Growing your business is an incremental part of your everyday life, as a small business owner. Finding new ways to do business, attracting new customers and keeping the ones you have satisfied is yours and your team’s main objective.

Lately, we have dedicated many articles tο team management and how it can help you grow your business by empowering your employees. In this week’s post, we are going to provide you with simple, yet creative, ideas of how to appreciate someone for their good work!

Hiring talented employees, investing in their training and creating effective teams is one side of your job as their leader. These actions, of course, are drivers towards organizational growth and success, so they should not be overlooked.

However, employee satisfaction plays a huge role in keeping those employees working for you. Spending money on training someone that will later leave you because they feel unappreciated, is a waste essentially, both for you and them.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number one reason why employees leave their jobs (yes, even well-paid positions) is lack of appreciation for their hard work.

Making sure your employees’ salary reflects their competence is one thing - appreciating them substantially is another. Appreciation may sound simple but it really isn’t; showing appreciation requires thoughtfulness and self-awareness.

Tinypulse’s interesting report which gathered data from 30,000 employees in 2014, found that 79% of employees “don’t feel valued enough for the work they put in”. This is disheartening, to say the least!

Reasons why words of thanks and appreciation for your employees in the workplace are important

Showing employees you value and appreciate their efforts is important for many reasons, three of them playing major roles in employee satisfaction:

  1. Recognition: Saying “thank you” to your employees for a job well-done has a powerful and long-lasting impact on their productivity. For example, saying “I really appreciate you working overtime last week to deliver the project” not only recognises the individual effort but also highlights that their contribution was invaluable to the rest of the team as well. This will also reinforce the positive behaviours you would like to encourage to the rest of your staff.
     
  2. Stronger sense of commitment: Thanking employees for hard work also boosts their level of commitment to you and your company. By making clear that their work doesn’t go unnoticed you will give them the incentive to continue to do so in the future. As we pointed out in our previous article on how to be a better team leader, providing incentives and appreciating your team members for their efforts will work miracles with their engagement and future performance.
     
  3. Improving morale: Another important benefit of recognizing your employees’ hard work is that it creates an atmosphere of trust in which team members bond with each other and create friendships. Having friends at work affects employee retention and satisfaction rates, as collegial motivation can have a greater impact than getting a raise to their morale!

Employee recognition is ideal for establishing gratitude in the workplace! You can do that by creating collaborative workspaces or organizing social events which facilitate office friendships. There are various types of team building activities and techniques that will not only improve professional relations but also keep your staff happy!

10 “Thank you” ideas for your employees’ hard work

#1 Say “Thank you” often

The first thing you need to get accustomed to is thanking your team whenever they deserve it even if it means doing it a lot more often.

It seems like an extremely obvious thing to do but surprisingly, managers and team leaders, in general, find it difficult expressing gratitude to their team.

Some praise words for employees may include the following suggestions:

  • “Thank you for all the hard work you put in daily! Know that it is recognised and greatly appreciated”
  • “Thank you for stepping in and saving the day in this difficult project! So glad we have you on-board”
  • “Thanks for being so dedicated and hard-working! Is there anything I can do to make your life better in the office?”

This way, not only do you express gratitude to your employees but let them know they have your support!

#2 Write personal notes or Post-its

You may think that writing a thank you note to an employee for their hard work and dedication has become obsolete but it actually goes a long way!

It is ideal for daily matters and it shows you took the time to do this because you honestly appreciate them!

Your thank you note to colleagues for a job well done should be personal and concise. Make sure to leave it on their desk to find the next day. For example:

  • “Your presentation was awesome! Keep up the good work!”
  • “Thank you for helping me out with this [past action]. Nice job!”

You will pleasantly surprise them and, at the same time, boost their self-confidence, hence their productivity.

#3 Team e-mails 

If you would like to show gratitude to a group of people consider sending a thank you email to your team members for their good work. This thank you message for team members can be addressed to everybody involved in a successful project. 

Keep in mind to mention that effective collaboration was the cause of success and explain how the team spirit made it all possible.

You can also acknowledge your division’s accomplishments in a company-wide email so as to express appreciation for their dedication! This will also motivate other teams to work harder and gain that same praise as well!

#4 Personal e-mail

Writing a short personal e-mail is a great way to show appreciation for good performance of the employee on a more personal level.

You can praise their efficiency on a task and thank them for their invaluable contribution to your company.

#5 Letter

You might think that handwritten letters are old-fashioned in a bad sense, but they are actually a quite sincere way to express gratitude!

The letter of recognition and praise for employee performance may be longer than the personal note and more elaborate if you wish.

It shows you went out of your way to disclose your appreciation for their efforts. They will feel special!

Moreover, it is far more memorable than casual “thank you” e-mails that can be copy-pasted by anyone.

#6 Let them leave early

As much as one may love their job, leaving the office early feels like being a teenager again hearing the final recess bell for the day!

If the workload allows it, give the afternoon off to your employees so they can enjoy it as they please.

Writing an appreciation note to the team will suffice but this is a refreshing way to practically show them you value their personal time!

#7 Give Small gifts

Another more practical way to show gratitude is small “thank you” gifts for employees. They don’t have to be expensive or throw your budget off balance.

Think about symbolic items that will convey the message of appreciation you’d like to communicate and give it to them after completing a successful project or during the holidays.

#8 Family gifts

Actions always speak louder than words, and what better way to thank your employees than offering nice gifts to their families.

Companies that care about their employees on a deeper level offer school supplies to their employees’ children at the beginning of each school year.

Another nice “thank you” idea for employees is treating them to recreational activities every once in a while, such as theatre and cinema tickets or fun parks!

#9 Praise them in front of an audience

Thanking employees for putting in hard work can also happen during staff meetings as well or under any circumstance, you believe a praise is well-deserved.

Appreciating your employees in front of others can have beneficial effects on their self-esteem!

It may also serve the purpose of motivating the rest of the team to follow one’s good example and thrive too. However, be careful not to mistreat anyone by comparison.

#10 Employee of the month tradition

Another great way to publicly thank your employees is establishing an “Employee of the month” prize, awarding it to your overachievers.

Acknowledging the effort of an employee in such an official way will show everyone in your firm that hard work is being rewarded.

This will most likely motivate others to perform better in order to get that distinction themselves.