Holiday-Inspired Career Advice: 6 Ways to Say 'Thank You' at Work

Given that tomorrow is a certain celebratory Thursday in late November, this may feel like the obligatory Thanksgiving-themed post. Still, there is valuable career advice we can take from this holiday: Remember to say “thank you” to your colleagues, manager and direct reports.

The words may become easier to forget as we move faster and faster, but they are important. “(Being) more gracious is your chance to satisfy other people’s need to be appreciated,” wrote entrepreneur Ilya Pozin in a Parade article. “That’s a pretty powerful opportunity, and one that can transform a workplace overnight.”

How can we turn a simple “thanks” into something more meaningful? Here are six ideas:

1. Send an email and copy the person’s manager.

Looping in a colleague’s boss, especially by highlighting specific successes, will make the individual look good to his or her supervisor and encourage further managerial recognition. This is also a way to show the person’s efforts went above and beyond what would normally be expected.

2. Write it down.

While email is sufficient, a handwritten card can be even more special. Written notes require extra time to craft and deliver, something sure to be recognized and appreciated by recipients.

3. Say it in person.

Warmth and gratitude are often best-expressed face-to-face. Even if you’ve sent an email, visiting a colleague’s desk and explaining how much you appreciate his or her work can be extra meaningful. Face time can be particularly valuable for direct reports, who will see you’ve carved out time specifically to acknowledge their work.

4. Give a gift of appreciation.

It doesn’t have to be much, but a $10 gift card to a local coffee or sandwich shop, for example, shows you made an extra effort to recognize your coworker’s efforts.

5. Organize a small celebration.

Whether you want to acknowledge the contributions of an individual or team, a celebration in their honor can make colleagues and staff feel good and provide a solid team-building experience. The nice thing is these celebrations don’t need to be extravagant affairs: Bringing in cookies or doughnuts can rally the group and make others feel special.

6. Return the favor.

Look for opportunities to help the person who helped you. If a coworker jumped in at a moment’s notice to assist with a month-end report or train you on a new software program, for example, be quick to volunteer when the opportunity arises. You’ll show you appreciate your colleague’s initial efforts and strengthen your rapport with each other.

Soft skills are playing an increasingly large role for today’s accounting and finance professionals, and being courteous highlights individuals’ interpersonal abilities. And anyone can do it and deliver the message to anyone else, regardless of position or seniority.

“Thank you!” is a short sentence, but it can have long-term value.

These are just a handful of ways to say “thanks,” but there are many others. What is the most memorable way someone thanked you for your work?

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