A thank-you is more than common courtesy. In the work environment, expressions of gratitude are a necessary part of the process whenever exemplary work or professional favors are provided. Thank-yous can show your employees that you care and appreciate what they do for you. There are many ways to thank your employees, some of which may work out better than others.
Thank your employees by giving them what they probably want most, flexibility and freedom at work. Offer your high performers the chance to work remotely regularly, such as once a week, so they can skip the commute and work in a comfortable home environment. Such a privilege shows that you trust them. Provide employees with flex time and early days to reward a great performance. Workers who know they are going home early but will still be paid for the time can't help but be happy about the situation.
A small gift is always appreciated and your employees will probably end up being the ones thanking you for it. Token gifts are perfectly acceptable but gifts that your workers can actually use are even better. If you don't know exactly what your employees want, gift cards are ideal for expression your gratitude. If you prefer to give something that can be opened instead of a gift card, consider general items such as writing instruments at the low end or hotel stays at the high end.
Workplace events are effective thank-you tools that benefit both the recipient and the company. Workers often appreciate the chance to socialize in a celebratory setting, and will come away from the event with positive feelings about everyone involved. Work parties also help to build social relationships and trust among your workers, your departments and the management. When everyone mingles on an even playing field, the formalities fade away and people form bonds that will carry over to the office. The best thing about thank-you events is that they can be as low-cost or as fancy as you wish, depending on the budget and the message you are trying to send.
Thank your workers on a regular basis whenever they exceed expectations or accomplish something special. Thank-yous are just part of a larger relationship between supervisor and employee that helps to humanize the situation and to build bonds between the various levels of your organization. Listening is key and no thank-you would be complete without asking how you can help each worker better do her job. For example, thank your specialist for his work on a given project, then ask how things could be changed to make his work easier to accomplish so similar results become the norm. The chance to be heard and for suggestions to be taken seriously is a great gift for most workers who may feel otherwise lost in the shuffle.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.