5 Ways to Show Your Team Gratitude

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” — Zig Ziglar

After Halloween, the holiday season can really snowball. Before the season gets hectic with organizing team schedules, rituals of company culture, and personal plans, take the time to show coworkers and direct reports how much you appreciate their contributions.

I’m not talking about forcing a display of gratitude. Whether it’s been a difficult year or a prosperous one, your team has contributed in meaningful ways to the successes and the achievements of the organization. And, as Zig Ziglar said, the more you show gratitude for your team, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.

5 Ways to Show Your Team Gratitude This Holiday Season:

No. 1 — Start Early: Don’t wait until the holidays force your hand. Employees know when they’re being rewarded or recognized because of a calendar holiday or generally accepted practice. Take the time now to take mental stock — not only of who has contributed, but how and what happened as a result of those contributions. Were you changed by a conversation with a coworker earlier in the year? Did a team member outmatch even your highest expectations? Let them know — using specific incidents, personal means (handwritten note or 1-on-1 face-time), and meaningful rewards (read on).

No. 2 — Meaning Matters: Whether you are allotted a budget for holiday gifts or dipping into a personal fund for your team, make your spend count on rewards that mean something to your team. Consider what you know about the life circumstances your team faces and plan gifts and rewards accordingly. Perks like extra PTO or flexible schedules for the holidays, tickets to a local holiday spectacular, travel or unique experiences, and others can create impactful memories for your team this year.

No. 3 — Put the Power in Their Hands: Encourage the team to show gratitude to one another for their accomplishments, contributions, or a spirit of collaboration. When employees see recognition coming from senior leaders and managers, they will be more likely to give recognition to their peers as well. But put peer-to-peer recognition programs in their hands as much as possible — let employees take ownership of how and with what rewards they recognize their coworkers, recognize the value of their input in making major program decisions, and listen to feedback from any employee, regardless of seniority within the organization.

No. 4 — Give Employees a Platform: The majority of organizations have some type of recognition program in place; however, even without one — consider what other platforms you might have available to showcase employee stories, experiences, and recognitions. Anyone can commit to sending a weekly email showcasing a spirit of gratitude within the team — invite employees to recognize others and share their stories through the means you have available. If you have an engagement or recognition platform in place, consider campaigns specific to the holidays to support peer-to-peer recognition, sharing of received recognitions, and promoting gamification to encourage engagement.

No. 5 — Food Never Fails: They say the way to the heart is through the stomach and it’s no secret food is tied to many of our most meaningful memories. Sharing a meal together is a symbol of camaraderie — the experience of which can leave lasting memories, build bonds in teams and foster friendships between coworkers. You can plan a few small, festive meals together by bringing in breakfast, having one team lunch off-premises and catering lunch for the team during a meeting planned close to the holidays, for a few ideas.

People who have friends at work can be more productive and engaged with their teams, and the holidays provide a unique bonding time to bring people together and foster those friendships. Creating a culture of appreciation and gratitude can go a long way with your team for the holidays to create a supportive environment where those bonds can thrive and encourage collaboration and engagement. And lastly, it’s also good for you to show gratitude and take stock in the team you have and how they support you.