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 highly recommend listening if you are trying to get ideas to improve your workplace. Whether you are a CEO, HR, or office manager.
We hope you’ll join us for this Twitter Chat 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!
Your Employee Thank You Really Does Matter
According to leaders in the field of gratitude and happiness research, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley – sharing your heartfelt ‘thank you’ at work, at home and with friends, does truly remarkable things:
“Over the past two decades, studies have consistently found that people who practice gratitude report fewer symptoms of illness, including depression, more optimism and happiness, stronger relationships, more generous behavior, and many other benefits.”
The Greater Good Science Center feels so strongly about the power of ‘thank you’, they launched a multi-year initiative with Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis, to expand gratitude research (particularly in the areas of health and wellness) and create practical programs to promote gratitude in classrooms and the workplace.
We are very excited to share that the first book from this initiative has just been introduced! “The Gratitude Project: How the Science of Thankfulness Can Rewire Our Brains for Resilience, Optimism, and the Greater Good” by Jeremy Adams Smith and colleagues.” Stay in touch with what they are doing via their newsletter or check out the gratitude videos and speaker bureau.
Why You Should Download Your Free Gratitude Guide
gThankYou’s “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude” is written to provide everything you need to harness the power of appreciation in your organization. It’s easy to read and organized so that you can quickly peruse it for tangible takeaways you can implement right away or dive deep for a more comprehensive and strategic view.
If the leadership at your company isn’t on board with your plan to embrace gratitude, you can share persuasive data about the business benefits of genuine gratitude that are hard to ignore.
In addition to compelling research and case studies, you’ll learn:
- How everyone benefits from workplace gratitude
- Why appreciation is so effective
- How to create a culture of gratitude
- The importance of your employee thank you
- Creative how-to tips for putting appreciation into practice
- Resources to help you sustain and nurture your culture of gratitude
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.
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.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
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.
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.
The appointed hour has arrived: it’s time for you and dozens of your relatives and friends to gather around the dining room table, stretched out to its full capacity for the most celebrated meal of the year –Thanksgiving. But, like a weary child from the backseat during a cross-country trip, one question nags at you: Are we there yet? Am I sure the turkey’s done?
For cooks who are afraid of disappointing all their aunts, uncles and cousins on a national holiday, here is a quick list of tell-tale signs that your Thanksgiving turkey is ready for its grand entrance.
There isn’t just one recipe for success when it comes to employee recognition; there are many thoughtful ways to acknowledge employees’ dedication. Leaders who take the time and energy to show employee gratitude year-round end up with happier team members and a more enjoyable workplace. Below are some ways to show Spring gratitude!
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.
Is it a coincidence that the year begins with holidays focusing on kindness and gratitude … perhaps to help us keep the heartfelt feelings from December alive?
February brings Valentine’s Day on the 14th and Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 17th while March opens with Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday of the month. But rather than reserving these sentiments for certain days or weeks, why not carry them forward and make kindness and gratitude a year-round practice in the workplace?
A New Culture of Humanity
In 2020, leaders and managers are recognizing the need to elevate and expand employee experiences to ‘human experiences’ where employees feel valued, authentic and appreciated, and where kindness, gratitude, and workplace love are part of the daily fabric of work life.
Studies show that when employees experience higher levels of humanity at work, they perform better, are more loyal and are more willing to go the extra mile. One recent study in the journal Emotion observed acts of kindness in a real-life work environment at Coca Cola’s Madrid headquarters and saw a positive impact throughout the entire workplace culture. The kindness was indeed contagious, with employees reporting a greater sense of well-being and a willingness to reciprocate the acts of kindness. These workers also felt appreciated and cared for by their employer.
Many business and thought-leaders believe a kindness-fueled and more human work culture is here to stay, according to a December 2019 article in Forbes on HR Predictions for 2020. “I predict that the movement toward a more humanistic work culture will only accelerate,” says Susan Cain, co-founder and CEO of Quiet Revolution and best-selling author.
Nataly Kogan, founder of Happier Inc and [email protected] Work, shares this sentiment.
“More and more leaders and companies will make creating a culture of gratitude, kindness and psychological safety a strategic priority in 2020.”
And Josh Bersin, founder of the Josh Bersin Academy, takes it a step further as he writes in “Our New Role: Bringing Kindness to Work” that kindness at work has now become fundamental to the workplace.
Putting it into Practice
Whether you want to jump-start employee kindness and gratitude programs around Employee Appreciation Day, or are looking for ways to expand your efforts, here are some helpful ideas big and small:
- Just Say Thank You
Saying thank you often and with sincerity is the best way to let your employees know you appreciate them and their contributions. It can be a hand-written or digital note, a call-out at an informal or formal meeting, or simply singing the praises of your employee to another colleague. Nothing feels better than acknowledgement and appreciation.
Not sure how to make your thank you meaningful? We have the perfect resource for you – “Writing Thank You Notes Employees Will Treasure” free from gThankYou.
- Do Something Special
Consider kicking off a series of Employee Appreciation activities by hosting a special team get-together on Friday, with activities such as a donuts and delights morning wake-up, a surprise sundae social, pizza and pop, etc. Or surprise your workplace with a catered spread with invites for partners and spouses.
If your group is small, consider giving each employee a little gift of appreciation with a customized note acknowledging their contributions and why they are appreciated. Set expectations that this culture of gratitude is here to stay and that other employee appreciation events will follow.
- Wall of Gratitude
Consider building an office ‘Wall of Gratitude’ that aligns with different bi-weekly or monthly themes of gratitude, recognizing employees who best demonstrate the featured theme.
Recognition can be either formal or informal, with employees encouraged to contribute to the wall with quotes or share their own examples of colleagues who exemplified ‘random acts of kindness and gratitude’. You can even ask customers to contribute. All gratitude recipients could then be eligible for quarterly ‘Grand Gratitude’ awards.
- Just Ask
Kick-off a Gratitude campaign by asking employees what would make them feel most appreciated in the workplace and design your ongoing program accordingly, where possible. Perhaps employees would value a bonus vacation day for the year, or a few hours off each month to volunteer at their child’s school, or access to training to pursue a hobby or interest they are passionate about. Even if you can’t meet all their gratitude requests, asking for their input will go a long way.
Additional Inspiration for Employee Appreciation Day:
Looking for last-minute inspiration for Employee Appreciation Day? Share some workplace love and appreciation with the ideas below via these links. After all, who wouldn’t be touched with the gift of a bag of lifesavers and a heartfelt note saying “Thank You for being a Life Saver”?
Whatever gratitude path you choose, enter the new decade with resolve to infuse the transformative powers of gratitude, kindness and appreciation in your workplace. These powerful feelings can be contagious, so sprinkle them generously and everywhere.
Resources to help build your Year of Workplace Kindness and Gratitude:
- Our 2020 Employee Celebration Calendar – everyday ideas and inspiration for building a culture of appreciation
- Our Workplace Gratitude Guide – to help better understand the science of gratitude and easily apply it to the workplace
- Random Acts of Kindness Foundation – a collection of creative resources to help you sow kindness everywhere
- Employee Appreciation Quotes – to help you find the right words to say thank you
We hope you find this the year that kindness and gratitude define your relationship with colleagues and customers and the foundation of your workplace culture.
Your Friends at gThankYou
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.
A holiday ham doesn’t have only one part to play in your end-of-the-year celebrations. Check out these great ham appetizer ideas for passing around at family gatherings — all finger food and easy to execute.
Ham Appetizers You Won’t Be Able to Pass Up
From Ina Garten, The Food Network.
This is one of my all-time favorite holiday appetizers. It starts with premade puff pastry and comes out of the oven bubbling and delicious. (I especially like it because it doesn’t involve filling little individual quiche cups or wrapping dozens of shrimp in bacon. Who has time?)
You can vary the cheese — cheddar is great for a more kid-friendly version, as is part-skim mozzarella — and any hard cheese could substitute for Gruyere. Yum!
Smoked Ham Roll-ups
From Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats.
This is another take on the “make something big and cut it into small bites” school of appetizer cooking. You could skip the horseradish, add some chopped sundried tomatoes to the cream cheese or augment with green onions for color and a little onion flavor.
Deviled Ham Sandwiches
From Lisa Lavery at Chow.com.
Deviled ham comes together quickly in a food processor, blended with pickle relish, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and spices. Recipe author Lisa Lavery says to served the ham “with fancy crackers, or enjoy it on bread for a departure from the everyday ham sandwich.”
Bonus: This can be made three days ahead, to give you more time for other things on the day of the party.
Mini Frittatas with Ham and Cheese
From Cooking Light. These bite size frittatas will require the purchase of a mini-muffin pan if you don’t already have one. But they’re savory, surprisingly light (even with regular instead of reduced-fat ham) and so simple to make, that could be a worthy investment.
Made with onions, chives, cheddar and egg, these taste great hot and at room temperature, so they’re a cinch to make ahead.
Free Holiday Ham Guide
For a go-to all things ham cookbook and guide, download gThankYou’s free “Holiday Ham Guide”. You’ll find everything you need to select, cook, flavor and serve a juicy, beautifully cooked ham. Your friends and family will thank you!
Inside this popular guide you’ll find more recipes for whole ham as well as glazes and appetizers. What are you waiting for? Download your free copy now!
Building a culture employees love, sustains a workplace of appreciation, long-term commitment, and strong execution.
Research proves appreciating employees day-in and day-out enhances engagement, fuels productivity, retains employees and transforms workplace culture.
And at it’s heart, appreciating employees means finding and making opportunities to share your heartfelt and sincere thanks – now and throughout the year.
gThankYou’s “2020 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar“ – is your unique how-to guide for building that vibrant, lasting culture of appreciation that employees will love.
How-to Guide Provides Research & Tools for Celebrating Employees
In this one-of-a-kind eBook, we give you the tools to educate and inspire you to build an everyday culture of appreciation.
This year’s fresh and fun engagement and appreciation Calendar contains:
- Recent trends in employee appreciation, engagement and gratitude in the workplace
- Creative ideas for employee appreciation
- New case studies of appreciation in action
- Exciting new resources for building a healthier, happier workplace.
It’s the perfect resource to inspire 2020 employee engagement and appreciation planning!
Every year at this time, we share our brand-new Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation and Celebration Calendar for the coming year. It’s free and our holiday gift to you and your colleagues!
Easy Month-by-Month Celebrations
Each month identifies “Don’t Miss Celebrations” and “Ready-to-Go Celebrations” to make your job engaging and appreciation colleagues easier and more fun! Use our ideas “as is” or modify them to better meet your needs.
This Calendar resource is intended to inspire your employee engagement and appreciation planning. Use our examples and ideas for a basis of brainstorming with your team for GREAT ideas that fit your workplace culture.
Let us know what works well for you and we might feature you in next year’s Calendar!!
We wish you and your colleagues an inspired and joyful new year!
Redeeming your gThankYou! Ham Gift Certificate is easy!
For the best service, we recommend choosing a traditional chain grocery store such as Kroger, Safeway, Shop-Rite, Publix or other similar types of grocery stores in your area.
Redeem (and enjoy!) your Ham voucher today — or whenever works for you. Your holiday gift is good through the end of April of next year. You get to choose when to enjoy your gift and where to redeem it. It’s all up to you!
Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to redeem your gThankYou Certificate.
(more…)Much of what we know of ham is the cured city or country variety that you simply heat and serve. But lately, I’ve been seeing more ham labeled “uncured” on grocer’s shelves. What’s going on?
Uncured ham is also called fresh ham. It’s the same cut as cured, but not embellished with any of the brine and smoke or other flavorings the more common city hams and gourmet country hams. It even has a light pink or grey color, as you would expect in uncooked meat. It requires a little extra preparation and cooking time than its cured counterparts. Here’s a good explanation of ham types from the City Cook.
You could infer that uncured hams are a healthier alternative. Many are labelled organic or natural. And with uncured hams you won’t get any of the nitrites or nitrates used in many cured hams – a controversial addition for some. Fresh hams are described as far less salty, too, even if you brine the pork yourself.
But the reason I think we’re seeing more interest in the uncured variety of hams is this: We continue to be in the golden age of DIY cooking. This trend grew up with Martha Stewart’s Omnimedia empire, still going strong after many years, and continues to evolve with widening demand for local and organic foods.
In certain ways, people are spending more time in the kitchen. This is particularly true around the holidays. So it makes sense that uncured hams are lining shelves.
Whether you prefer cured or uncured ham, make sure you know how to handle, cook and store your ham safely.
Cooking and Caring for Uncured Ham
Here are a few tips and recipes worth noting:
- The USDA has a food safety sheet for Ham that’s handy. Here’s a time table for cooking fresh hams. And you’ll want to see this chart on safely storing ham.
- Epicurious offers a great recipe for Grilled Molasses and Rum-Glazed Fresh Ham.
- Brine your own fresh ham using this beloved Home-Cured Holiday Ham recipe by Chef John at Allrecipes.
We love pulling out the grill in winter, so we’re thinking of doing a basic brine and then throwing it on the grill. Share your favorite fresh ham cooking technique or recipe with us!
Learn More About Cooking Ham
To learn more about cooking ham, download our FREE eBook, a “Holiday Ham Guide”!
This popular free guide will walk you through how to choose a ham, offers lots of recipe and glaze choices, explains the various ways to cook ham and provides helpful advice such as carving and storing ham leftovers. It’s your go-to guide for all things ham.
Download your copy today and delight your guests next time you serve a special ham meal.
Few centerpieces are more anticipated than a perfectly pink holiday ham, glazed with a spiky coarse mustard and sweet fruit preserves, and sliced into lovely petals.
But if you’re cooking a ham for the first time, getting from the package in the grocery store to that beautiful Christmas Day dinner-table picture can seem like a daunting journey. So, for the newbie, this is our ham primer.
Choosing and Cooking Your Ham
Start with a cured or smoked (precooked) ham. (You can definitely make a fresh one, but today let’s leave that to the more experienced cooks.)
The most popular kind of ham is a city ham. Much like a brined Butterball turkey, city hams are wet-cured, injected with a mixture of salt, seasonings and curing agents. An article on Real Simple claims that “bone-in city hams tend to be moister and more flavorful than the boneless variety,” though both come ready to eat.
Country ham is favored in the south. These hams are dry-cured with a salt/seasoning rub, then smoked and aged. Real Simple explains, “salty and chewy, the intensely flavored meat is usually served with biscuits or incorporated into casseroles and salads. It’s sold both uncooked and cooked, and mostly bone-in.”
Bon Appétit recommends getting a ham with “some kind of bone in it. It will give you a sense of where to take the ham’s temperature to determine doneness (see below), plus, that leftover bone will bring a soup or pot of beans to the next level.”
According to a Rachael Ray how-to, “spiral hams cook faster because the heat penetrates better.” Either way, if you have a whole ham, be prepared to dedicate your oven to it for a good chunk of time.
Alton Brown, the lovable science-geek chef on the Food Network, recommends warming a precooked ham for three to four hours at a low temperature (250°F) under foil, then increasing the heat, adding a brown sugar/bourbon glaze and then upping the heat (350°F) for a final hour.
A classic holiday ham recipe on Chow.com estimates five hours of cooking and prep time, using a temperature of 325°F. The Neelys’ recipe is a little faster, about three hours for a 14-pound ham at 350°F. Choose a recipe that fits your time frame; remember that the ham will smell wonderful while it cooks!
Choose a glaze for your ham, usually a combination of something savory or spicy, like mustard, cloves, garlic or ginger, and something sweet, like orange juice, pineapple, fresh or dried figs or even Coca-Cola. The glaze usually goes on in the last 60 to 30 minutes of cooking. Check out our recent post, 5 Ways to Glaze a Holiday Ham, for more recipe ideas. And our FREE Holiday Ham Guide is full of glaze and recipe ideas!
Finally, carve your ham. If you have a spiral sliced ham, that’s already been done for you. If you don’t, look to a step-by-step guide like the one Jeffrey Elliot put together at Huffington Post, or this one from Hunter Lewis at Saveur.
For a video, watch Ron Stapleton from Stapleton’s Quality Meats demonstrate how to carve a holiday ham. And avoid some common mistakes, like drying out the ham or burning the glaze, by reading this tip sheet from Bon Appétit.
Free Ham Cookbook
Be sure to download our FREE “Holiday Ham” Cookbook for more tips and recipes for the perfect holiday ham dinner. Click the image below to download your copy now!
We hope these tips and resources for cooking a Holiday Ham help you enjoy cooking yours. Happy Holidays!