The Right -- and Wrong -- Ways to Give Thanks at Work

As Thanksgiving nears, people start catching the gratitude bug. And that desire to give thanks extends to the office.

That’s great – I’m all for the warm and fuzzies. But it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a certain art to properly showing appreciation to coworkers.

When recognizing colleagues for their awesomeness, some of the most common mistakes include:

  • Not getting facts straight. Nothing’s more embarrassing than addressing a card to the wrong person or thanking them for something they didn’t even do.   
  • Offering token gestures. The form of recognition should fit the degree of achievement. Giving someone a stapler for his or her five-year anniversary, for example, sends the message the milestone is insignificant. 
  • Being vague. Just telling a coworker that they did a “good job” is too generic. Properly give thanks by tying acknowledgment back to specific actions so people know exactly what they did right.
  • Overlooking contributors. Although some workers naturally gravitate toward the limelight, don’t forget to also celebrate unsung heroes who help behind the scenes.

Still not sure how to give thanks to your favorite coworker? Check out these videos for examples of what NOT to do.

Note to self: Don't bust out in interpretive dance again during the next employee recognition event.