With Thanksgiving right around the corner, reflecting on what we’re grateful for should connect us to who we’re grateful for. It’s hard to ask for a better time of the year to express gratitude and thank our teams. Here are a few ideas how to do it creatively, even with a very limited budget.
Trophies are a great way to create a lasting impression. They also serve as a visible sign that management recognizes good work, and can encourage other employees to work hard and try to “measure up” to the higher achievers. Recognize your employees with a certificate or a plaque. Put together a photo collage or mural from the last project. Whatever you choose, make sure that the trophy commemorates the employee’s specific achievement.
Unexpected kindness – If you have a few dollars you can spend, an unexpected and impractical ‘thank you’ is always a good idea. Schedule a mandatory meeting at the end of the day and when your team arrives, take 2 minutes to tell them how much you appreciate their work. And then? Hand out gift certificates for a massage or a pedicure and give them the rest of the day off. Tell them to take some time to use this gift and celebrate their accomplishments. I’ve even heard of some managers that bring a masseuse or manicurist into the office so their team can receive their gifts right there and then.
Surprise lunch for your superstars – take your best performers to lunch and let them know that they are appreciated. List out their strengths and give examples of how they have contributed to the success of the organization. Share something interesting about where the company or group is headed and how you see the employee as an important part of the vision. A positive, employee-focused one-on-one with the boss goes a long way to boost morale and build loyalty.
Freedom – suggest your top people take on a learning project of their choosing. Encourage them to set aside a couple of hours per week to focus on the project and mentor them if they want the extra coaching. Simply acknowledging that they have interests outside of their job description and giving them the freedom to pursue a project lets them know you support their personal or professional development.
Provide a training opportunity — Employees crave personal development so encourage key staffers by letting them take advantage of training and development opportunities of their choice.
More employee rewards and recognition ideas: