Learn to write a Thanksgiving message to employees without the same old clichés and platitudes — a Thank You letter that truly communicates your appreciation and embodies your unique company spirit!
gThankYou’s FREE eBook “Put the ‘Thanks’ in Thanksgiving” teaches how to do exactly that, with step-by-step instructions to guide you and lots of inspiring real-life examples.
With just a few weeks to go to Thanksgiving, now’s the time to craft a Thanksgiving message to employees to share in holiday cards or on your company intranet or website, or to share in person at the annual holiday party.
However you share it, the message it sends is important.
Showing gratitude to employees is finally getting the recognition it deserves as a tool for motivation and engagement.
Gratitude connects workers to the organization and its purpose. Gratitude lets them know why their hard work matters — and encourages them to keep it up.
Sharing and receiving gratitude is also good for our health, lowers stress and helps us get along better.
“As Thanksgiving approaches, our thoughts naturally turn to gratitude — at home and in the workplace. Studies suggest that expressing gratitude may focus your mind to notice gratitude more frequently,” TalentCulture founder Meghan M. Biro writes.
Quite simply, the more you express gratitude, the better you feel and the better others around you feel. And that, Biro writes, has a powerful effect in the workplace, where “expressing gratitude and being on the receiving end can be an effective morale booster and motivator.”
According to a Glassdoor study Biro cites, 80 percent of employees are willing to work harder for an appreciative boss.
4 Ways a Thanksgiving Message to Employees Improves Company Culture
New research shows companies with clear, top-down communication have happier employees and are more profitable — and, at the holidays, nothing sends a clearer message of gratitude from the boss than corporate turkey gifts.
The gift of a Thanksgiving turkey sends a clear message from management to recipients. It’s a valued, family-oriented and practical token of gratitude.
Sharing corporate turkey gifts says, “We’re grateful you’re part of our company family.”
America’s favorite corporate turkey gifts from gThankYou are Turkey Gift Certificates that are redeemable for any brand, any size and any preparation of whole turkey at virtually any grocery store.
Plus, all gThankYou Gift Certificates come with free gift cards for recipients! Our FREE Enclosure Cards come in a wide variety of designs to fit your company culture. We can add your company logo and custom message — all free!
Corporate turkey gifts from gThankYou aren’t just appreciated at Thanksgiving. They’re also perfect to share at Christmas, New Year’s or as employee recognition gifts any time of year.
Corporate Turkey Gifts: A Clear Message of Gratitude
A new Siegel+Gale survey shows that at “simple” organizations, 95 percent of employees are more likely to trust leadership. Employees at these companies also said that being innovative is easy, that they were likely to refer job candidates to their company and that they intended to stay at their jobs longer.
In turn, these companies are more profitable.
What makes an organization “simple”? How communication is shared and received in the workplace is key. A HR Dive analysis explains:
“Simple” organizations may be best described as less bureaucratic than most. Clear communication is passed along from company leaders to employees quickly and more effectively when there are fewer barriers to obscure the message.
Specifically, the communication style that works best is “clear, top-down” and transparently connected to the organization’s “purpose and business goals.”
At successful companies, employees hear feedback directly from management. The appreciation they receive connects them to the greater purpose and goals of the company.
This type of clear communication is essential at the holidays. Study after study shows what employees want most isn’t a year-end cash bonus but sincere appreciation from management.
A turkey is the very symbol of gratitude, the centerpiece to every Thanksgiving meal. The turkey centerpiece evokes childhood memories, time with family and friends, and giving thanks together.
Corporate turkey gifts are the perfect companion to your clear message of holiday gratitude!
Download it FREE today!
Originally released in 2013, our popular Gift-Giving Guide has been updated with new insights to fit the rapidly changing landscape of employee rewards and recognition.
Our Ultimate Employee Gift-Giving Guide isn’t called “ultimate” for nothing! It has practical tips for choosing and sharing employee gifts, but it also includes in-depth tutorials in creating an overall workplace culture of appreciation.
Ultimately, understanding appreciation and how to apply it in the workplace is the first step to sharing meaningful gifts with employees. It’s the foundation for a happy, productive and loyal workforce.
Gratitude as a management technique is finally getting the research and attention it deserves.
“The practice of gratitude — and its close sibling, appreciation — has started to infiltrate workplaces,” according to a recent HuffPost article from the Greater Good Science Center.
Much of this gratitude research is just from the past few years, so we’ve added it to our updated Ultimate Employee Gift-Giving Guide.
“Building on — and even getting out in front of — the existing research on gratitude at work” is crucial, according to the Greater Good Science Center. Reports from early adopters of gratitude research insights “suggest that building cultures of gratitude and appreciation can transform our work lives, leading to deeper connections to each other and to the work we’re doing.”
What’s a meaningful yet simple way to share your Thanksgiving gratitude with employees? Thanksgiving Gift Certificates!
gThankYou’s Thanksgiving Gift Certificates for Turkey (or Turkey or Ham) allow you to give recipients the gift and joy of a Thanksgiving turkey for the centerpiece of their holiday meal.
The centerpiece to the Thanksgiving feast is a symbol of gratitude and family togetherness going back generations. It’s America’s oldest tradition — and a practical gift everyone appreciates and enjoys sharing with family and friends.
Thanksgiving Gift Certificates from gThankYou can be redeemed for any brand, any size and any preparation of whole turkey (or whole or half ham), at virtually all major groceries nationwide. Our Gift Certificates redeem as Manufacturer Coupons.
What will really make a lasting impression is sharing your sincere message of “Thanks” along with your Thanksgiving Gift Certificate.
The ‘Uplifting Charm’ of Thanksgiving Gratitude
As the year comes to a close, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on the year and express appreciation for all your staff’s hard work. Thanksgiving was created for sharing gratitude!
In a newspaper column this week, editor Ben Bromley praises the simplicity of Thanksgiving.
“There is beauty in simplicity, and grace in gratitude,” Bromley writes.
Thanksgiving is underrated, and it’s time we “give Thanksgiving when it’s due.”
“Ever since the Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered to break bread and give thanks for the harvest, there has been a quiet, uplifting charm to the holiday,” he writes.
Celebrate that charm with employees! Express your thanks to staff with a practical, meaningful gift that symbolizes gratitude: Thanksgiving Gift Certificates.
(more…)When it comes to holiday employee gifts, a study released this month found gift certificates and food are the popular choices in the workplace for 2017.Read Full Post
Employee gifts in general are on the uptick as a retention strategy in a tight labor market, according to the nationwide ASI Corporate Gift Giving Study.
Customization and personalization also “continue to be major factors in gift choices,” the study found.
Employees want practical gifts they can use, like food and gift cards, and appreciate a gift that has a personalized message.
gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude for popular food items, like a Thanksgiving turkey or holiday ham, come with free customizable, personalized Enclosure Cards in dozens of designs, as well as free cookbooks.
gThankYou Gift Certificates are redeemable at virtually all major groceries nationwide, adding to their convenience and practicality.
At the heart of it, your company’s holiday employee gifts should express appreciation and build relationships.
“The majority of companies reported that expressing appreciation is the primary goal of giving gifts … closely followed by relationship development,” the ASI study concluded.
Employees want to feel valued and personally thanked — and nothing says “Thank You” at the holidays like a meaningful gift certificate for food. It’s easy to redeem, when and where the recipient wants, and it’s accompanied by a heartfelt message of gratitude. gThankYou Gift Certificates are holiday employee gifts that the whole family can enjoy!
Happy Halloween! It’s the perfect holiday for dressing up, eating candy, carving pumpkins and having some workplace fun.
But in all the fun, don’t forget a key element: recognizing and thanking employees. It really is the secret to planning effective and worthwhile fun activities in the workplace.
A report released this week shows many companies have their priorities mixed up when it comes to engaging employees with workplace fun. What employees actually want doesn’t always match what employers think they want.
The report is based on a survey by HR systems firm Sage People. It asked workers for opinions on various workplace benefits and conditions.
Quirky perks like a job-site ping pong table got a resounding “meh” from employees. Meanwhile, 72 percent of those surveyed said that feeling valued and recognized is what they value most when it comes to their day-to-day work experience.
“The research reveals that while many companies invest in quirky benefits to keep staff happy, employees aren’t impressed,” the report concluded.
Does this mean ping pong tables, games and fun activities don’t belong in the workplace? Not at all! Having fun at work builds creativity, engagement and teamwork.
But it isn’t reasonable to install a pool table in the break room and expect employee engagement to automatically go up.
Perspective, and a culture of appreciation, must come first. That means a) listening to employees, and b) incorporating appreciation into day-to-day work as well as special celebrations and activities.
Of the employees surveyed by Sage People, a whopping 42 percent said they have never been asked by their employer what they believe would improve their work experience.
“The findings show a disconnect between the benefits employers provide and what employees want. This failure to listen is costing businesses in the form of reduced productivity levels and a disengaged workforce,” the report says.
It dates back to the first Thanksgiving in 1621, when Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that lasted three days.
Historians have no record of the banquet’s exact menu, but according to History.com, the colonists and Native Americans shared fowl and deer with each other at a communal meal, along with corn and other harvest vegetables.
Turkey became a Thanksgiving staple “so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday.”
The practice of sharing a Thanksgiving turkey gift with family, friends and neighbors has endured ever since that first feast, making it America’s oldest tradition.
Now, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.
“The essence of Thanksgiving has remained the same for almost 400 years and gratitude … is the watchword of the day,” according to Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of “Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience.”
Kirkpatrick spent years researching the history of Thanksgiving for her book.
We asked Kirkpatrick to explain the Thanksgiving turkey gift tradition — and how it also came to be a tradition in the workplace.
Corporate Turkey or Ham Gifts from gThankYou let recipients decide which holiday centerpiece is best for their family.
A turkey or a half or whole ham? It’s their choice!
gThankYou! Corporate Turkey or Ham Gifts are Manufacturer Coupons, good only for a whole turkey or half or whole ham – any brand, size and preparation, and are redeemable at virtually all major grocery stores nationwide. They have no cash value and can not be used to buy any other merchandise.
Concerned about the tax implication of your employee holiday gifts? Learn the difference between Turkey Gift Certificates, Gift Cards and Gift Checks and consult with your company tax expert.
All gThankYou! Gift Certificates have long expiration dates, so recipients can save their holiday vouchers for a New Year’s celebration or Easter ham if they like.
Best of all, thank you cards for your gifts are on us!
gThankYou offers Enclosure Cards in dozens of designs to fit your company culture and the season or holiday you’re celebrating. Our Cards can be personalized with your message and can even include a company logo. We send you a proof to approve and include them free with your purchase. Along with your certificate gift, it’s the perfect way to express your appreciation.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up fast! After Halloween, you have just a little over three weeks to put together your holiday corporate Turkey or Ham Gift program for your workplace.
But don’t worry: gThankYou has you covered with same day shipping and customized logistics for large companies and multi-location organizations. Give us a call and we will customize a plan that works for you – 888-484-1658.
Let gThankYou help you be an office hero this holiday season!
Need Halloween contest ideas for the workplace? It’s not too late! You still have plenty of time to plan something fun and engaging for employees.
Your instincts to celebrate Halloween in the workplace are spot-on. Halloween is an active, hands-on holiday and popular with people of all ages. A record 179 million Americans are expected to celebrate Halloween this year.
Halloween “brings out the creative side in all of us, no matter what age, and allows everyone to show off and have a good time in any way they choose,” Rachel Farley writes in an Ogemaw County Herald editorial.
It may seem like fun and games, but done right, Halloween contests and other activities feed workplace creativity and team-building.
Creativity is crucial in the workplace, according to Forbes: “Creativity is rapidly shifting from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ quality for all types of successful organizations — from delicatessens to design firms.”
Any risks involved with celebrating Halloween in the workplace, like inappropriate costumes or practical jokes taken too far, are easy to avoid by planning ahead and putting guidelines in place. (A good place to start to make sure you’re setting the right rules is AZBigMedia’s helpful blog post on celebrating Halloween in the office without consequences.)
Embrace Halloween! Your employees (and customers) will be glad you did.
If you are looking to share a holiday turkey gift with employees or customers, skip the logistic hassles of distributing frozen turkeys and share gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates and Vouchers instead.
What’s the difference between turkey gift certificates and vouchers? Nothing! A “voucher” is just another term for gift certificate.
When it comes to workplace turkey gifts, more companies choose gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude. We’re America’s favorite choice for Turkey Gift Certificates, Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates and other popular food gifts – perfect for holiday-time or anytime employee and customer appreciation.
gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates allow recipients to choose any brand, size and preparation of whole turkey — Butterball®, Norbest®, Smithfield® or any other brand from major grocery stores in the U.S.
gThankYou Gift Certificates are Manufacturer Coupons which are only good for a specific item (such as a whole turkey), have an expiration date and provide no cash or residual value. They cannot be deposited in the bank or used to buy other merchandise.
Be careful not to confuse turkey gift certificates and vouchers with gift checks or gift cards.
Gift cards, allow recipients to buy any store merchandise. Butterball® Gift Checks, and other holiday gift checks, can be deposited into a bank account or used to buy any merchandise. And, both are taxable gifts to employees.
If you are looking to restrict your holiday gift to a Turkey, choose gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates.
(If you are concerned with the tax implications of employee gift-giving, please consult with your accounting or tax professional.)
Learning how to engage transportation workers in your industry is key to increasing retention and reliability, keeping workers happy and improving overall customer service.
Retention and an aging workforce are challenges for the trucking industry in particular, according to FleetOwner.
“As the ‘traditional’ make-up of the U.S. truck-driver population is rapidly aging and heads for retirement, new efforts must be made to attract younger and ‘non-traditional’ candidates to the job of piloting commercial vehicles for a living,” Sean Kilcarr writes for FleetOwner.
The potential for automation in long-haul trucking is making current employees nervous about their long-term prospects and adding to an overall feeling of being undervalued and under-appreciated.
Meanwhile, drivers continue to be in demand.
“This work is undervalued even though it’s absolutely crucial to the economy,” writes truck driver Ryan Haney in a review of the new book, “The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream.”
“As a truck driver myself, I know that so much of what we do is far too complicated to be replaced by technology any time soon. We do a lot more than just hold a steering wheel,” Haney writes.
This feeling of under-appreciation isn’t limited to truckers. School bus drivers, among other school employees, are not getting enough acknowledgement or feedback, according to a survey of engagement in K-12 education.
Engaging workers who are constantly on the move takes commitment, creativity and planning. Read on for inspiration and 5 ways to reinvigorate your engagement efforts.
To our fantastic customers: We couldn’t have done it without you!
Over the past decade, our Certificates of Gratitude have helped countless workplace leaders show their appreciation at the holidays and anytime.
We are grateful to our customers for choosing gThankYou to celebrate workers and customers. We couldn’t have reached this business milestone without your support and trust.
THANK YOU, seriously.
The gThankYou! Team believes happiness and engagement are key ingredients for a successful workplace. It isn’t easy to run a successful business where employees are loyal and the everyday culture is vibrant and engaging. But it’s possible — anyone can start today — and the benefits are worth it!
We appreciate that so many businesses choose gThankYou to help celebrate employees at the holidays and year-round.
In the spirit of celebrating gratitude, we’ve picked some of our favorite gratitude-related blog posts here on “Celebrating Work”— click through below to be inspired. We wish everyone success in building a successful workplace culture!
With sincere thanks to all for your business and support,
Rick Kiley, Liz King & The gThankYou Team
gThankYou: Our 10 Best Recent Blog Posts About Workplace Gratitude
Gratitude is about so much more than saying, “Thanks.” Check out these blog posts from the past few months for practical tips and the latest thinking.
(more…)gThankYou has affordable staff gifts to fit any occasion — even Halloween — and put a smile on everyone’s faces.Treat your workplace this Halloween! Read Full Post
gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude are good for specific grocery merchandise, like Candy or a Turkey, and can be redeemed at virtually any major grocery store chain nationwide. They’re perfect for celebrating employee successes, incentivizing safety or wellness, thanking customers or simply showing anytime appreciation.
Givers and recipients alike love gThankYou.
Givers appreciate how fast, flexible and affordable gThankYou! Gift Certificates are.
Recipients appreciate the opportunity shop when and where they want, for the brands they like.
It’s a win-win! And all Gift Certificates from gThankYou come with free, personalized Enclosure Cards with options for customization (also free!) — it’s a convenient way to express your appreciation right along with your gift.
Halloween is perfect for employee gift-giving. The fall season is in full swing by now. People are excited and starting to feel festive for the long holiday season.
“The fall and Halloween season permeates all parts of our lives and businesses,” according to Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, in a Markets Insider post on spreading seasonal cheer in the workplace.
Americans today are working longer hours than ever, leading to disengagement and burnout, she says. Breaking up routine with seasonal festive activities (and gifts!) can “help lift spirits” around the workplace.
“It’s interesting to see how consumers and businesses alike are impacted by seasonality and seasonal excitement. It’s that visceral reaction … to seasons that can make all the difference,” Sweeney says.
You work hard to engage employees and show your gratitude all year-long. Sometimes, the best way to say “Thank You” is with a small gift. It’s a tangible, meaningful way to show you care.
When accompanied by heartfelt gratitude, even a small gift will be appreciated — and remembered.
Your mission: buy employee turkey gifts for everyone.
Your goal: happy, satisfied employees who feel appreciated by their employer at the holidays.
Now, how will you do it?
First, be sure you’re making a smart business decision from the standpoint of your accounting department. When it comes to vouchers for employee turkey gifts, there are several options.
gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates allow recipients to choose any brand, size and preparation of whole turkey — Butterball®, Norbest®, Smithfield® or any other brand from major grocery stores in the U.S.
gThankYou Certificates are Manufacturer Coupons which are only good for a specific item (such as a whole turkey), have an expiration date and provide no cash or residual value. They cannot be deposited in the bank or used to buy other merchandise.
Gift cards, on the other hand, allow recipients to buy any store merchandise. Butterball® Gift Checks, and other holiday gift checks, can be deposited in a bank account or used to buy any merchandise.
If you are looking to restrict your holiday gift to a Turkey, choose gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates.
Companies choose gThankYou Gift Certificates because they are Manufacturer Coupons. If you are concerned with the tax implications of employee gift-giving, please consult with your accounting or tax professional.
Halloween team building in the workplace engages employees at a time when they are open to having fun and expect opportunities to engage with co-workers.
Download gThankYou’s new “Halloween Team Building Guide” — a one-page PDF that highlights 20 time-tested exercises, games and activities for Halloween team building to help you engage your staff in a meaningful celebration.
Best of all, it’s FREE — our Halloween treat for you!
Halloween is one of the most popular holidays all year, according to Harris poll. In many ways, it marks the beginning to the holiday season. Many of your employees want to celebrate Halloween at work — and they will.
That’s where many HR pros get nervous, and rightly so. A Halloween free-for-all puts your workplace at risk for inappropriate costumes and other liabilities.
But instead of trying to suppress Halloween celebrations, see the holiday as an opportunity to engage and have some workplace fun consistent with your culture.
“From the employer’s perspective, you just need to prepare and communicate so that you and your employees are on the same page about appropriate behavior at work,” according to The Balance’s “How to Make Halloween Safe and Fun in Your Workplace.”
Halloween team building — from party games to charity work — brings people together and encourages positive morale among employees. It focuses everyone’s Halloween excitement on teamwork, creativity, gratitude, camaraderie and giving back.
It’s an opportunity for you and your management team to set the right tone, and for “executives and senior staff to mingle with the rest of the staff so approaching the senior leaders in the future might not seem so scary,” according to The Balance.
Plus, if your company is hosting kid-friendly fun, “Halloween also provides the perfect setting for the families of your employees to see the workplace where Mommy or Daddy spend most days.”
No matter how your team works — on a factory floor, in an office, in retail or sales, at an outdoors construction site, even remotely or on the road — gThankYou’s “Halloween Team Building Guide” has ideas for engaging everyone.
Download yours free today and start planning now for a fun, productive and inspiring Halloween in the workplace!
What is more essential to drive employee motivation — rewards and recognition, or engagement?
Both, according to employee motivation expert Paul Herr. You don’t have to choose!
Instead, “combine the best of both worlds by extrinsically rewarding managers who become skilled at pressing the motivational ‘buttons’ (of employees)” — in short, using extrinsic rewards to turn on intrinsic rewards.
Herr explores this innovative approach to employee motivation in his recent Incentive Research Foundation paper, “Using Behavioral Economics Insights in Incentives, Rewards and Recognition: The Neuroscience.” You can download the paper here.
If your employees landed a major financial windfall tonight, would they still show up at work tomorrow?
Unfortunately for most of us, money will always be a factor in where we choose to work. But when you take money out of the equation, there are other things that might make us keep coming in day after day. When we care about what we do — and the people with whom we do it — work has its own rewards.
For a huge percentage of Americans, however, this is far from the case. According to the most recent Gallup polling data, nearly 51 percent of American workers are “not engaged” at work, while over 17 percent are “actively disengaged.”
These “not engaged” workers, Gallup says, “…show up and kill time, doing the minimum required with little extra effort to go out of their way for customers. They are less vigilant, more likely to miss work and change jobs when new opportunities arise.”
The “actively disengaged” are even worse. As Herr puts it, they hate their jobs and see their employers as “the enemy.”
A “disengagement epidemic” is plaguing American employers, Herr says. His goal as a researcher is to help businesses find the cure and boost employee motivation — for good.
Appreciation should be an everyday workplace communication goal.
Continuous conversations and feedback are the #1 megatrend in HR and business today, according to a Globoforce white paper.
“Annual performance reviews are an outdated model — a relic of old HR processes,” the white paper states.
In the place of these annual performance reviews, HR is moving toward a model of “continuous conversations” and ongoing check-ins that “align employees behind organization priorities.”
That’s where employee appreciation comes in. It’s essential to this new model of engagement.
“There will always be the need for constructive feedback to help guide employees. But the heavier concentration for feedback should veer toward the positive, celebratory side of the spectrum, which is the proven way to elevate performance and meet employees’ high-level needs,” according to Globoforce.
That’s right — the HR experts at Globoforce are giving us license to celebrate more, share more gratitude and have more fun at work!
But if you’re in charge of planning and organizing all those activities, it may seem daunting and like … more work.
The good news: building an everyday workplace culture of employee appreciation and gratitude doesn’t have to be a grind. We’ve got tips and employee appreciation ideas to inspire you through the end of 2017 and beyond.
Commit now to ringing in 2018 with a happier, more engaged culture at your company.
Enclosure Cards are always free with any purchase of gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude.
Choose from dozens of holiday-themed and everyday gratitude card designs and give us your personal message for recipients along with your company logo (if desired). We create a proof for you to approve and include the cards — 3″ x 4″ and printed on high-quality card stock — with your order. And it’s all FREE!
But more importantly, a “Thank You” card is essential to sharing your Thanksgiving gratitude with employees.
Your workplace gifts need a clear, thoughtful message of “Thank You” anytime of year, but especially at Thanksgiving. Let your staff know how much you appreciate them. Thanking employees costs nothing yet means so much.
gThankYou’s Thanksgiving Enclosure Cards make it easy and convenient to send that meaningful message.
Download the new Autumn and Thanksgiving Catalog to see our new designs along with dozens of popular favorites for communicating your appreciation this holiday season. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your Turkey Gift or Turkey Or Ham Gift.
To order gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude call us at 877-620-9789 or order online.
Today is World Gratitude Day! Celebrated every Sept. 21, it’s a holiday started by the United Nations more than 40 years ago. It’s also known as the International Day of Peace.
In the workplace, World Gratitude Day is for celebrating the power of “Thank You” — from company leaders to employees, between coworkers, from employees to customers and, ultimately, as a building block for a culture of gratitude.
The scientific argument for showing more gratitude in the workplace is strong and backed by rigorous research.
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of gratitude and the ill effects of a lack of gratitude — job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, burnout, gossip, negativity and exploitation.
But one of the best arguments we’ve heard for thanking employees is actually personal.
“No, I Won’t Thank My Employees for Doing Their Job,” is a Forbes column by Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace and author of the Reinvention Roadmap.
The column is Ryan’s response to a manager who thinks he shouldn’t have to thank his employees because “it’s a business relationship.”
The manager tells Ryan, “Maybe I am a cynic but I don’t understand why I need to thank someone for doing their job. My employees get paid.”
“No one thanks me for doing my job. We are adults. Isn’t it appreciation enough for me to give someone a paycheck every two weeks?” he asks.
Her response is perfect.
Culture is a main sticking point for companies struggling with disengagement, turnover and low morale.
“People want to work for a company that has a culture of recognizing great work effort, great workers and actions that help grow the company,” Brian Sommer, a technology services analyst, writes for Diginomica.
“This is the real recognition and reward challenge: getting a company to alter its culture and management practices to reward people who exhibit the behaviors that drive corporate success,” Sommer writes.
Fixing bad workplace culture takes a renewed focus on rewards and recognition — but not as “an afterthought or bolt-on capability.”
True cultural transformation happens when a) employee recognition is part of a greater shift toward a culture of gratitude, and b) company executives are 100 percent on-board.
“Why executives? Because cultural change is not the responsibility of HR alone and it can’t be fixed by a mandate, technology or HR. It needs the support of all executives and management,” Sommer writes.
One easy, practical way to help build a culture of gratitude is to involve employees and executives alike in a series of gratitude activities for the workplace.
Everyday Gratitude Activities for the Workplace to Try Today
Gratitude is not a one-and-done activity. It’s a practice.
Think of it in terms of physical fitness.
Recognition is like physical strength, and gratitude is the practice that makes it stronger.
Just like weightlifters build their strength over time with a daily regimen of lifting, your company leaders strengthen their ability to show effective recognition through daily gratitude practice.
And it’s a practice that keeps going. Think about it — weightlifters don’t just stop lifting once they’ve reached their goal; they have to maintain their strength.
The workplace is the least likely place for Americans to express gratitude, according to a John Templeton Foundation study. Everywhere else — at school, in church, at the grocery store, in restaurants — we’re more willing to say “Thanks.”
But, interestingly, the study showed everyone loves receiving gratitude at work. So what gives? Leadership is responsible. To bridge this gap, leaders in your company need to “break the ice” and demonstrate the value of expressing gratitude to help employees feel more comfortable expressing gratitude, too. And remember, ways to show gratitude don’t have to be costly either!
Here are eight gratitude exercises for the workplace. Gratitude grows through practice, and everyday activities and exercises like these help nudge the process!
1. Take a Gratitude Break
During meetings, save a few minutes for team members to share a quick appreciation. Don’t overthink it. It can be as simple as, “I’m grateful to Sarah for making the coffee extra strong this morning,” or “Thanks to Tom for helping me organize my presentation files so I could be more efficient in front of the client.”
Avoid gratitude for things — the freshly stocked supply closet is fantastic, but really our gratitude should go to our intern Rachel, who went out of her way to make sure we got everything we needed in time.
2. Give Gifts to Share
Receiving gifts is a treat, but sharing gifts feels good, too! The act of giving has intrinsic benefits for the giver. Share the joy of gift-giving (and receiving) by providing small gifts like gift certificates to employees to give to others — as customer Thank You’s or as peer-to-peer spot recognition for a coworker. Shift supervisors, regional managers and other team leaders will appreciate having quick and easy gifts to share on the spot with employees, too. Have a stash on hand!
3. Put Up a Thankful Tree
Here’s a gratitude activity to try at Thanksgiving and over the holiday season, as suggested by Daring to Live Fully. Set up a holiday tree in a common area of your workplace and provide colorful paper cut-out tree ornaments in a bowl next to it, along with writing utensils. Encourage your team to write their gratitude on a paper cut-out and hang it on the tree. Together, the ornaments will be a daily visual reminder of gratitude for the whole season.
4. Play Appreciation “Hot Seat”
This is a good activity for annual retreats, employee orientation and other events that provide time for games. Have members of the team sit one at a time in a “hot seat.” Everyone else tells the person in the hot seat why they appreciate them and expresses gratitude for their work and any help or kindnesses recently given, etc.
5. Participate in a Gratitude Challenge
Organize your own program, or participate in a community-wide effort. For example, the open innovation platform OpenIDEO is hosting a challenge starting soon around the question, “How might we inspire experiences and expressions of gratitude in the workplace?” Visit the OpenIDEO website to find out how your workplace can participate in the challenge by conducting various “research missions.” Have fun with it!
6. Write Little Thank You Notes
Sometimes the best gratitude comes in small doses: a little Thank You note of two or three sentences. Writing Thank You notes is a great team activity any time of year and a thoughtful way for managers to show appreciation.
7. Volunteer in the Community
Giving back as a team is a positive, bonding experience that naturally boosts our gratitude. Choose volunteer activities that are best done together and take teamwork. A park cleanup is a great option — it gets people outdoors, and the results of everyone’s hard work are immediately evident.
8. Celebrate World Gratitude Day on Sept. 21
World Gratitude Day is Sept. 21. Celebrate it with your team with a low-key party and treats. Put the focus on appreciating employees. Have the CEO or other executive write a “World Gratitude Day” Thank You message that the whole staff will see.