Let’s face it. You may be the captain of the ship, but you need your crew members to get anywhere worth going. As we step into the holiday of giving thanks, it’s easy to reach out to your clients and customers while simultaneously overlooking the people who have helped you along the way.
Don’t forget to appreciate your team!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to bolster my team while also maintaining the budget and keeping things low-key for the already stressful holidays:
- Write a note. I feel like I say this a lot, but a handwritten note goes a long way. It can be as long or as short as you like, but it should be genuine and personal. Tell your employee (or contractor) why you appreciate them. Be specific and generous with your thanks and praise (yes, even if they aren’t your favorite employee—everyone deserves to feel respected and appreciated), but remember honesty is still the best policy.
- Celebrate them. We’ve all seen Employee of the Month placards at stores and these are always a good idea. It can be something as simple as a photo on the wall, or as elaborate as an entire week dedicated to one employee through posters, prizes, social media shout-outs, and more. Depending on the size of your company and the employees’ impact on it, you can go as big as you like in your praises and celebrations.
- Get customers involved. If your employee interacts with your customers, get your customers to help you thank them. Have them write a note of their own or sign a special commemorative photo frame or thank you card. Getting your clients involved will help your team member really see how far-reaching their impact goes.
- Personalized gifts. It doesn’t have to be a trip to Hawaii, but giving your employee a personalized gift of thanks can be a nice way to show you care and show you know them as more than a paycheck. If you know they like to knit, buy them a gift card to the yarn store rather than a generic Visa gift card. Get them their favorite coffee drink. Make a personalized gift basket. Order them lunch from their favorite spot (or take them out). The point is to put some thought into it beyond what is convenient for you.
- Offer experiences. Not every employee is motivated by the same things. Some want money, some want recognition, some want your time, etc. So, a unique way to honor your individual team members is to offer them choices of how they are rewarded and celebrated. I like to ask a question relating to this in their employee evaluations (with little to no context so it’s still a surprise when it comes). The idea is to find out what is important to them and then reward them accordingly. Would they like a training or class? Do they want a group event or experience? A bonus can be more than just monetary, so really think about what your team member values!
What’s your favorite way to show appreciation for an employee or team member?