People often wait for the holidays to show gratitude for the ones they love. It is also time for companies to show their employees how appreciated they are. And, of course, Employee Appreciation Day is right around the corner (March 1).
But what if businesses showed their employees appreciation all year? The concept of year-round gratitude is catching on among the biggest companies, and you can implement it in yours too.
To keep the feeling of gratitude going all year long, Amanda Augustine, career advice expert at TopResume, suggests looking for large and small opportunities to acknowledge your employees and their work.
For leaders, practicing gratitude at work is an incredibly valuable tool, and one that shouldn't be saved for a single season, according to Stacey Engle, president at Fierce Inc.
Engle offered her tips for implementing gratitude all year long, from the most personal to the most public.
1. Start a gratitude journal.
Journaling is a great way to express gratitude that doesn't need to be said out loud.
"You may want a journal that encompasses all aspects of your life, or one just for the office," Engle said. "Perhaps every Monday morning, you take 10 minutes to write down what work-related people and things you are grateful for. Over time, you can look back and reflect in a meaningful way."
These journals come in particularly handy when things aren't going as you expected and you need a reminder that you have much to be thankful for, Augustine said. "Similar to keeping a brag book, a gratitude journal can be a great way to pull you out of a funk before you get lost in self-pity."
2. Write thank-you notes.
"It might be a little old-school," said Engle, especially when we are used to emailing and texting, "but therein lies the magic. There is something powerful about taking the time to thank someone with a physical note, be it your boss, the intern or even the security guard in your building."
Augustine said not to forget that giving and receiving thank-you notes is a low-tech and low-cost option that can go a long way.
3. Incorporate gratitude into your conversations.
Positive reinforcement is important during meetings with your boss or those who report to you.
"These conversations can have a lasting impact and will serve to strengthen the relationship," Engle said. "Showing appreciation on a regular basis in many cases also makes conversations around areas of improvement easier, as you have built a stronger foundation with the other person."
Having more gratitude in conversations isn't easy. It requires a certain level of mindfulness, said Augustine. She added, though, that if you can create a company culture that embodies this practice, you're bound to have happier and more productive employees.
4. Make time in meetings for shoutouts.
If people are doing good things, make sure they know it – and that others know it too. It's important to keep these shoutouts genuine, as Augustine suggested, to make them great morale-boosters.
"Public displays of gratitude can mean a lot to your employees," Engle said. "Make it an ongoing bullet point on the agenda to call out a person or team that is doing a great job, and be as specific as you can. Knowing the boss not only appreciates your work but knows exactly what you are doing can be a big boost to an employee's confidence at work."
5. Consider an award for employee of the week, month or quarter.
Engle said that this doesn't need to be a super formal process, but the idea of highlighting someone's achievements on a regular basis is nice. "Not only does a stellar employee get acknowledged, but in deciding who to highlight, you get to see some of the great work being done across the organization."
Augustine added that these awards are a great way to reinforce the behaviors and values you want your company culture to reflect.
"We all benefit when we take a minute to step back and recognize the good people and things we have our lives," said Engle. "It feeds the soul, which is as necessary in November as it is in February or June."