It’s more than saying thanks. Here’s how to make gratitude work for you.
It’s said that “nice guys finish last,” but according to science this isn’t true.
Research points to the opposite, and that includes business — being thankful to teams can increase productivity. We all know the benefits of gratitude when expressed to customers. It can also make you a better leader.
It sounds simple enough. How hard can it be to give a little thanks?
But expressing gratitude isn’t always easy. There are deadlines to meet, board meetings to plan for, and problems to solve in your organization. Stress, strain, distractions.
It may also be foreign to your leadership style, personality, cultural upbringing, mannerisms, or way of working.
What can be effective is to understand that appreciation comes in different forms, and that you can find your own unique way to do it.
1. Rethink Customer Appreciation
Customers love to know that they matter. It’s no secret that it can help build lasting relationships to express yours.
It doesn’t mean you have to adhere to the traditional. Several luxury brands give frequent customers tours of their factories or access to prestigious events to show appreciation.
Think of fun or personalized ways to give thanks to those who regularly buy your products or services.
2. Chart & Celebrate Company Milestones
It can be easy to lose sight of the landmarks your business makes. So much of the day-to-day is focused on moving forward.
But, it can have great value to take note. Create a timeline at the start of the year in the front office, or break room. Note accomplishments across teams and departments ongoing throughout calendar months.
Not only will employees constantly see company achievements, you can host a quarterly or annual party to celebrate.
3. Team Awards Programs Still Work
We have a “Simply Awesome” award at my company Simple Mills.
It’s a faux cupcake on a trophy pedestal that we gift it to different team members who knock it out of the park. The prior winner gifts it to the next, including sending an email to the team. It’s a nice way of acknowledging achievement and expressing thankfulness.
Employee recognition works. Find a unique way to reward your team that goes beyond the simple card or email.
4. Include Partners, Vendors & Other Stakeholders
The larger ecosystem that helps drive your business often goes without notice.
However, the relationships you have with partners, vendors, and other resources are important – it can be an asset to give gratitude here as well.
Develop a simple program for systematically thanking those who help you get the job done – an annual gift, small token of appreciation, or other recognition.
5. Stay On Top Of Efforts
Have a counting system for yourself – whether it’s five pennies you could, or tick marks you make on a sheet each week, to track your gratitude efforts.
Set a plan and timing each year to ensure you don’t miss a beat. That way, you won’t fall behind due to a busy schedule.
Encourage leaders and managers in your organization to do the same on the smaller scale. It can further help foster connectivity between teams and staff, and build confidence and morale.
Appreciativeness can come in virtually any form, and be given anytime. Paid time off, a weekend getaway, tickets to a popular movie, or group outings, are just a few of the many ways.
You can create ideas and programs that tie into your company culture, product line or services. Your customers, employees, stakeholders — and your business — will all benefit.