There’s a little something in the air right now: pumpkin-spiced everything, invites being sent for get-togethers, and turkeys being bought (in some regions). And on top of all that seasonal joy? End-of-year pushes, emotional times as we remember lost loved ones, and just the general stress that can come with all of that planning. As the holiday season approaches, I can’t help but think of what I’m grateful for. And as a manager, I’d be remiss if my team wasn’t at the top of that list.
People make your brand. Your day-to-day. Your product. The experience your customers and clients have with you. They. Are. Everything. Which is why it’s no surprise that a study by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino found that when people experience gratitude from their manager, they’re more productive. And not only are they more productive, but they’re also able to complete tasks better. So, how can we show appreciation for our teams this holiday season and beyond? Take a look at five ways to say thank you below. (Plus, almost all of them require no budget at all!)
How to show gratitude to your team :
- Say thank you
- Offer mentorship & coaching
- Give a customized gift
- Create team bonding opportunities
- Award a spot bonus
Say thank you
It may seem obvious, but simply the act of saying thank you to your team can work wonders to boost their mood and overall feeling about their work. Outside of telling them one-on-one, here are a few ideas to share your words:
- A handwritten note: Taking the time to craft your appreciation — let alone find their address and mail it as many of us now work in hybrid, remote, and distributed teams—can be the icing on the cake. Plus, who doesn’t love to get something in the mail that isn’t junk?
- A public shout-out: Tools like slack make public points of praise a breeze. Whether you have a specific #shout-out channel or a #general one that is company-wide, saying thank you has never been easier.
- Year-in-review: Share top wins from your team and how each individual contributed in your end-of-year reporting. Extra points if you personalize it with not only their wins, but their pictures and a personal fun fact to elevate their presence in your org.
Tip: Make feedback specific to what they accomplished and how their unique strengths led to that achievement.
Offer mentorship & coaching
Providing mentorship to your team can be one of the most rewarding things for both of you. Creating space in your 1:1s or having dedicated separate time to cover particular areas of interest can be a great way to move agreed-upon areas for growth forward.
Using resources like ActivTrak Coach can give you insights into team members who may need immediate support and get suggestions on how to address their challenges. For example, a person might have very low focus time, which could mean they are getting behind or even possibly feeling overwhelmed. With this report, you have the data to lead with empathy and ask the right questions to help set priorities and get things back on track.
Tip: If you’re using ActivTrak Coach, our Productivity Lab team recommends setting a cadence — with calendar alerts 1-2x a week for 15 minutes to review your weekly coaching opportunities and determine the support actions you’d like to take to better support your team.
Some companies also have cross-functional mentorship programs, so that guidance comes from all areas of the company and from different perspectives. There are also many executive coaching programs you can pay for, but your company is likely full of people willing to mentor and are an untapped resource.
Create team bonding opportunities
With remote, hybrid, and distributed teams, the ability to get together for a quick lunch or holiday party to make memories is a bit more challenging. But there are ways to create a similar feeling and the bonds that go with it.
- Hybrid activities: They have everything these days over video, but mix it up with things to do while on video. From gingerbread house building kits and creating your own cocktail to scheduling a comedy hour, you can manifest an “outing” for the books. I personally organized a murder mystery event last year and it was a hit!
- Virtual games: That’s right — you can take beloved game nights online with different services. Teams I’ve worked with have loved Jackbox Games, Code Names, and even some at-home games work well over video.
Tip: If you’re looking for a remote or hybrid-friendly “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant” exchange for the holiday or even just because, Elftster is a great tool to invite people, manage RSVPs, and even randomize the draw!
Give a customized gift
Actively listening to your team and getting to know them personally can be a bit of an art you hone over time. When you remember feedback they’ve given or personal things they’ve shared with you and turn that into a custom gift, that can be all the more meaningful. For example, if you know that someone on your team loves their pet, custom socks with their dog’s picture might be just the ticket. Or if you know a person on your team isn’t a fan of cooking dinner, a gift card for a meal delivery with a personal note about that might be the way to go. Whatever you decide,
Tip: In your gift note, tie together why you sent them what you did. It could be the story they shared or that you remembered a certain restaurant they liked and you wanted to treat them to it from afar (if you’re remote or distributed!).
Award a spot bonus
And sometimes there is nothing that says thank you more than unexpected cash or cash-like bonus. When someone has gone above and beyond or just the unexpected nature of a reward like this, it can really make someone feel appreciated.
Tip: While financial compensation is amazing, when paired with some form of verbal or public recognition, it can mean all that much more.
Speaking of bonuses… Showing appreciation for your team can not only do wonders for them, but also for you. Studies show that when you express gratitude you can experience many benefits, including increased happiness and positive mood and a lower likelihood to experience burnout. So, what’s good for your team is also good for you? Now that’s something to be grateful for.
ActivTrak helps companies unlock productivity potential. Our award-winning workforce analytics and productivity management software provides expert insights that empower people, optimize processes, and maximize technology. Additionally, with data sourced from more than 9,000 customers and over 450,000 users, ActivTrak’s Workforce Productivity Lab is a global center for ground-breaking research and expertise that helps companies embrace and embody the future of work.