With Thanksgiving just around the corner, people across the US are beginning to prep for their annual traditions of feasting and football with family and friends. We turn our attention toward being grateful for all that we hold dear like our health, our loved ones, and our successes in life. We intentionally take the time to give thanks.
But intentional thanksgiving isn’t solely reserved for the holiday. Showing gratitude to and appreciation for friends and family is something most of us practice on the daily. We write thank you notes, show a kind gesture, shoot emails, texts, or tweets to those we love, and give compliments every now and then. We do this to strengthen and support our interpersonal relationships and it works; giving thanks fills our buckets. And to those we show our gratitude? They generally feel lighter, less stressed, and more motivated to take on whatever comes next.
Intentional thanksgiving in our professional lives however doesn’t always come so easily. When faced with the organized chaos of the workplace (think deadlines, phone calls, meetings, etc.), taking the time to show appreciation to those around us can seem like more work that somehow takes time away from our general productivity. However, just the opposite is the case. Showing appreciation to fellow employees, customers, business partners, and even delivery personnel, fosters a healthy and productive organizational culture and contributes to the overall success of our businesses. The best part is that intentional thanksgiving doesn’t have to come in the form of a grand gesture; it simply has to be genuine.
So what are some easy and creative ways to show coworkers, customers, and business partners alike intentional gratitude? Here are just a few we happen to like:
- Just say it. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way in showing someone you appreciate what they do and how they do it. But be sure to be specific when it comes to your thank you. If someone went out of their way to get a job done, make a sale, create something really fantastic, etc. you will want to tie your thank you in to that specific job.
- Write it. In our electronic world, it’s refreshing every once in a while to receive a hand-written thank you note for a job well done. It shows you are taking the time (outside of your electronic communications) to acknowledge someone and their good deed.
- Tweet it. That’s not to say we don’t like our electronic shout-outs. Putting acknowledgements on social media shows that you’re not afraid to shout “great job” from the rooftops.
- Celebrate it. When co-workers go above and beyond what is asked, a fun way to show your appreciation might be through a small office party that calls out the employee and their stellar work, a gratitude gift (think a Starbucks gift card), or even an office trophy-style award.
- Host it. Holiday parties, coffee carts, mobile massages, smoothie trucks — All great ways to thank larger groups or teams for their collaborative efforts.
- Control it. It’s entirely natural to get angry or frustrated when things at work don’t go as they should. Missed deadlines, deliveries that weren’t made, and contracts that fell through are all legitimate reasons to get upset. However, being in control of what you say, how you say it, and to whom can be the difference between belittling those you find at fault and providing constructive feedback.
- Recommend it. Recommending a company you work with (either on your social media fan page, via word-of-mouth, or other avenues) is a great way to show that you have confidence in their abilities and you value the work you do together. Giving a solid recommendation helps build a company’s credibility and reputation and may spur them on to do the same for your business.
- Ask for it. Nothing says “I value you” more than asking for ideas and input from co-workers, customers, and business partners. It shows you are open to hearing what others have to say and shows them they can have input in what happens next.
- Promote it. Promotions and giveaways (buy one get one free, coupons, grand prize drawings, etc.) are rewarding ways to say thank you to customers for buying and supporting your product. You literally couldn’t be successful without them!
- Regularly do it. Be intentional with your thanksgiving all year long.
Generally speaking, everyone wants to know they are being valued and that the contributions they make in the workplace are useful, appreciated, and worth something. When they do, they are more likely to make further worthwhile contributions, speak positively about the business they work for/with, and be motivated to help the business succeed. That kind of alacrity is infectious; once one person or group feels valued, they are more willing to make others feel the same creating a healthy work environment for everyone.