Thanksgiving is around the corner and it’s time to give thanks. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to show your employees how important they are and make them feel valued, which is something we crave as humans.
CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz wrote an article for Harvard Business Review titled “The Only Thing that Really Matters”. He wrote that “the struggle to feel valued is one of the most insidious and least acknowledged issues in organizations. How we’re feeling — and most especially whether or not we feel acknowledged and appreciated — influences our behavior, consumes our energy and affects our decisions all day long, whether we’re aware of it or not.”
Give thanks to your colleagues.
Encourage your employees to give thanks to their team and colleagues. After all, they probably know each other better than leadership knows them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s bound to happen since they spend so much time together. They are able to deliver a more personal message. Try making a list of your co-workers and identifying a few key details about them, then delivering it to them via a handwritten note, email, or in person. Try these out:
- What special quality do they possess that makes them a great co-worker? How do they affect you in a positive way? Helpful, dependable, supportive, collaborative, positive, etc.
- What special work skills do they possess? Maybe they’re a pro at excel, or their work is super detailed and organized, or they're an expert networker. Let them know!
- What special quality do they possess that is not related to work? Do they have a great laugh, a unique sense of style, a talent at playing music? Tell them! It’s nice to be complimented about something that has nothing to do with work.
Your employees will be feeling thankful for each other but it doesn’t mean that management can skip out on showing their appreciation. If your employees can go through the trouble of celebrating each other, and management can’t, you run a high risk of building team resentment.
However, it can be difficult for leadership to make each employee feel uniquely appreciated especially at big companies. If you are a small team and are able to express gratitude to each employee in a personal way, do it! If you can’t, it’s ok to be more general. Celebrate Thanksgiving in the office even if it’s for an hour during lunch. This can be a great way for your employees to exchange their cards or messages to each other. Make it a special event.