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Staff Appreciation: How to Say Thanks as the Year Ends

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Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, the end of year is a time to show gratitude. As the holidays reconnect you with family and loved ones, it’s natural to say thanks to the people who’ve supported us and shaped our lives.

But they’re not the only ones who deserve thanks. As a business owner, you’re probably wondering how to thank another very important group - your staff.

After all, your employees are the backbone of your company. The results you achieved this year couldn’t have been done without them. But how do you show appreciation in a way that’s genuine?

You might already have a financial bonus planned, but consider these 10 acts of appreciation as extra little ways of showing you care.

1. Encourage a long break

Most businesses have a mandatory close-down period, but if possible give your staff the option of taking a longer break. This might mean working from home or using up extra annual leave - but they’ll still appreciate the flexibility and opportunity to refresh. Cloud based tools like WorkflowMax make working from home easier than ever, and every extra day spent with family and loved ones can mean the world to staff.

2. Give out personalised cards

Many workplaces offer small (or lavish!) Christmas gifts to their staff at year’s end. Don’t take a cookie-cutter approach with unnamed bottles of wine. Instead make sure you attach a personalised message or card to every gift, no matter how big or small. Thank each individual by name, and write about how their unique contributions and achievements have helped the company - they’ll be chuffed. Make sure to thank their family too.

3. Help them learn a new skill

Offering your staff the time and resources to achieve their desired skills is a wonderful gift. For example, your employees might express a desire to learn coding, graphic design, or become proficient with a new software (even if it’s not directly related to their job description). Reward them in the new year by giving them the means to achieve this - whether it’s a few designated hours a week for self-training, access to online upskilling courses or a paid training program.

4. Have a surprise movie break

Surprise your staff on a Monday by shouting them movie tickets, and whisk them away to the cinema after lunch. They’ll appreciate the break from work as much as the film! It’s also great bonding time - especially if you watch a film so bad and cheesy it remains a running joke in the company for eternity.

Alternatively, if you’re on a tight budget you could schedule a regular team ‘meeting’ in the office, but surprise your staff with a projector setup along with popcorn, snacks and some afternoon Netflix or DVDs. Bonus points if it’s industry relevant.

5. Digital magazine subscriptions

The gift that keeps giving! Whether it’s industry related knowledge to further their skills or just some light entertainment, there’s a digital magazine to appeal to almost anyone. Pay your employees subscription so it’s delivered to their work inbox on a weekly or monthly basis. The exclusive reading will be a treat when they return after the holidays, and help to brighten their work days throughout 2017.

6. Plan a one-day excursion

Almost every workplace will hold a traditional xmas party - evening drinks, dinner and dress-ups. Why not have a more casual daytime outing as well? A big day out is excellent for team bonding and gentle on the wallet (since you won’t blow the budget on a bartab). Take your team to a neighbouring mall for a shopping splurge, have a beach BBQ (if the weather’s divine), visit a rock-climbing gym or go on a vineyard tasting tour. The possibilities are endless and there’s something for all budgets.

7. Have a family day at work

It’s not only your staff who make sacrifices for your company; often it’s their families too. Long hours at the office can take a toll on children and spouses. Thanking them for their support can be just as important. To show you care, why not throw a Family Day in December? Let your staff bring their loved ones to work and show them around. Shout them all a casual lunch, hire an ice-cream truck or get a face-painter for the young ones. Fun for everyone!

8. Make a ‘thank you’ video

Here’s one for all you digital content wizards. Throw together your best footage and photos of your team at work in 2016. Include all team events, corporate roadshows and memorable moments. Do a voiceover (or a speech to camera) thanking every team member for their individual contributions. Say how much you’ve loved working with them during 2016, and why you’re excited for the year to come. Add some sweet tunes and share it on social media so your staff, friends and family can all be proud of their achievements!

9. Say it with feeling

Finally, one of the most meaningful (and often overlooked) ways of showing your appreciation is simply by saying it. Make time to chat with each staff member before the year ends, and thank them with sincerity. Look them in the eyes and tell them why you’re grateful for their unique personality and accomplishments. It’s the most powerful thanks of all - and it won’t cost you a cent.

Just don’t expect them to forget about that bonus ;)

Happy Thanksgiving & have a great festive season!


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Caitlin Sisley
Caitlin Sisley is a Marketing Content Writer at WorkflowMax, and has over six years of experience in digital content production. She has worked on creative copy for a large number of New Zealand businesses - from tiny startups to household names. With a Master of Professional Studies from the University of Auckland, she is passionate about small business and corporate responsibility.

Caitlin Sisley