Posted by Rebekah McLain on Monday, November 24, 2014 - 00:00
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Hopefully, you’ll have plenty to be thankful for, from family and friends to great food and hours of football. But as you look ahead to a long weekend and full plates, don’t forget to thank your staff at work.
Giving thanks to your staff is key to keeping them happy and productive at work. It makes them feel valued and reminds them that their jobs are key components of overall organizational success. Here are four ideas for employee recognition, so you can say “thank you” at Thanksgiving — and any day of the year.
1. Send a thank-you card
This small act of employee recognition is more important than you might think. In fact, a study by a Harvard Business School professor showed that receiving a “thank you” increased people’s confidence levels. When team members feel confident performing tasks, productivity levels can increase, too. After all, when employees are aware people think they’re doing a good job, they don’t need to constantly stop and second-guess themselves. So be sure to give plenty of thanks all year round. You can use email to express your thanks, but handwritten notes or cards add a personal touch to this simple act of gratitude.
2. Get personal
One way of giving thanks is to acknowledge your financial team as individuals, not just interchangeable “worker bees.” For example, recognize meaningful events in their non-work lives by throwing small birthday parties or baby showers in the workplace. Or write quick emails congratulating employees on a son’s wedding, a daughter’s college graduation — or even the arrival of a new puppy. Keep in mind, however, that not all employees enjoy being the center of attention. In those cases, it’s best to stick to cards or emails.
You can also give workplace recognition for all the little things around the office that fall outside of job descriptions, but have to be taken care of nonetheless. For instance, if Sharon in bookkeeping is known for making fresh coffee, you might present her with an “Executive Caffeine Officer” sign that adds a touch of humor to the day, while showing Sharon you’ve noticed. But if you use this method, you need to apply tact and caution. You don’t want to accidentally embarrass or belittle employees, while trying to show appreciation.
3. Say it with food
No one needs a special holiday just to enjoy a good meal. Consider hosting a weekly or monthly thank-you lunch for employees. Or incorporate good food into a workplace recognition meeting, where everyone digs in while listening to the achievements of team members.
Another culinary approach to giving thanks is to keep the staff kitchen stocked with employees’ favorite snacks or beverages. They’ll have a daily reminder of your appreciation.
4. Let them kick off their business shoes
You can also show appreciation to the whole office with no budget at all. Why not consider offering casual Fridays? Trading their suits for office-appropriate jeans and a nice shirt or blouse allows employees to work in a more relaxed environment. To add more fun to the mix, create a work-friendly contest with a theme, held one Friday a month. As a prize, you can add an hour to the winner’s next lunch break. You’ll enhance the corporate culture and thank your team at the same time.
Showing finance and accounting employees that you’re grateful for all they do helps boost your team’s confidence, increases the chances that good performances will be repeated — and simply makes the office a happier place to work.