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4 Ways to Express Gratitude as Your Attitude Towards Employees

Fall foliage on a sign that says give thanks
Casey Shull

Just like deciding between homemade cranberry sauce versus canned may make or break your Thanksgiving spread, how you treat your employees can make or break your productivity and bottom line. Employee appreciation should be one of the foundations of your small business as it provides your employees with the type of recognition that leads to retention and productivity.

How important is gratitude for your employees’ hard work? A recent retention report found that 75% of the reasons employees leave their jobs is lack of appreciation and incentive. So how can you harvest some of the benefits of happy employees? Here are 4 ways to celebrate your employees this thanksgiving season and year-round.


Avoid the “No Thanks Needed” Way of Thinking

If you hesitate to express any form of appreciation or feel you thank your employees enough by handing them a paycheck each month, you may be burning the turkey. While it’s an undeniable fact, almost every person under your employment is there to get paid, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve your gratitude.

Just like a finely oiled machine, your small business functions because of your employees, and recognizing when someone performs well or goes above and beyond can make a big difference.

Similarly, if you just don’t know how to approach showing gratitude and therefore avoid it all together, you’re missing out on creating a workplace of gratitude and productivity. How? Well as they say the proof is in the pudding. In a study done for APA PsycArticles, (grab a bowl because this is your pudding), researchers Adam Grant and Francesca Gino found that employee productivity increases when they experience gratitude from their employers. Start small with a handwritten note of thanks, or be specific in your praise for a job well done in their next 1:1. If you have managers handling employees, make sure they are providing positive reinforcement as well. The most important thing to remember is to be sincere. Employees can tell if your thanks are scripted or impersonal.


Show Gratitude in Employee Feedback

Parties, shout outs, and pats on the back are great, but one of the best ways you can show employees you’re grateful for them is by the feedback you give. Seems to go against the messaging here right? Well not exactly. You need to provide both positive and developmental feedback to really show an employee you care.

Think about it. If you only gave praise to an employee, they may walk away feeling elated, but eventually, they may question the validity of positive-only feedback. If you deny employees a chance to improve themselves, you could be sending the message that you don’t value them. It works the same way for developmental feedback. If there’s no praise, an employee may quickly feel their efforts aren’t good enough and leave for greener pastures. Make sure your feedback is balanced and constructive. They will feel your gratitude if you’re willing to help them move forward in their employment journey with your business.

Writing a thank you note is a great way to show gratitude for your employees

Give Your Employees a Voice

All your gratitude efforts may go down the drain quicker than leftover eggnog if you don’t value your employee’s voices. This can come in many shapes and sizes. Perhaps it takes the form of employee engagement surveys, or 1:1 discussions, or even anonymous input. No matter what your way of collecting feedback is, you need to carefully consider any and all voices.

To make it even more personal, consider the goals your employees have. If you don’t know what those are, take the time to find out. If you need to delegate to managers, make sure they’re doing the same. If an employee's goal is to eventually become a Journeyman, try and have that employee shadow one during their next job. If they hope to move to management someday, help coordinate classes they can take. There’s a lot of ways you can listen and act on what your employees say. There are no mistakes when you try (thanks Yoda), but there is a mistake if you go back to business as usual.


Remember There’s No One-Size-Fits-All for Gratitude

Chances are there are a few people in your business that shy away from celebrating their birthdays publicly. There’s an even greater chance they may feel the same way about public recognition. Why? Some people don’t want the spotlight shining down on them. Remember expressing gratitude works the same way.

Not every employee will thrive under just one type of employee recognition program. If you’re thinking an awards presentation each month may do the trick, remember many employees may feel like it’s a popularity contest. Or implementing a recognize-your-peers incentive may feel like just another task employees don’t have time for.


Just like the best kind of stuffing comes with multiple spices, so should your approach to showing gratitude to your employees. This all comes back to listening to their voices. Find out how they would like to be recognized. Some may ask for a quiet lunch out with the manager, some embrace the fanfare, while others may just want a bigger avenue to excel in the workplace. With careful planning, you can meet these needs head-on.


Consistency is key. With your pumpkin pie filling and your gratitude towards employees. Don’t quit after the first few months if things get hard or you don’t feel appreciated for your efforts. Ultimately it’s about creating an environment where hard work is recognized, efforts are praised, and people can feel gratified. Big or small, those are results any business wants to sink its teeth in.


For more ways to improve your small business or make the most of your marketing efforts, contact Scorpion today to get started.

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