Peter had worked at the same organization for 35 years and the day he retired he cleared off his desk, emptied out his workplace, handed in his access cards and keys, and walked out with a box containing just a few items. They consisted of a picture of his family, a picture of his first day on the job, his personal journal, and a handwritten thank you card he had received from the CEO 15 years before.
Why did Peter keep the card? When I asked him, he struggled to put it into words, he simply said that the card meant a lot to him and it was something he felt proud of. This example illustrates the power of giving thanks!
Research shows the first days of starting a new position are crucial for the long-term success of an organisation. Welcoming new members to your team in a positive way is essential for keeping them engaged from the get-go. Engaged employees are more likely to perform better and be more loyal to the company.
A welcome gratitude kit for new employees can be a great way to start out on the right foot. A welcome kit can be created for any type of employee, at any level, even if they are remote or a freelancer. It is a great way for people to feel welcome and that they are joining a team.
Personalized merchandise and maybe a personalized journal would go a long way in winning employee's hearts.
3 Ways to Give More Impactful Thanks
1. Make It Specific
Don't just give thanks for thanks, sake, but make the thanks specific to what action they did, what result they accomplished, or what behaviour they exemplified that you appreciated.
Naturally, you aren't probably going to thank someone for coming to work on time, that is an expectation, but if someone does go above and beyond to help deliver a specific result, that is definitely something you would want to praise.
You can use gratitude strategically as you give thanks for the behaviours and results you want people to deliver time and time again.
2. Make it meaningful, not necessarily monetary
One of the traps we can fall into as leaders are feeling that we need to give a financial, monetary incentive, or bonus anytime someone does something good. While monetary thanks are appropriate occasionally, thanks, in general, is also very impactful as people feel noticed and appreciated.
You can make it meaningful by how you deliver thanks, which can range from delivering it in a personal meeting, in a phone call, in a handwritten note, or in a public email or meeting, etc.
3. Be consistent, set aside "thankful time" every week
Employees will expect that a leader will give thanks and praise when a significant accomplishment, project, sale, or result is delivered--what they won't expect is when thanks is given along the way at "unexpected" intervals.
This is where leaders can create a powerful experience by being consistent and creating a different experience for their employees.