Monday, November 25, 2013

Putting the Thanks in Thanksgiving


As many Americans will be celebrating the century old tradition that is ‘Thanksgiving’ this week, it provides the perfect opportunity for employers to reflect on how often they offer thanks and praise to their employees. Your employees work hard for you all year, and what better season to show your appreciation and gratitude than now, as we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Whilst Thanksgiving may have evolved into a turkey eating, football supporting, Macy’s parade watching event, the original tradition stems from when the Pilgrims and Indians joined over a feast to give thanks to each other and god for getting through a difficult harvest. The gratitude shown to each other is something which many employers forget to embrace in the workplace, yet a little recognition and praise can have a significant impact on employee engagement and productivity.

Consider these three ways to thank and celebrate your employees:

1. Take the time to talk to, and get to know, your employees. The most significant way to thank your employees is to get to know them. Take them to lunch or schedule time to ask about their values, hobbies, and interests. Understand your employees. Use what you now know about them to build a customized skills-improvement performance plan. Spend time with, and become interested in, each of your employees. 

2. Ask employees what they think. The best way to feel appreciated is to be included – to feel that your perspectives matter. In a Lean environment, we need input from all of our employees to be successful. Including employees in company issues, challenges, and opportunities empowers them, engages them, and connects them to strategy and vision of the company.

3. Say thank you, and mean it. Most managers actually do thank employees who do great work. Employees work for more than money. They work for the praise and acknowledgement of their managers. A sincere thank you, said at the time of a specific event that warrants the applause, is one of the most effective ways to appreciate employees. Remember the phrase, “What gets rewarded, gets repeated.” Start to say “thank you” or “I appreciate what you do” when it is deserved and it will inspire the behaviors to continue. Make it personal and sincere. Catch employees doing great things and respond. It empowers them, appreciates them, and celebrates their performance.

Regardless of your style and how you do it, connecting with employees and taking the opportunity to thank them, when ever you can, pays dividends for everyone. Appreciating and thanking your employees isn’t hard or costly. So take the time to make a difference in your employee’s life. You will be pleasantly rewarded by them making a difference in yours.



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