This is how to say ‘thank you’ to your team

In the spirit of the season, gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving.

This is how to say ‘thank you’ to your team

Gratitude never goes out of style.

Before the holidays swoop down and consume most of your already-busy schedule over the next two months, there’s one very important task to tackle. No, it’s not the year-end report, nor is it the budget predictions for the coming year, and it has nothing to do with planning the annual office party. Do you know how to say thank-you to your hardworking team for another year in the books? 

You know you'd be nothing without these people who go to bat for the company day in and day out. Follow this advice to let your crew know you don’t take their hard work for granted. (You’re welcome!)

Put down the laptop, pick up a pen (or pay a visit)

Thinking about just firing off a mass email thanking everybody on your list? Slow down. This isn’t the time for impersonal, one-size-fits-all gestures. Even if you’re not normally the sentimental type, try putting a little extra feeling into your thank-yous—you’ll lift your gratitude to the next level, says Margaret Page, a business etiquette expert based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

If you want to share written thanks, pull out your cards, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and get to writing—yes, by hand. It doesn’t matter what shape your handwriting is in. As long as your words are legible, a handwritten note is much more emotionally resonant than a typed letter.

Prefer to deliver face-to-face praise? Fight off any impulses to deliver a quick drive-by “thanks,” and instead schedule one one-on-one time with your team members. Choose a time when there are no distractions so your employees can really hear you, says Elaine Swann, a San Diego-based lifestyle and etiquette expert.

Talk up their unique value

Once you’ve decided on how to say thank-you, it’s time to come up with what you’re going to say. Generic statements like “Good job!” won’t make your team feel as appreciated as specific comments that focus on their gifts and accomplishments.

Mention what you’re thanking each employee for, and then say a few words about how their work over the past year has added value to your team and the company.

“If you acknowledge a specific occasion, it paints a picture of what you approve of and what you’d like to see replicated,” says Page. “Let the person know what behavior to repeat.”

For example, instead of saying, “You’re a great worker,” try, “Your deft handling of the marketing budget really made a difference on the XYZ project. We’ve gotten tremendous client feedback because of your work.”

Keep the overall vibe consistent with your company culture. “If your company tends to be more traditional and formal, stay along those lines,” Swann says. “If it has more of a relaxed environment, a super-formal thank-you note may come across as not authentic.”

Keep it up year-round

While the holidays offer a good reminder to express your gratitude, aim to thank your employees for their hard work throughout the year. Taking the time to acknowledge your employees’ work year-round will help keep them motivated and feeling good about the impact they have.

Not only will this make your team feel like winners and encourage them to work hard, you can also reap the benefits. A boss known for expressing gratitude is a coveted addition to any leadership team—your future employers won’t over look this fact. So put monthly reminders on your calendar to make a gesture of thanks to employees, Swann says. It may seem like a little thing, but your team will appreciate you for it. 

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