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10 Ways to Thank Employees

A firm that designs employee recognition and reward programs has created a list of 10 ways employers can thank employees for their work this year.

Roy Saunderson, president of Recognition Management Institute, says while the down economy has prevented many employers from hosting big holiday parties, there are still many low-cost ways for employers to express their appreciation. Saunderson created the following list of examples.
  1. Write Thank You letters. Enlist other supervisors and managers' help to identify the contributions of each employee over the past year and thank them hanging in there through a tough year.
  2. Meet and Greet .  Arrange for your CEO to walk through every department and shake the hands of everyone in the office. “The commitment and authenticity of your leader will come through and his time and personal thanks will go a long way.”
  3. Throw a “Decorating on a Dime” contest.   This desk, cubical and/or office decorating contest will involve all your employees and more than likely be received with great enthusiasm. Prizes can go to departments and individually. Prizes can be as simple as an extended lunch hour for shopping, surprise pizzas for all or free movie passes.
  4. Give the gift of time.   Recognize your outstanding employees with paid time off such as a half or full day off to allow them to spend time with their family and friends or to just relax.
  5. Extend casual dress Fridays.   Let your employees dress casually for the rest of the year.
  6. Social network your thanks! Through tweets, company-wide e-mail and web-posting – list this year's accomplishments by thanking the key people involved. This will not only allow employees to keep engaged in company happenings, but will also reassure employees that their hard work has not been forgotten. They will appreciate being cited by name.
  7. Give from the heart. Surprise employees by giving them a copy of a favorite book, DVD, or CD that inspired you.  Make sure to include a note with your reasons for sharing this with them. The personal touch and your sincere expressions will not go unnoticed.
  8. Pot-luck party . Pull together enough of a budget to subsidize an office pot-luck by providing paper goods, sodas, servers or a D.J.  Ask everyone to submit their recipes and compile a cookbook (online and/or print) as a lasting memory and surprise treat for everyone.
  9. One-on-one meetings. Make sure your managers are encouraged to take time out to meet with employees. Staying connected, learning what their professional goals are along with finding out how their personal lives may have changed (kids in college, newborns, etc.) will allow you to manage day to day in a more positive way to achieve the most.
  10. Be happy .  No matter the budget, holiday time should always be a fun time with an atmosphere of appreciation.  Say thanks, be helpful and mindful of everyone in the room.  Appreciation should never be just actions -- attitude is what counts!
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