5 Non-Monetary Ways to Thank Your Employees

To help ensure your employees don’t look elsewhere for work, here are 5 non-monetary ways to thank them.

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With nearly half of United States workers actively searching for job or looking out for a new opportunity, it’s crucial to make sure your employees feel appreciated.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 52% of people who quit their job during the COVID-19 pandemic said their company could have done something to make them stay. While monetary incentives like holiday bonuses, gift cards or tuition reimbursement are great job perks, non-monetary tokens of appreciation are necessary, too.

Recognition, thanks, and positive feedback can go a long way toward making your employees feel valued and building loyalty. People want to know they’re making a difference and that the work they do matters. If you want your employees to stick with you, tell and show them that you’re thankful for their work, and often.

“The best way to say thanks is to make it personal,” said Zenefits’ VP of People Danny Speros. “Writing someone a note or sitting down with them face to face (or screen to screen) to thank them often trumps awards and prizes.”

As workers across the country continue to leave their jobs in droves during the so-called “Great Resignation,” here are 5 non-monetary ways you can thank your employees and help to ensure they don’t look elsewhere for work.

1. Set up one-on-one meetings

“Setting aside time in a one-on-one or a team meeting for gratitude is a great way to share praise with everyone and set an example.”

Meet individually with employees outside of the annual performance review process. Call a worker into your office just to give a meaningful thanks for a job well done. Don’t discuss other projects or deadlines. Be exact with praise. “Call out a specific thing they did and the impact they made,” Speros said. “This makes it all the more meaningful and reinforces the great work people do.” You might also use the meeting as a chance to get to know your employee better, their hopes and goals, and how you can best help them achieve those. “Setting aside time in a one-on-one or a team meeting for gratitude is a great way to share praise with everyone and set an example,” Speros adds.

2. Send a personal note or video

Write a handwritten note on a nice sheet of stationary and leave it on your employee’s desk, or mail it to them at home. You might also pen a note to the employee’s family, letting them know how much their loved one is valued and how key their contributions have been to the company. A collaborative note from you and other employees is a nice gesture, too, if a worker has really gone above and beyond on the job. Gather everyone’s comments in one card, or, you could even go digital and create a thank you and job-well-done video montage.

3. Recognize employees on social media

Calling out an employees’ good work on social media lets the world — including your customers — know that your employees do great work and go above and beyond. Attention garnered through this type of wider recognition will make your employee feel proud and assure them that their good work doesn’t go unnoticed. Tag the employee on Facebook or on Twitter spelling out their accomplishment and how it helped the company. Include a photo if your employee would be comfortable with that.

4. Give public thank yous, and credit

“When someone has an idea, I always remember to give them credit for it, in public, often.”

Thanking a high-performing employee in front of your entire team can be very meaningful, especially when it’s unexpected. Give targeted praise during a team meeting, a Zoom call or a company outing. When you regularly give praise, it will soon become a natural part of your leadership style and your routine. Montage Legal Group Co-owner/founder Erin Giglia thanks her employees by recognizing them for winning ideas. “When someone has an idea, I always remember to give them credit for it, in public, often,” she said.

5. Create a peer recognition program

Praise from above is meaningful, but so is praise from one’s peers. Find a way to allow colleagues to regularly recognize each other in addition to your own recognitions. Potential strategies include creating a place to post praise on an internal website or bulletin board or through a regular company communication like a newsletter.

As you find more ways to thank employees, you’ll slowly enhance your company’s culture of thanks and care. In a caring culture, leaders genuinely care about their employees, employees care for each other, and everyone cares about the customers.

Close, personal relationships are a hallmark of cultures of thanks and caring, so make sure to take the time to get to know your team members on a personal level. Celebrate successes, birthdays and anniversaries. Giglia gets to know her staff and said she values her “employees and their actual lives a million times more than I value a dollar.”

She shows her gratitude by prioritizing employees’ personal lives. “If they have something going on and they need to deal with it, then I make sure they know to go ahead and do it,” she said. “They come first, and I constantly tell them that I’m grateful for their contributions.”

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