We are here to remind you: Recognize employees for small wins regularly. Doing so results in a confident, productive workplace.
Praise for specific acts of excellence builds employee self-confidence and increases engagement.
Employee recognition is one of the most important responsibilities of leaders. It’s smart business, directly affecting productivity, retention and overall culture.
According to Quantum Workplace,
“Organizations with formal recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than organizations that don’t have any program at all. And they’re 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes.“
The best employee recognition fulfills a “core emotional need” in humans: to feel important. Your employees want to work for leaders who value them. Unfortunately, too many well-meaning employee recognition programs don’t make this emotional connection with employees.
Ensure that your workplace leaders recognize employees effectively. Invest time and structured training so managers understand recognition expectations, and teach them how to effectively recognize people. We have put together some expert tips on what to do and what NOT to do when recognizing employees.
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.
Spring is always a season of hope, and after the past year of dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on our work and personal lives, the promise of a hopeful and bright spring of 2021 seems especially important.
“Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.”
Give the Gift of Groceries in Celebration of SpringMany companies have a long tradition of celebrating Easter or spring in the workplace. It’s still important to share that sense of appreciation to employees, particularly when we take a moment to reflect on the challenges of the past year. No matter how you and your team celebrate Spring, the practical gift of groceries is something that will resonate with everyone in an meaningful way – especially during our pandemic recovery. It’s one gift that is always welcomed and appreciated by all.gThankYou Grocery Gift Certificates can be redeemed for any combination of food items at major grocery stores anywhere in the U.S.
Recipients can choose the center piece of a holiday meal such as an Easter ham, healthy basics like fruits and vegetables and/or a special dessert. They choose what their family needs and will enjoy most. Recipients will appreciate your thoughtful gift and acknowledgement of their role in helping your organization weather the challenges of the past year.
All gThankYou purchases come with free customizable gift Enclosure Cards. Perfect for your personal note of appreciation and thanks. Choose from dozens of seasonal designs and have us add your organization logo too! We want you to love it!
Brought to you by Elsie Weisskoff with REDBUBBLE Life
February is the month of love and kindness. While some people thoroughly enjoy the multitude of candy hearts, red roses and pink teddy bears, others would rather skip right through to March. But February is much more than Valentine’s Day – it’s the month of kindness! Take advantage of this time to show compassion and support to colleagues at work. We all need a little extra appreciation these days.
We admire the work that the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has been doing for years. February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness day and this year’s theme is Explore the Good which is the perfect mindset for 2021. They have a plethora of ideas, tips, inspiring quotes, materials like posters and calendars and even dedicated workplace materials. Check it out! Consider becoming a RAKtivist® (short for ‘Random Acts of Kindness activist).
It’s been proven that one random act of kindness a day can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Acts of kindness also release hormones that make you calmer, healthier and overall happier.
“When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world.”
At REDBUBBLE Life we’ve recently shared “14 Days of Socially Distant Love and Kindness” to inspire kindness this month. We are thrilled to share workplace specific examples for gThankYou readers below!
7 Ways to Share Socially Distanced Kindness in the Workplace
1. Share a note of encouragement
We can all use encouragement from time to time, especially these days. This month is an opportunity to take the time to thank those who have helped you along the way – covered you when you needed it, supported you or always had your back.
During these challenging Covid-times, if you see someone at work struggling, reach out to them with your thoughtful words. Handwrite a card that highlights the positive traits you see in them and offer your encouragement and support.
Redbubble offers notecards with mandala designs for coloring, free for downloading below. Did you know that coloring has been shown to reduce negative moods and cause relaxation?
Download your free designs below now:
Random Acts of Kindness also offers fun free downloadable “Tag You’re It Cards” for recognizing workplace kindness and encouraging colleagues to pay it forward.
2. Bake treats for your team
You depend on your team and they have worked hard for you the last year. Show them your gratitude by baking a treat for them to enjoy. This will come as a welcome surprise! If you’ve been working locally but remotely, drop off homemade treats. If that’s not feasible, consider sending a treat from local bakeries (and help local businesses too!).
If you’re giving your treat in-person (with a mask on), try attaching one of these cute downloadable dessert tags – FREE!
3. Provide a positive review
If you see someone doing a good job, let their manager know. If you are their manager, highlight their work to the company. This small act can make a big impact on someone’s mood and even boost their career.
Want to make the process transparent? Then post a gratitude board (physical or digital) where all employees can leave notes of appreciation for colleagues. Know your employees. Do employees like to be publicly applauded or is your culture more subdued and a personal thank you from a manager works best? Either way, empower employees to share gratitude for work well done and special efforts and your whole team will benefit.
4. Share a compliment
A small act of kindness can be as simple as giving someone a compliment. Is your coworker’s background on Zoom well-designed? Let them know. Is someone especially cheerful and lifts everyone’s spirits? Let them know that their attitude is contagious.
These seeming little compliments can instantly improve someone’s mood. And, when sincerely complimenting someone, they are likely to return the favor to another colleague and you’ve now started the contagion of gratitude!
The key with compliments is they need to be:
1. Specific (about why what they did or do that impresses you).
2. Authentic (your compliment must be sincere)
3. Timely (compliments have the greatest impact in the moment)
“It’s a pleasure to work with someone who knows how to make and inspire a friendly and inspiring workplace. Bravo!”
5. Gift your favorite book
Has there been a book that played a significant role in your career? Or maybe one that changed the way you thought about a daily task? Pass the knowledge on by gifting it to a coworker.
Include one of the printable bookmarks below and write down your favorite part or quote from the book. This will make the gift that much more meaningful!
Consider establishing a book share for coworkers and have readers write short blurbs why they love the book to help future readers. This can be done if work is in-person or virtual. Have employees who really love certain topics? Encourage them to host virtual or live book groups to share their passions with others.
6. Start by being kind to yourself
Being as kind to yourself as you are to others is sound advice. Check out the work of Dr. Kristin Neff in the area of self compassion. Additionally, we can’t ignore the connections between happiness, gratitude and well being.
One of gThankYou’s customers shared that she’s found that using a happiness planner has been a daily positivity boost. We bet you have colleagues who would feel the same way too! Share gifts that promote self love and thus communicate to employees and colleagues that it’s important. (There are versions for kids and teens too so they can get a jump start on increasing happiness and spreading kindness.)
7. Say ‘thank you’ with a gift certificate
Last but not least, show your gratitude with a gift certificate. Something as simple as a Grocery Gift Certificate can be an unexpected relief after a tough week and a great way to show that you care.
Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to show gratitude. Make sure employees and coworkers know you care about them this month and every month with random acts of kindness.
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.”
Elsie is a content marketing specialist who enjoys writing about a variety of topics, from lifestyle to technology. When she’s not putting pen to virtual paper, she’s planning her next trip abroad or hiking local trails.
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.”
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.
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
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:
We are extremely grateful for our fantastic customers who enjoy giving gThankYou Gift Certificates to employees and customers for the holidays and year-round. It’s our pleasure to partner with leaders who understand that thoughtful, practical, easy-to-use gifts are an excellent way to show gratitude.
Every organization has their own unique stories of sharing gratitude.
We are excited to share three customer case studies of organizations who use gThankYou Gift Certificates to share gratitude in different ways with their workplace teams. We hope it provides inspiration and insight for sharing gratitude in your workplace. You can find all of these and download PDFs to share with your management on our new gThankYou Case Studies page!
Nothing tells a story better than satisfied customers and thousands of happy employees!
gThankYou Case Studies
Growing Company Keeps Turkey-Giving Tradition Alive
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.
Join Us on the #WorkTrends Twitter Chat this Wednesday at 1:30 pm EST
Our CMO, Liz King, recently spoke with Talent Culture rock star Meghan M. Biro about the importance of workplace gratitude on this week’s #WorkTrends Podcast.
You can read Meghan’s Blog and listen to the podcast here: “#WorkTrends: The Power of Workplace Gratitude with Liz King“.
We hope you’ll join us or listen to the podcast anytime!
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.Gratitude in our personal and professional lives is a trending topic these days, but when we first introduced our popular ebook, Transforming Your Workplace With Gratitude, in 2013 we were in the vanguard of the workplace gratitude movement as it relates to company culture and employee engagement.
Sharing new information related to this fascinating topic through our publications and blog has long been a priority. In the face of the worldwide pandemic, gratitude is again a popular topic. Be sure to check out our recent post, “Pandemic Makes Workplace Gratitude More Important than Ever”.Since its introduction, our eBook on workplace gratitude has been a helpful guide for companies, large and small, as they learned to embrace an attitude of gratitude. Over the last five years, research has underscored the power of gratitude in our lives.
This growing body of research demonstrates that companies that make an effort to appreciate employees are among the most successful, most innovative companies in the world and have the highest rates of employee satisfaction and retention.
Our original 2013 version has been completely rewritten with a focus on how to build authentic appreciation in the workplace today. While the key element in achieving that remains gratitude, the book is an exciting resource for businesses who are either curious to learn more as they embark on this journey or remain committed to sustaining a culture of appreciation. We will continue to update this popular eBook as the world of gratitude research evolves.
Why We Love Workplace Gratitude
In his book “The Little Book of Gratitude,” the world’s foremost gratitude expert, Professor Robert A. Emmons, calls gratitude “the ultimate performance-enhancing substance.” Who wouldn’t want that in the workplace?
Imagine what your work team could accomplish with a 50 percent jump in productivity. What if you could slash voluntary turnover by 31 percent?
Part of the answer lies in just two words: “Thank you.” Experts agree that authentic gratitude makes all the difference.
“Thank you” is more than good manners. it’s a powerful force that elevates employee wellbeing, loyalty, productivity and business performance. Not convinced? Download our free eBook and learn why leading business executives take workplace appreciation very seriously.
We feel strongly about the transformative power of gratitude and think you will too!
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.
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.
First responders were always at the frontlines, heroically confronting risks to their own safety and well being. High stress and trauma were already part of their realities. But the COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially increased that risk, stress and trauma. Employers of first responders are thinking of ways to better support and appreciate first responders and how changes to the workplace might help.
Right now public outpourings showing appreciation of the tremendously important and brave work of first responders has become more commonplace, but it’s important not to let those expressions of thanks and gratitude waiver as our country cautiously begins to open back up again after being on lockdown.
Keep in mind that first responders will be grappling with the trauma of what they have been called on to cope with during this pandemic for a very long time. This impact on their mental health and feelings about their jobs will likely be profoundly felt and long lasting.
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, “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.
With stress and uncertainty at high levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing your sincere workplace gratitude is more important than ever.
Even if your employees seem to be keeping it together and are being productive, it could be that they are anxious, depressed and fearful as they face increased pressure at home while possibly dealing with unfamiliar ways of getting their work done.
Harvard Business Review in an article highlighting how a little thanks goes a long way in this time of crisis, writer Sabina Nawaz puts together several strategies that you can implement to underscore just how grateful you are for your team and their efforts.
HBR reminds us that:
“Research clearly indicates expressing gratitude is beneficial to our health and well-being. We’re happier when we’re grateful. During a crisis, taking the time to thank others is vital to dampen loneliness, amp up social connections, and generate generosity.”
In the article, a busy academic executive said “I’m so busy fighting fires from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. that I don’t have time to acknowledge the work my team is doing.” If you also feel too swamped to focus on gratitude, the suggestions provided are relatively easy to achieve, even during these tumultuous times.
Workplace Gratitude is More Important than Ever
How You Can Help: Share Gratitude!
Host a daily gratitude shower
Like the neighborhood gatherings to salute and applaud essential workers that are being held around the world, create a similar event for your organization – host a daily live chat for just a few minutes and have staff type compliments about their co-workers.
Customize the way you give thanks
Research indicates that gratitude is stronger when it is for what the person did instead of how it benefited you! Learn to understand how people like to be acknowledged. This is where the 5 Love Languages can be a useful tool. Even though it was designed for couples, it can apply to the workplace.
Put employees center stage
It’s likely that everyone is working at their full capacity during this pandemic even if sometimes it doesn’t look like it. Don’t lose sight of the “invisible work” – those every day, ordinary tasks that may get overlooked. And, don’t underestimate the effort behind work. Now’s the time to celebrate those who may not typically be the “stars” by featuring them in company-wide communications.
Positivity – play it up and pay it forward
Research indicates that recipients of thanks are more likely to be helpful and generous. To create this snowball effect encourage those you thank to show appreciation to someone else. Provide an easy means and the tools to do so such as an electronic gratitude board or a workplace ‘Thank You’ app like Just Thank You.
Build a thankful team
The message travels farther (and louder) when you work as a team to give credit and thanks. Packaging praise can be coordinated using online tools like Kudoboard – create a theme and build a special card together for a colleague. This also generates good vibes for the team, not just the recipient.
Still not sure that you can carve out the time to show gratitude when you are struggling to keep yourself afloat at work, here’s a good summary of why it makes sense:
“…being thankful to your team is the right thing to do.” People are battling fears about the pandemic and juggling home and work in close proximity. Almost every employee needs to hear that their dedication is noticed and it matters. What’s more, gratitude is proven to show improvements in self-esteem, achieving career goals, decision making, productivity, and resilience.
And don’t forget, when you show gratitude, you benefit as well:
“Gratitude is a dish best served to suit the recipient’s tastes, but it comes with benefits for both the chef and the consumer. When people around you feel seen and acknowledged, they return the favor, invest more in their efforts, and form stronger connections — all essential ingredients to offset the stress of a crises. Giving thanks can be infectious.”
You’ve probably seen examples of gratitude being shown for essential workers on the news, whether it is New Yorkers banging pots and pans, applauding and singing at 7:00 pm or restaurants delivering free meals and snacks to hospitals and clinics, heartfelt homemade yard signs and innovative fundraisers. When doing more reading about workplace gratitude during the pandemic, we came across several examples that might inspire you as much they inspired us.
Pandemic Workplace Gratitude in Action
Three stories of gratitude to inspire your day and your creativity for sharing deep appreciation for your colleagues during these challenging times.
1. Leader Showing Thanks (and Vulnerability)
Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service Vicki Christiansen shared a moving message on the organization’s website that conveyed her sincere thanks for Forest Service employees during this stressful time. She began by using adjectives that employees may not often hear that were particularly apt given the circumstances:
“First, as I always do, but I really do mean it, I want to thank you for your endurance, your flexibilities, your innovation in working in this different posture as we all are across the nation in response to this pandemic.”
She also acknowledged the creativity required to keep delivering services while maintaining safety and showed genuine concern for employees who may be infected with the virus. And, addressed the stress that employees were under, and the uncertainty of the future and managed to strike the right tone of concern and comfort (and also stressed keeping communication lines open).
“We will stay connected, we will keep thinking together and we’ll re-imagine what working safely is as we get on the backside of the spread of this pandemic, but of course it’s not going to just disappear in the weeks and months ahead, as I think we all have come to realize. So more to come there. We really want to hear your questions and your feedback.”
But we were most struck by her openness about her own challenges that made us realize by revealing her vulnerability she is connecting with her team and showing they are not alone in their struggles.
“I wanted to touch on…resilience and coping; many of you in the calls that we have and in other notes you send, you know, are very nice—to ask me how I’m doing, how I’m holding up, how I’m maintaining my mental wellness, and I really appreciate that. It’s the care that we really demonstrate with each other in the Forest Service. So I’m human like everyone else, I’ll admit there are moments where I’ll say, “Aaahh!”
Additionally she shared a practical resource for approaching the pandemic 3 Zones: Fear, Learning and Growth that uses German pedagogue Tom Senniger’s learning zone model (which you may have also seen recently as many people have shared it as lens to view racism). After reading Chrstiansens’ post, we thought that this a leader who really understands the importance of gratitude in both work and personal lives.
2. Helping Hospice Workers Stay Positive
A Hospice News article by Holly Vossel highlighted several ideas of how hospice providers boosted staff morale during the pandemic. Retention and staffing issues were already a concern prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, so this industry has been under considerable stress. Some hospices around the nation tried innovative approaches to show gratitude:
- North Carolina-based Hospice of Davidson County implemented a Hospice Heroes campaign to show appreciation for workers putting themselves at consistent risk of COVID-19 infection while providing end-of-life care to patients. The campaign featured an online form to leave messages of gratitude as an encouragement for their staff members. Additionally a banner was hung at one of the organization’s hospices and luminaries were light for each hard-working staff member.
- Florida-headquartered Interim Healthcare launched a staff newsletter, ‘Inspirations,” featuring the ways each of their locations encouraged staff and patients facing COVID-19 challenges. One story was about a drive-thru breakfast at an Oklahoma City franchise location for staff to pickup of bagged meals before going to work in patient homes.
- Interim Healthcare also gave staff an 800 number to call and talk with a counselor or counseling group that is 100% confidential.
3. The Magical Gift of “Gratitude Bots”
In an American Red Cross Cascades region blog post the creative and caring efforts of Portland Oregon based artist Gary Hirsch were profiled. Hirsh designs his “Bots” to provide energy, happiness and other positive emotions to those who receive them.
Hirsch has created over 57,000 of these “small (and sometimes, big) totemic, art objects programmed to help” which are painted small on the back of dominos. Hirsch painted and donated 130 Gratitude Bots for for Red Cross phlebotomists working in Oregon and SW Washington with the intent of reminding those who receive them that someone out there cares about them.
Hirsch explained how his Bots transitioned during the pandemic:
“I started making Bots about 10 years ago. The Gratitude Bots came when Covid-19 hit. I wanted to do something to thank the people on the frontlines who are sacrificing so much to help us out in the world as we stay at home.”
Hirsch hopes these small bots will make a big difference:
“I am interested in small shifts and reminders. If someone gives you a Gratitude Bot, my hope is that you will take a moment, a pause to take in that gratitude so it can be fuel for your amazing work when things get hard.”
Hirsch also hopes that others will mount a similar campaign and gives you the info to get started:
“My real hope is that people will start making their own Bots to thank those in their community that way as well. I have step-by-step instructions on my website for how to ‘Steal the idea” and make your own.” For more details, watch Hirsch’s video above and check out his website.
Even if you don’t start creating Gratitude Bots for your company, we have the perfect tool to walk you through writing meaningful and impactful thank you notes for your staff.
Or now might be an ideal time to share summer treat gift certificates for ice cream, or fruit with your staff to thank them for their hard work during these unprecedented times. We have lots of fun seasonal Thank You Cards for you to pick from for free!
Ready to spread a contagion of gratitude? We hope so and hope you share your creative ideas with us here at info@gThankYou.com.
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.
Turkey by itself — especially the breast meat — doesn’t have a ton of flavor and can run a little dry. For the best-tasting, juiciest turkey, most birds need a little help.
Here are the most popular ways to add richness, spice and excitement to your Thanksgiving turkey.
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.