Do you have a warm and fuzzy feeling all over? It’s more than a side effect of your chai tea latte.
We’ve entered into that time of the year when the theme is thankfulness and gratitude. So while you are planning out where to volunteer your time or donate your money, also spend some time thinking about how you can show gratitude to your team and colleagues at work.
Sure, no one at your office is going to turn down a Starbucks gift card, but if you put in a little extra time and effort, you can really make them feel valued and appreciated. And bonus — employees who feel valued and appreciated at work have higher job satisfaction and are less likely to churn. Here are some creative and ingenious ways you can show your team or colleagues just how much you appreciate them.
Organize an outing
Let’s take it a step further than inviting your team out to Sweetgreen (but also who doesn’t love a good kale caesar?). There are some interesting and fun events that you could put together that won’t consume your day planning them.
Ever consider improv? Not only is this insanely fun, it’s team building at the same time. It’s also a wonderful vehicle for leadership development. Improv is a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment. No worries if your company or team are fully remote, a lot of improv companies are offering their sessions via Zoom. Wherever the event happens, you’re guaranteed a ton of laughter and inside jokes with your team that’ll continue all the way into Q1.
Put together an experience – in a box!
Got a recipe for the best cup of hot cocoa? Nice. Let’s start there. What else would go along with this? Maybe a cozy pair of socks? Also, don’t forget the marshmallows and the mug. Imagine tucking the socks, hot cocoa ingredients (try a packet!), and marshmallows into the mug, wrapping it up and placing it in the perfectly sized box. Then, take a moment to write a note expressing your gratitude and appreciation. I guarantee you that the recipient will not only feel valued, but they will be smiling from the thoughtfulness of your gesture.
If your team is too large to crank out an assembly line of mugs and marshmallows, you can still invoke the same feeling by writing a note along with a smaller treat (it also doesn’t have to be something edible). Try to stay away from sending company swag. Whatever you end up sending, and the options are really endless, it should have a personal meaning to you.
Endorse them on LinkedIn
We usually only get the opportunity to thoroughly express our professional appreciation for someone when they’ve already left the company and are asking for a recommendation or reference. A LinkedIn endorsement is a great way to give a public-facing thank you, and gush about why working with them was so amazing.
Write about how their time management skills are unparalleled or that it’s just simply wonderful to work with them everyday. You can even get specific by endorsing them for a specific skill, like creative writing Excel. When you write a LinkedIn endorsement, you’re taking the time to show and express deep thought into what your coworker brings to the team and how they positively impact your work.
Schedule a meeting that’s not really a meeting
Put some time on their calendar and even create a topic or agenda (if you schedule a meeting without this, it might create some anxiety and we don’t want that!). When you’re at the actual meeting, use it as an opportunity to sing their praises! You don’t have to write them a ballad or haiku, but a few core examples of contributions they’ve made that you appreciated will do the trick. You can even share how it impacted you or made your job easier.
Then, surprise them with a gift! If it’s in person, you can hand it to them. If it’s virtual, tell them to check their email. Whatever the gift is (think beans from your favorite brewery or a gift certificate to a restaurant), it will be a welcomed surprise! Sometimes, employees and colleagues only hear feedback and get bonuses at review time, so creating the space to do this outside of that schedule will definitely make their day.
With these ideas, you can make a lasting impact with your team or colleagues. You also don’t have to wait for a special day or moment to show appreciation. You can weave bits of gratitude into the fabric of your workday, everyday. Try this:
- Add a personal “thank you” into your updates at meetings, like “The project’s right on track, thanks to Noelle, who reviewed it and helped me adjust a few of the graphs—and I think it really makes a strong statement now.”
- Give genuine compliments instead of phrases like “keep up the good work.” Do this daily! You can say things like:
- You made some great points in the meeting today.
- Work has been so busy lately, but you’ve handled the stress with grace.
- You’re so organized! Can you give me some tips?
- I’m excited to work on this project with you.
- Thank you for always coming to work with a smile. It’s contagious!
However you go about it, it’s true that a little gratitude goes a long way.