Thanksgiving is Thursday! Expressing gratitude and appreciation for your employees is one way to celebrate but thanking them throughout the year may be both the easiest and best way to recognize their accomplishments.
Although employees say more money is an incentive for them to stay in their current job, even in this tight employment market, employee recognition doesn’t just mean more money or tangible benefits. In fact, more than half of employees (54 percent) prefer a verbal ”thank you” and 31 percent prefer a written “thank you” to recognize their day-to-day accomplishments, according to a June 2019 Deloitte survey. Only 7 percent of employees wanted either a celebration or gift as recognition. This means 85 percent of employees prefer a simple “thank you.”
“That doesn’t mean presents and parties aren’t welcome, but if your primary focus has been on these forms of recognition, you may be able spend a bit less time and money planning events or agonizing over what to buy,” the Deloitte study points out. “Focus first on developing a consistent practice of saying ‘thank you’. Once you’ve got that down, then go ahead and add the icing to the cake with a celebration or a gift.”
For significant employee accomplishments, employees prefer new growth opportunities at work (47 percent) over salary increases (23 percent). New growth opportunities may motivate employees because they offer long-term benefits like an increased sense of mastery, autonomy and purpose. A new more challenging role or project should still be appropriately compensated, but employees appreciate being provided with the chance to learn and grow.
Employee recognition does not have be broadcast far and wide; employees prefer public recognition shared in a small group (49 percent), followed by private recognition (34 percent). Only 18 percent of employees wanted their recognition to be shared broadly. Although most employees prefer recognition within a small group, the group could vary depending on the employee and situation. Workers could prefer their accomplishments shared with company leadership, their colleagues and/or their direct supervisor — match the recognition with the level of work.
Finally, while 37 percent of employees may prefer company leadership recognizing their successes, they also prefer recognition from direct supervisors (32 percent) and colleagues (31 percent). In some cases, a “thank you” from a colleague may mean more than recognition from your boss. Expressing gratitude shouldn’t just flow from the top of the organization to the bottom but occur at all levels.
Remember that while receiving gratitude helps improve workplace morale, expressing gratitude can make you happier too. Studies show expressing gratitude can improve your physical and mental health and help you build stronger relationships. This win-win scenario is one thing to feel grateful for this Thanksgiving!
Katie Culliton, Editor, CalChamber