Arthur C. Brooks in “Choose to be Grateful. It will make you Happier.” He goes on to say:
“If you want a truly happy holiday, choose to keep the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, whether you feel like it or not.”
“…turns denial into acceptance…”
Gratitude let’s us enjoy relatives and friends for who they are – imperfections and all. And, most importantly accepting ourselves for doing the best we can. Gratitude heals.
In a recent Forbes article on gratitude, positive psychologist researcher and author Robert Emmons “cites research showing the effectiveness of gratitude in buffering stress and building resilience. He even recommends a strategy he calls “Remember the bad.” The point is not to dwell on the negative, but to look back and reflect on difficult experiences and how we got through them. In doing so, we learn not to take our current blessings for granted. We are also reminded of the resources that helped us weather past storms.”
“…chaos to to order, confusion to clarity…”
Stopping to take a breath and reframing stress that can come at the holidays (or any day) is an opportunity to clear your mind and re-prioritize what’s important. Being grateful helps put what’s really important in perspective.
“…turns a meal into a feast, a house into a home and a stranger to a friend.”
No matter the scale of the meal, gratitude for the bounty and those we share it with turns any occasion into a “feast”.
Thanksgiving is a holiday uniquely steeped in a history of gratitude. It’s the one time of year we treat everyone as family. It’s gratitude that allows us to open our hearts and our homes.
This holiday season share your gratitude and share in the joy you spread.
Wherever and however you celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope the meal becomes a feast of gratitude for you and your loved ones.
Did you know that our American Thanksgiving is just one of many gratitude-related Thanksgiving traditions celebrated around the world?
Traditions differ from country to country, but gratitude in action is cause for universal celebration.
The spirit and significance of giving thanks is the same wherever you go — with or without roast turkey and cranberry sauce. So what does giving thanks look like around the world?
Celebrations worldwide of “thanks-giving” share several elements, no matter what people are eating, wearing or singing. We all honor:
- harvest bounty
- communal harmony
- gratitude in action
That last one, gratitude in action, is an important one. Simply thinking about gratitude isn’t a cause for celebration. It’s about how we act on our gratitude. We’re giving thanks, not having thanks!
The French word for Thanksgiving is action de grâce. Translated literally, then, Thanksgiving is a day for “actions of grace.”
Read on for six “actions of grace” traditions from around the world.
Your organization flourishes and grows thanks to the commitment, creativity, and, most of all, hard work of loyal team members – do they know that???
Two BIG words — “thank you” — make a world of difference in the workplace. Study after study shows employees work harder, work smarter, and are retained longer when they feel appreciated.
Holiday employee letters are an annual tradition for major corporation CEOs, directors of government agencies, and university presidents.
6 Tips to Writing Meaningful Employee Thank-You Notes
When you write your letter of appreciation this season — whether for the first time or as part of your yearly ritual — here are tips to help you put your sincere gratitude on paper:
- Go beyond recognition, which focuses on employee performance, to appreciation, which acknowledges an employee’s character and intrinsic worth. People want to feel valued for who they are.
- Describe specific ways employees have contributed to your organization’s success this year.
- Speak from the heart. Be honest. Be sincere. Avoid sentimentality which can come off as fake.
- Reflect on the meaning of the season. Thanksgiving is a treasured American tradition that has meaning to everyone.
- Deliver your letter on paper, in person. With today’s overflowing inboxes, no one wants another email.
- Package your letter with a thoughtful gift that reflects the spirit of Thanksgiving.
gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates easily fit in an envelope alongside your thank-you note.
Or, choose to customize your Certificates with a Free Enclosure Card featuring a heartfelt message of gratitude and your logo.
Real-Life Examples of Thanksgiving Employee Letters
For real-life employee holiday letter examples, DOWNLOAD our popular free guide, “How to Put the ‘Thanks’ in Thanksgiving.”
When you express genuine appreciation with employees, they share it back not only with you – but also with colleagues and customers. That’s what’s so remarkable about gratitude –gratitude is contagious and makes givers and recipients feel great!
End the year with your workplace feeling valued and appreciated. Brighten everyones’ holidays with your thoughtful holiday letter of gratitude.
Delight Employees This Holiday Season
Research backs up what successful organizations have known all along – that appreciating employees day-in and day-out feeds productivity, retains employees and transforms workplace culture.
In other words, as Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely says, “recognition drives engagement and engagement drives productivity.”
Gifts are a tangible way to express your appreciation for each employee’s contribution to your organization. It may seem like a simple gesture, but expressing genuine appreciation matters more to recipients than you may think.
Consider this: among workers who feel valued, 88% feel engaged and 93% say their motivated to do their best. (American Psychological Association).
And, when gratitude is regularly expressed, employee engagement, productivity and customer service ratings are 14% higher (Bersin by Deloitte).
Gifts Send a Powerful Message
What makes an employee gift successful? Hint: It’s not about the money.
The average employer spends $79 per employee on gifts, but most workers say they would be just as happy with lower-cost (or even no-cost) alternatives. What matters most is the spirit in which the gift is given.
The essence of workplace holiday gift-giving is gratitude: your gratitude for employees’ contributions over the past year and employees’ gratitude toward you for showing your appreciation.
Gift-Giving is an Opportunity to Show You Care
Workplace leaders understand gift-giving is an important opportunity – to show you care and make employees feel valued.
So how does one choose a successful employee gift?
Find out in our new eBook, “Making Employee Gifts Count, Secrets for Gift-Giving Success”!
In this free eBook, you learn from workplace experts not only why gift-giving is so important, but also how to do it well and effectively.
Inside this eBook you’ll learn:
- Why workplace gifts matter
- Understanding what workers value
- The best workplace gifts
- How much is enough
- Gift-giving do’s and don’ts
- How to make your gift memorable
Why wait? Download your FREE COPY Now!
Make Your Workplace Gifts Memorable
Sharing your sincere gratitude is what will make your gift truly memorable.
Just ask Sheldon Yellen who as CEO of BELFOR Holdings Inc. writes over 9,000 employee thank you and birthday notes a year. “Yellen has found taking the time to write out a card for each and every person has created a culture of compassion through the whole company.”
Whenever possible, put your appreciation in writing. It will not only be memorable but will likely become a keepsake. Think about those times someone took the time to pen a note of thanks to you. Chances are you kept that note.
Whether you intend to write a holiday letter to your entire workplace or have plans to hand-write a thank you note to your team, we applaud you and encourage you to take advantage of our resources for inspiration and real-world examples.
How to Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees
Your FREE guide to putting the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving for your workplace.
gThankYou’s popular resource for writing a thoughtful Thanksgiving or holiday employee letter. Full of examples of real employee letters and how-to insight for crafting a meaningful letter employees will treasure.
How to Write Thank You Notes Employees Will Treasure
Our go-to resource for writing meaningful employee and customer thank you notes – anytime!
Understand the basic pillars of praise and the anatomy of an effective Thank You note. A great resource for anyone new to workplace thank you notes or who wants to learn how to make them more impactful.
The holidays can be the most rewarding time of year for gift-givers and receivers alike. We hope you find our gift-giving guide useful now and throughout the year, and we wish you and your entire team all the best this season.
Should your holiday gift-giving plans involve the much loved gift of a Turkey Or Ham, we would be honored to serve you.If you’re still ordering frozen turkey gifts for your employees, this should be the year that you replace that burdensome and onerous approach with Turkey Gift Certificates from gThankYou. We assure you that this easy process will literally and figuratively lighten your load.
Turkeys remain the quintessential holiday employee gift. Always the star on the table at Thanksgiving gatherings across the country, turkeys are a welcome and appreciated gift. They are the perfect way to underscore how thankful you are for your employees’ contributions and loyalty.
There is no longer a good reason to struggle with frozen turkey gifts. gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates are good for any brand and size whole turkey, at major grocery chain stores nationally. Recipients love having the ability to choose the turkey they want for their family. Instead of having your team spend time on frozen turkey logistics, they can spend it on what really matters – engaging employees and sharing heartfelt appreciation.
A fantastic opportunity for easy team building is….Halloween.
If the extent of your company’s Halloween celebration is a dish of candy corn and a few streamers, you’re missing out.
Engagement, not passive entertainment, is key to successful team building. Halloween is one of the easiest holidays to engage employees in fun activities that everyone will enjoy and that don’t need to break your budget.
Halloween is a great opportunity to foster employee engagement and workplace camaraderie — are you taking advantage of it?
Here’s what makes Halloween such a standout engagement time:
It’s popular. According to a 2015 Harris Poll, Halloween ranks third among U.S. adults for favorite holiday. Only Christmas and Thanksgiving rank higher! Halloween outranks the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and even “my birthday.”
It’s participatory. From pumpkins and costume parades to trick-or-treating, Halloween gets people moving, talking and connecting with one another.
It’s creative. Nearly everything we do to celebrate Halloween encourages creativity, from carving the perfect pumpkin to sewing a one-of-a-kind costume.
It’s fun! Yes, a little fun plays an important role at work! Regular opportunities for play in the workplace break down barriers, boost creativity and optimism, lower stress and increase motivation.
Read on for quick employee engagement ideas for a successful workplace Halloween!
We spend more of our waking hours with co-workers than we do with our significant others, so take advantage of Valentine’s Day and celebrate colleagues! If you focus on gratitude and appreciation, it’s perfectly appropriate and thoughtful to do.
Valentine’s Day in the workplace should be about celebrating workplace colleagues and a culture of kindness and compassion. Steer clear of romance and relationships. The opportunity is to communicate value for great working relationships and a culture supportive of compassion and camaraderie.
By mid-October, the supermarket checkout aisle is full of magazine covers, each boasting a glorious, burnished brown Thanksgiving turkey — so juicy and tempting, you can almost smell the savory aroma while you dig out your debit card.
And indeed, it’s not too soon to start thinking about stuffing (should it have bacon this year? Probably!), your other side dishes — and of course, the holiday centerpiece: a beautifully roasted turkey.
Before you choose a bird, check out these five tips to keep in mind as you plan your holiday meal, whether you’re serving 25 assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins or a simple Thanksgiving turkey feast for two.
1. Know What You’re Getting: Master This Basic Turkey Terminology
Turkey seems straightforward enough — but the wealth of options available today can confuse shoppers who aren’t sure what they want or what certain labels mean. Here’s a quick glossary to cover the main points*:
As Americans become more aware of the often harsh conditions in which commercial poultry are raised, many are choosing free-range turkeys over better-known name brands. Under USDA standards, free-range birds must have access to the outdoors while they are raised (instead of being crammed into overcrowded farm facilities). Along with other advocates of free-range turkeys, the regional farmers who raise them say the birds are of higher quality than their commercially processed counterparts, because their diets are more varied (improving the flavor of their meat) and they get more exercise (improving their texture).
What are heritage turkeys? These unusual breeds were once common in America, but fell out of favor as growers concentrated on the specially bred, big-breasted birds preferred by consumers (typically the Broad Breasted White turkey). Heritage varieties include Narragansett, American Bronze, Jersey Buff, and Bourbon Red.
Per the Splendid Table, heritage turkeys generally offer less breast meat and a stronger flavor than a conventional Thanksgiving turkey. As a result of the latter point, some expert cooks recommend not brining heritage birds, as doing so just wipes out their unique flavor.
By federal regulation, a turkey labeled “natural” may not contain artificial flavorings, coloring, or chemical preservatives. The natural label also means the bird hasn’t been fed animal byproducts or given growth promotants or antibiotics (except for parasite control). Forbes writer Beth Hoffman says the last point alone makes natural turkeys worth it: “If we can stop the run away use of antibiotics in raising livestock and poultry, it is worth a few extra cents a pound to do it.”
Natural turkeys must also be minimally processed, meaning they have only been handled as necessary to slaughter, clean, and make them ready for human consumption. Note that a “natural” designation doesn’t have to be free-range, and that “natural” isn’t the same as…
Organic turkeys are free-range birds that have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics, and were given pesticide-free feed. Consumer Reports agrees with Hoffman that the lack of antibiotics is in itself a good reason to go organic. Whether organic birds taste noticeably better is up for debate and presumably highly subjective; in 2011, a representative from the World Society for the Protection of Animals said that “While some studies have been conducted on the taste of meat from organically-raised turkeys versus meat from intensively raised animals, to my knowledge they have not been conclusive.” And Mic in 2017 pointed out that the “organic” label is not a guarantee that meat is healthier or was raised and processed under more humane conditions.
Quite simply, kosher turkeys are prepared under rabbinical supervision according to Jewish dietary law. While alive, these turkeys are given no antibiotics and fed a vegetarian diet, Epicurious says. Then they’re covered with kosher salt and rinsed repeatedly in cold water. This can make for a juicier, tastier bird, but, as Tablet notes, the process also means kosher turkeys are usually not entirely plucked before they’re sold, which can be a pain. The general sentiment is that you shouldn’t brine a kosher turkey, because they’re already salty enough, but Joan Nathan pushes back on that here, noting that she and her friends agree the kosher turkeys of today are less salty than they used to be.
A self-basting turkey is injected with a solution to improve the flavor and juiciness of the meat. Some manufacturers treat only the breast meat, while others inject the entire bird. The label must say “basted” or “self-basted” and must list the amount and names of the ingredients used in the basting solution. (Remember, the net weight of the turkey includes the weight added by the solution — so you could be paying more for less meat. Cook’s Info says: “The solution injected will constitute 6 to 9 % of the weight that you are paying for.”) Generally speaking, you do not need to brine a self-basting turkey yourself before cooking (which saves time). If you prefer to use your own brine solution, read the packaging closely to ensure your Thanksgiving centerpiece isn’t already basted.
As stated, a fully cooked whole turkey has been precooked and frozen by the processor. After thawing, it can be reheated (or served cold), which takes much less time than cooking a raw bird. Note, though: You can’t stuff a fully cooked turkey, as the dish isn’t in the oven long enough.
A “young” turkey is a turkey of either sex that is less than 8 months old at the time of slaughter. Most turkeys reach market maturity at 4-5 months of age. As Berkeley Wellness says, “Most of the turkeys found on the market are young and will have tender meat.”
Hen vs. tom
Turkeys weighing 8-16 pounds are usually female (hens), while larger birds are male (toms). Since supermarket turkeys are normally slaughtered young, both hens and toms should be about the same in terms of taste, juiciness, and tenderness — so don’t fret too much over the sex of your bird. (That said, Berkeley Wellness notes that some cooks claim toms are tastier, and some say you’ll get more white meat on a hen.)
As you might guess, the further you get from name-brand commercial turkeys, the more you’re likely to pay. Heritage and organic turkeys can be pricey. If you’re searching for something less expensive, consider Amish turkeys (which are generally natural and hormone-free) or free-range birds. (For a real deep dive on turkey prices, the USDA has information for you.)
*As this NPR article from 2015 makes clear, a number of these labels are not quite as clear-cut as we wish they were!
2. To Get the Right Size, Buy a Pound Per Person (or More)
Here’s a simple formula: Get 1 pound of Thanksgiving turkey for each adult you’re serving, and half a pound per child. So if you’ve got 10 adults coming and four kids, you’ll want at least a 12-pound bird. If you’re inviting big eaters or counting on plenty of leftovers, make it 1.5 pounds per adult. (For creative recipes for your excess meat, check out “Thanksgiving Leftovers: Five Fresh Ideas.”)
Once you hit the 16-pound mark, you can be less strict, as birds that big have a better ratio of meat to bone — e.g., a 20-pound turkey will serve 14 people just fine and yield plenty of leftovers.
3. For Many People, Frozen Beats Fresh
As a rule, fresh food sounds better than frozen. But turkey is different. The term “fresh” applies to raw poultry that has never been stored below 26°F. Poultry held at 0°F or below must be labeled “frozen.” (Turkeys stored between 1°F and 25°F don’t have an official name, but are often labeled “refrigerated,” “hard-chilled,” or “previously frozen.”)
In other words, “fresh” only describes a turkey’s temperature from the time it was processed. It has nothing to do with how long it’s been sitting at the store.
If you are curious about how fresh turkeys fared in an Epicurious taste test of supermarket brand turkeys, the Bell & Evans’ fresh turkey review was the most positive, earning an Epi Top Pick stamp of approval.
And while some cooks rave about a fresh Thanksgiving turkey straight from the farm, in a Cook’s Illustrated taste test, frozen turkeys were rated more moist and tender than fresh birds.
So we recommend buying a frozen Thanksgiving turkey, as long you have the time and the fridge space to thaw it safely — a 15-pound turkey will take about three full days to thaw.
4. Decide on Your Recipe Before Shopping
Your recipe’s success can depend on the type of Thanksgiving turkey you choose. For instance, if you’re experimenting with an unusual brine or exotic seasonings, you probably don’t want a self-basting bird. Or if you’re planning to grill your turkey, you’ll want to be sure it’s not too big. (You also might want to consider asking your butcher to spatchcock it — remove the backbone — for you. This is an excellent method for roasting, too.) So go in to your turkey purchase with an idea of what you’d like to do.
5. Lock Down Special Turkeys ASAP
If you want a free-range, organic, or heritage bird as your Thanksgiving turkey, it’s not a bad idea to start planning in mid-October. (If you use a digital calendar, go set an annual reminder right now!) Local co-ops and groceries often begin reserving turkeys a few weeks in advance, and family farms like to know even sooner. You’re better off checking in early than missing the rush. And even if you’re just getting a regular frozen commercial bird, make sure you buy it far enough in advance (usually 3-5 days before Thanksgiving) that it has time to thaw.
To make this year’s Thanksgiving turkey the best you’ve ever served,
download our FREE Ultimate Turkey Guide right now.
Brighten up the last few weeks of winter with these employee team-building ideas for Pi Day on March 14!
Pi Day — not to be confused with National Pie Day, our other favorite excuse to enjoy pie — is a holiday made up by math geeks to celebrate the irrational number that describes the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference.
That number is typically rounded up and shortened to 3.14, so the holiday is celebrated on March 14. And 3.14 backwards spells … you guessed it, P-I-E. As PBS describes it, “Pi Day is a holiday for math (and pie) enthusiasts to celebrate their love of numbers.”
Pi Day is for the rest of us, too. Everyone loves pie, and even the math-phobic among us can get excited about numbers games and other related activities.
Take advantage of this holiday to engage employees as a break from work and a chance to get to know each other better.
Or, if your workers deal directly with math and numbers — for example, employees in retail or sales — ask them to play numbers-related games or participate in a fun math challenge related to their work.
Bottom line: everyone gets to enjoy a nice slice of pie.
Read on for fun ideas to celebrate your team this Pi Day.