how to thank veterans

Engage employees in gratitude on Veterans Day! In this photo, United Technologies employees walk in a 2014 Veterans Day parade in Connecticut. (Photo via Barbara Bresnahan, Flickr)

Veterans Day is in November. Wondering how to thank veterans in your workplace and beyond?
If you aren’t already, now’s a great time to start incorporating celebrations of giving and honor (like Veterans Day) into your employee engagement calendar!
Thanking the veterans in your workplace isn’t just a nice thing to do for them, it’s also an excellent opportunity to engage all employees with gratitude and a good cause. Employees now more than ever are embracing workplace volunteerism, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and giving back to their community with coworkers.
Here are five tips for how to thank veterans in your workplace and community as a tool for employee engagement.

How to Thank Veterans: 8 Workplace Tips for Engagement

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, the 21.2 million veterans living across the U.S. account for nearly one in 10 of the civilian population age 18 and over.
Chances are, there are veterans in your workplace — do you know who they are? Extend your gratitude and organize Veterans Day activities to show these veterans that you, your company and their coworkers appreciate their service.
1. Participate in or sponsor a Veterans Day parade
Participating in your community’s Veterans Day parade gives public recognition to the veterans on your staff and gets everyone else out cheering for them along the sidelines. In Houston, for example, Link Staffing is sponsoring a parade this week at City Hall and encouraging participation from employees and the community alike.
2. Explore a national park
The National Park Service waives park-admission fees for everyone in honor Veterans Day! If you’re close to a national park, organize an employee outing. Getting out into nature is rejuvenating and can serve as a great bonding experience for employees.
3. Host a coffee break
Honor employees who are veterans with a midday social hour. Serve a yellow ribbon cake, decorate with American flags and invite the whole office to join in.
4. Send a company-wide Thank You message
Ask the company CEO or another top leader to send an email message thanking the veterans in your workplace, as well as the vets who are family members of employees.
5. Organize a Thank You note party
Provide cards, stamps and pens, and invite employees to write a simple note of thanks to a vet they know. If anyone doesn’t know a vet, look up the closest military installation and send one there. “Small acts of recognizing someone’s service, even anonymously, are appreciated,” according to
6. Visit and talk with older vets
Attend a Veterans Day event at your local Veterans Hospital or nursing home, or volunteer at one as a team activity. Encourage the volunteering employees to be social with vets. Asking a vet about their service is one of the best ways to honor them, according to “Sometimes you don’t have to say anything, just listen and give them your full attention.”
7. Give to charity
Offer to match employee donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, Homefront America, or other charity organization that serves vets.
8. Donate food or company products
Help a local nonprofit or veterans services organization assist vets in need with donations of food or company products. Be sure to involve employees closely in the project!
The air-conditioning, heating and plumbing services company American Residential Services, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., is giving “dozens of casseroles” to a local veterans services nonprofit. In addition to publicly acknowledging and thanking its employees who are veterans, the company is also pledging to donate an HVAC unit or water heater to veteran households in need as part of its “ARS Cares” plan.

Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude

Gratitude is transformative in the workplace! Want to build a culture of gratitude in your workplace? Download gThankYou’s must-have free eBook, “Transform Your Workplace With Gratitude.” It’s full of practical learning that you can start putting to use today. Learn from positive psychology and leadership experts how to build (and sustain!) a workplace culture of gratitude that attracts employees and customers.

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