While there is typically a lot of focus on how to appreciate employees so that they become more engaged at work and stay in their roles longer, it is also important to remember that appreciation can go in all directions. That is, often employees want to say thank you or acknowledge their managers for all that they do, while many people also want to show appreciation to their colleagues for helping them out in a tight spot, being supportive, teaching them new skills, and so on.
If you’re looking for ways to ensure your team stays cohesive and that the company culture in your workplace is positive, read on for some ways you can go about showing appreciation in an effective way today.
Be Direct, Genuine, Specific, and Timely
For starters, it’s important to always be direct, genuine, and specific when you thank someone for their efforts or support. It is best to express your gratitude in person, when you feel it really matters, and to steer clear of trying to be too fancy in what you say — otherwise you can lay it on too thick and come across like a suck up. Instead, speak from the heart and use direct, “no frills” words that get across your feelings in a meaningful way. It is best to be concise, expressing yourself in just one or two sentences.
As well, make sure you tell the person exactly why you are grateful; show the connection between what they did and what you got from their actions or words. This demonstrates that you truly understand the value of what was given. For example, acknowledge something they helped you to learn, an opportunity they facilitated, or the way in which they removed some of your workload or stress levels.
Being specific makes your thanks have more of an impact, and shows you’re genuine. Saying vaguely that you “love working with someone” or that your manager is “such a great boss” without saying why you think and feel this can come off as insincere and like you’re just trying to score points.
It is ideal, whenever possible, to be timely with your praise or gratitude, too. If you show your appreciation in the moment your words will come across with more sincerity than if it seems like you are saying thanks at a later date because someone told you too or because you are trying to garner favor.
Make Sure It Is Clear You’re Not After Something in Return
For appreciation to be shown effectively, it is vital that the person being thanked does not think you want something from them, or will get something from others, in return. Unfortunately, some workers try to use a thank you as a way of getting attention and shining the light on themselves instead of the person who should be recognized.
For instance, you have probably come across someone over the years who has used public gratitude as a way of bringing up their own accomplishments (e.g., “Without your help I could have never achieved such record-breaking sales”), or who has made a big show of thanking people in front of a boss in a way that simply looks opportunistic. You want to avoid having your appreciation seem like a strategic move.
Express Gratitude in Effective Ways
When it comes to expressing your gratitude, as mentioned above, some heartfelt words can go a long way. However, if you really want to give the person a gift, treat, or favor in return, you must do so carefully and effectively.
You should try to avoid giving over-the-top, expensive presents. However, choosing from some of the appropriate co-worker presents and Boss’s Day gifts that are on the market these days can work well. Whatever you choose though, try to tailor your gift to the personality and tastes of the specific person involved.
A good way to show your appreciation can be offer to help the person out in return. For example, if it is your manager that you want to thank, you could offer to stay later to help them finish some work; you could take a particular project or task off their pile; or you could simply make sure that you are always on time to work, give your best efforts and do everything you can to help the team succeed.
Another effective choice can be to spend quality time with the person you wish to thank. For example, you can ask them if they are free to eat lunch together or to go for a coffee. Enjoying a meal or drink together gives you the chance to chat and bond in a relaxed way, and can be a good option for making a person feel appreciated.