Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
When you’re a leader of a group of humans, gratitude matters. Your team works hard every day to make sure your company succeeds. They follow your lead, are on top of their customer-service skills, provide valuable feedback and essentially keep the show running. Even as something as simple as a “Thank you” or a “Wow, great job” goes a longer way than you might imagine. Gratitude is a non-monetary way to show people we see the effort they put into their work. Our co-workers are human and appreciate being recognized for what they do. It is essential to keep your team happy, and creating a culture of gratitude is a simple way to do it.
Here are five fantastic ways to show your team how grateful you are for their hard work and dedication.
1. Say thank you
Let’s start with a simple yet very important way to show your team gratitude: Say thank you. It doesn’t cost a dime, and it has measurably beneficial effects. As a leader, when you say “Thank you,” you give your team a feeling of self-worth and self-efficacy. Take the time to acknowledge and appreciate your team’s dedication and encourage them to be the best they can be. If they win, you win, and the company wins. It’s simple: Say thank you to everyone in your company, looking each person in the eye as you do, and you’ll improve morale in the workplace.
You can also think outside the box and find a way to make it more creative. Here’s a suggestion: Write your thank-you note on a piece of paper and leave it on the desk, counter, door or any place where your co-worker will see it first thing in the morning.
2. Buy your team a meal
Who doesn’t like a good meal? Another way to show your team how much you appreciate them is to get them food. There are many benefits to this approach. Food can bring the team together, build up interpersonal relationships in the workplace and make the people around you feel happy and cherished. You could execute this by simply ordering in to the office or make a bigger deal out of it and take the team out of the office for lunch.
3. Offer time off
Your company won’t suffer if your top performers get some extra time off here and there. This is an incentive to those who go above and beyond for the needs of the company. Not only will your team members feel appreciated, but it will also boost productivity because everyone will want to earn that extra time off. You could even build a reward system around it where different results in company goals are met with different forms of time off. For example, you could offer additional vacation time, an afternoon off or allow people to work remotely once in a while. Trust me, they deserve it, and you will reap the benefits of a team that feels appreciated and valued by leadership.
4. Provide financial incentives
Though not the most original idea in the book, it is definitely one that is appreciated by everyone: financial compensations. They’re a clear cut way to show your team you acknowledge the value of their hard work and dedication. You could do annual bonuses or project-based bonuses for team members who reach specific company goals. If you see a pattern of great work with your team members, then a great way to say thank you is to give them a pay raise. On a smaller scale, you could also give out gift cards to a local coffee shop, restaurants or even retail stores. You can also write a thank-you note to go along with the incentive for a more personalized touch.
5. Be flexible with your team
Being flexible with your team when they need it is sometimes a great way to show your appreciation. Allow them to try again rather than reprimanding them if they make tiny mistakes, such as missing a project deadline by a few hours or ignoring a minor assignment. This approach demonstrates that you value their efforts and that you trust them to get the job done. You want your co-workers to learn from their mistakes, not make them feel discouraged over every little thing. Be respectful and ask questions that would help you understand why a goal or objective was not met on time instead of saying something like, “I don’t want to hear excuses.” Remember, your team members are human and have a life outside of work; sometimes life happens, and we all need to adjust. Show them you appreciate and respect them enough to want to hear what they have to say to you.
In short, gratitude is easy to give and pays off in so many areas. Happy co-workers will develop healthier relationships with their co-workers and customers. Plus, saying thank you is contagious. A culture of gratitude creates a more efficient, happier, productive and eager team that’s ready to get the job done. Be creative and think of little surprises that will brighten your co-workers days and make them smile.
Original Post: entrepreneur.com