One of the most common complaints employees have about their employers is a lack of recognition. According to a study in Employee Benefits Magazine, 20% of employees never receive a thank you from their employers, even though more than half of those employees would give up a higher salary to work for a boss who said thanks! Keep that in mind as we run through a few best practices for thanking employees.
Money Isn’t Necessary
Employees don’t need you to give them cash or spend money on a thank you (though they wouldn’t turn it down either!). But financial rewards aren’t always possible. That shouldn’t stop you from showing your employees how much you appreciate them. Simply saying thank you, no matter how you do it, is often enough for employees. Plus it doesn’t cost a thing. As the legendary cartographer, Fred De Witt Van Amburgh, once said, “gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.”
Early and Often
Don’t wait too long to say thanks. If you see someone doing a good job, tell them immediately. And if you see them doing a good job on a weekly basis, tell them weekly! The CEO of JFC Staffing Cos, James Carchidi, makes a great point about thanking employees frequently. “It’s not a one-time event but rather a habit of active listening and championing. I thank my work family by making praise personal and frequent.”
Public and Private
People love to be thanked in public, whether that’s at a staff meeting, in a company-wide email, or simply when they’re standing in the break room with coworkers. But that doesn’t mean a private thank you is a waste. A one-on-one thank you can be just as important. Take the time to meet an employee who has gone above and beyond in person. Stop by their office, call them by name, and say thank you. Sometimes that means more than just seeing their name in a company-wide email. Not sure which is best? Try both! It doesn’t hurt to say thank you to your employees in private and in public. In fact, it’s the best of both worlds.
Specific and Targeted
One recommendation by Forbes is to recognize employees for specific results and behaviors. Unfortunately, most employee recognition programs are based on longevity; employees are rewarded for simply sticking around. With those programs, there is little incentive for employees to work hard. Instead, employers should focus on rewarding actual behavior. That means saying thank you when the employees have done something to deserve it, not just at their work anniversary.
While these are some of the best practices, there’s really no need to overthink it. People want to know they are appreciated and that the work they do doesn’t go unnoticed, whether they work in the mailroom or directly under the CEO. Saying thank you is easy and is essential to a happy and engaged workforce.
Take a look at how Beekeeper is helping FRHI say, "thank you" to their 45,000 colleagues.
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