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12 Ways Leaders Can Show Gratitude To Their Teams

November, often associated with Thanksgiving, is a month that reminds us of the importance of giving back and expressing gratitude. For employers and managers, it’s an opportune time to consider how they can give back to their employees and foster a culture of appreciation within their organizations.

Below, Young Entrepreneur Council members explore meaningful ways employers can show their gratitude and give back to their teams, not only during the holiday season but throughout the year. These acts of giving, from recognition and professional development opportunities to wellness initiatives and flexible work arrangements, can have a profound and lasting positive effect on employee morale, engagement and overall workplace satisfaction.

1. Implement ‘Winter Mondays’

Many companies implement a “summer Friday” schedule with half days on Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Consider an end-of-year twist on this with “winter Mondays” by starting your workweek at noon on Mondays. Employees often take personal time during the holiday season for personal tasks and, as winter sets in, it takes extra time to get to a physical office. If you’re planning to give trinkets or experiences for the season of giving, you run the risk of disappointing employees. Giving people back their time is something everyone can appreciate! – Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

2. Adjust Benefits Based On Employee Feedback

You can give back to employees by reassessing and enhancing your company’s benefits. Survey your employees to understand what they feel might be lacking in their benefits package. Are they looking for more health and wellness options, like paid gym memberships? Or more out-of-the-box benefits, such as pet insurance? By actively seeking feedback and making thoughtful adjustments, companies can demonstrate that they genuinely value and care for their staff. When employees feel heard and cared for, it can lead to heightened morale, increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover. – Chase Williams, Market My Market

3. Create An Employee Recognition Program

Give back to your hardworking employees by creating a recognition program for outstanding performance. From my own experience, I’ve seen how such programs can boost morale, motivation and overall job satisfaction. When employees feel appreciated and their efforts are acknowledged, they tend to be more engaged and committed to their work. It creates a positive work environment where everyone strives to excel, knowing their contributions won’t go unnoticed. This leads to increased productivity, better teamwork and a stronger sense of belonging within the company. A recognition program is a heartfelt way to show your employees that their dedication is valued and can have a profound effect on your workplace culture and performance. – Pratik Chaskar, Spectra

4. Host An Appreciation Lunch

One wonderful way to show appreciation to your employees is by hosting a special appreciation lunch. If you run a remote company like ours, plan to have food delivered to their homes for them and their families! This gesture not only acknowledges the hard work of the team but also creates a sense of togetherness. Even when we’re physically apart, sharing a meal virtually can foster a feeling of connection and camaraderie. It’s a way to say “thank you” in a tangible and enjoyable way, and it can have a significant positive impact on employee satisfaction and loyalty. It’s also a great opportunity to relax, have fun and strengthen bonds within the team, which can translate into improved collaboration and productivity. – Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme

5. Give A Monetary Gift

Employers and managers may consider giving their employees a little raise in their salaries. You can add an extra amount to their paychecks, which can be used by your employees to buy things that they prefer or plan a vacation with their families. This is the best gift that you can give them because each of your employees may have different preferences. Adding something extra to your employees’ paychecks liberates them to use the amount as they see fit and spend it on things that they intend to purchase. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Utilize Words Of Affirmation

One of my favorite ways to give back is by showing a little gratitude through words of affirmation. People inherently seek appreciation, and even the smallest nods of acknowledgment can mean a lot to employees. You can write simple notes, showcase exemplary employees on the company website or even create a “Wall of Fame” in the office or on social media. And, if you have the budget, personal gestures, such as tailored gifts that cater to an employee’s hobbies or interests, can go a long way in encouraging a culture where team members celebrate each other year-round, not just in the month of November. – Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute of CPAs

7. Provide Ergonomic Office Equipment

One thoughtful gesture is providing ergonomic and other essential office equipment, especially if they’re working remotely. This can greatly improve employees’ comfort and productivity. When you ensure your remote team has the right tools, like comfortable chairs, ergonomic keyboards and good lighting, it not only enhances their work experience but also prevents potential health issues that can arise from prolonged periods of work. This investment in their well-being demonstrates your commitment to their success and can boost motivation, leading to better work quality and job satisfaction. It’s a way to say “thank you” in a practical and meaningful way. – Sujay Pawar, CartFlows

8. Consider Their Families Too

When giving back to your employees and customers, don’t just think of them—remember their loved ones too! The same $40 wasted on an ugly golf shirt for a manager could make someone a hero at home if a Lego set showed up for their eight-year-old. If you’ve had a team working late consistently, send dinner (or Uber Eats gift cards) to cover meals for the entire family. Do two days of on-site auto detailing for employees—the first day for employees’ cars, and the next day for their spouses’ cars. Surprise and delight beyond employees—targeting the people they spend most of their time with—can pay dividends and help turn employees (and their families!) into superfans of your company. – Brittany Hodak, Creating Superfans

9. Offer Extra Time Off Or Flexibility

To give back, employers can offer extra paid time off or flexible scheduling. This boosts morale, improves work-life balance, enhances retention and increases productivity. In my experience, such gestures foster a positive and loyal work environment. – Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment – Real Estate Funds

10. Gift Custom Swag Bags

Employers can gift their employees with custom swag bags this holiday season. For instance, we’ve sent our team members branded coffee or tea cups and jackets. People love getting fun things in the mail, especially from places they don’t expect—like their job. Sending everyone on your team a little care package with a signed card is a great way to show that you’re thankful and can help you give back this year. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

11. Host A Virtual Office Party

I want to give back to our team this year by holding a virtual office party. We’ve done things like this in the past, and everyone seemed to enjoy it! Basically, we will get together, talk and play games, and I’ll give everyone a holiday gift in the form of a cash bonus. This strategy will help you bring positive energy to your business and help employees feel less isolated, which is a big problem for remote workers, especially around the holidays. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

12. Create A Personal Development Fund

One way of giving back could be implementing a personal development fund for employees. Create a fund or an allowance for skill-upgradation—be it online courses, conferences, webinars or books. We implemented this on a trial basis recently, and it was a resounding success! Not only did our employees appreciate the tangible investment in their future, but our business also reaped the benefits in the form of enhanced skill sets, innovative ideas and improved productivity. Investing in your employees’ growth is an effective way of showing appreciation that pays you back in dividends. It creates a win-win situation where the employees grow professionally in line with rapid advancements and the organization gets a more skilled and dedicated workforce. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

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