Today is Thanksgiving and thoughts will turn to turkey dinners with family, spending time with loved ones, and giving thanks. From a business perspective, many organizations use the Thanksgiving holiday to thank their clients for another great year: resources are leveraged, budgets are spent, and efforts are made to ensure that the client feels important as another year draws to a close. However, most of these same enterprises miss the boat when thanking internal associates.
It's really a question of giving thanks versus expressing gratitude. Here are four ways to really show employees how grateful you are for their efforts in the past year:
Be Personal – If gifts or bonus checks are going to be given, why not have them delivered to the home of each associate? It feels far more meaningful to receive a gift of appreciation at home. If you really want to score points, have it delivered with a personal – not generic – handwritten note of thanks from the CEO. Any gift of food, flowers, wine, or even a gift card will have extra meaning when delivered to the door of your employee's home.
Stop the Potluck – Having an office party with food is great, but when employees are expected to prepare it themselves it tends to diminish the potential positive impact. Believe it or not, associates will feel quite a bit of pressure to deliver the perfect dish – not to mention the fact that they will be spending their money on the groceries and their personal time preparing the food. Instead, have an internal office party catered or, if budget is a concern, use the local grocery store to prepare the food. Your associates will appreciate the gesture.
Time to Educate – Show employees you value their continued success by offering them opportunities to attend professional events and pay for their registration. Encourage them to earn their CAS/MAS and pay for the study materials and the test. This provides your staff with more expertise to do their job which benefits both the individual employee and the company. Invest in your employees and they will pay you back tenfold.
Give Back – Close your company for a full day to support a local charity and pay the employees as normal. Think of the impact you and your organization can make on a food pantry by working to stock or distribute much needed groceries to those who are less fortunate. This type of activity shows employees that you not only care about the community, but feel it’s important for them to participate as well. By paying them as if they have worked, they will feel they are part of something much greater. Additionally, share with your clients the day you will be closed and why you will be closed – they will view you in a different light as well.
It's important to give thanks to the clients who pay the bills. However, it’s equally important to express gratitude to the ones who allow you to partner with those clients in the first place.
Remember to give thanks to your clients, but express heartfelt gratitude to your employees.