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For most of us, this week is a short one due to the Thanksgiving holiday. While many are grateful for a break, it is also a bit of pressure to get everything completed before the holiday weekend.

As a leader, you are no doubt busy at all times, holiday season or not. But no matter the circumstances or amount of workload, you still need to take the time to give recognition to your staff.

Sure, it might seem somewhat trite to show thanks on a holiday that celebrates, well, giving thanks. However, sometimes all it takes is a holiday to remind us that we should show appreciation to those around us every once in a while.

Employee recognition can be as simple as saying ‘thank you’ to your employees, as it really is one of the most important two words you will communicate to them. But why stop there? You should let your staff know they are appreciated year-round.

It is important for you to find new methods for making work rewarding and meaningful to your direct reports. These initiatives don’t have to be expensive or time consuming.

Here are some other ways to show gratitude to your staff. No need to thank us.


  • Without a doubt, the one free reward that would make all employees happy is flexible work schedules. Now your company may require certain working hours, but you can always give a little latitude in work schedules, and encourage staffers to take time for family or personal issues (such as a doctor’s appointment or going to the bank). As long as the employee does not abuse their hours, this will go a long way in building trust and creating an engaged workforce.



  • Catch team members doing something right, and as soon as possible make sure you give them positive feedback for the action you appreciate. If you have decent handwriting, send an employee a handwritten card expressing your admiration for their hard work. But instead of giving it to them at the office, mail it to their home address. This will serve as a nice surprise, and shows you went the extra mile in demonstrating your appreciation.



  • Everyone enjoys food, especially free food, so make an effort to hold special recognition or celebration lunches to acknowledge team member accomplishments or successful completion of projects. Remember, it can be as simple as doughnuts in the morning, pizza for lunch, or a cake from a local bakery.



  • Keep in mind that people are motivated by different things, including: achievement, balance, autonomy, job security, power, and relationships. Know your employees well enough to understand what motivates them, and be willing to reward them accordingly. Remember that the rewards that motivate some team members could potentially demotivate others.


We hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!