Gratitude: Now’s the Time to Show It!
By Peg Ayers
With the holiday season upon us and New Year’s Day coming up, it’s easy to say, “Let’s just get out of this ridiculous year! I don’t want to give 2020 another thought! I’m looking to the future.” Focus on the future is great, but let’s not forget the lessons we’ve learned this year—especially the one that says, “Be prepared, because you really never know what will happen next!”
While we’re reflecting on the year, we should give particular thought to the people in our businesses who got us through. They each faced their own troubles, while continuing to give us what we needed from them, in circumstances none of us saw coming. Our contact center people had their worlds turned upside down, with many switching from working in the center to working from home, often with others in their home doing the same and children in need of help with their virtual classes.
Don’t be so anxious to leave 2020 behind that you forget to thank your people. Gratitude is always welcome, and we’ve probably never faced a year-end when it was needed more. Gratitude goes way beyond money, so don’t feel like you have to forget it because you can’t afford it. The key is to make it personal and sincere.
Here are some options to show your gratitude to your staff:
- Bonuses are definitely popular, but not every business can do that today. If you do provide a year-end bonus, remember to make it personal. Write a note or an email expressing your gratitude for this year and your hope for the future. I’ve seen companies put extra money on year-end checks without even explaining it, leaving everyone wondering if it’s their money or a clerical error. This is not the way to show you appreciate people.
- Food is always popular. Big parties are out, but what about giving people something they can take home to their families? I froze my hands giving out turkeys to everyone in my center for years, until we created a partnership with a nearby grocery store where we gave out certificates and THEY gave out the turkeys. We’d always given certificates to those who didn’t eat turkey, so it was easy to expand that and saved our hands. Though, I have to admit, it didn’t feel quite as festive.
- If people are working in your center on a holiday, it’s always a good idea to bring in dinner for them (or breakfast, depended on schedules). If they’re at home, perhaps you can arrange a food delivery.
- A year end Zoom meeting with teams or departments will allow you to express your gratitude verbally and let people know they’re appreciated. Stay tuned in all year round, especially with the supervisory staff, who continue to face challenges around the new way of working.
- Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. When I left a center leader position years ago, I got a letter from someone who talked about the personal notes I’d written her over the years, for promotions and work anniversaries. “I got more attention from you,” she wrote, “than I did from my own family.” That inspiration led me to write many more notes over the years. Tell your people you appreciate them and look forward to achieving success together in the new year.
Express your gratitude in the way that fits your style and your staff. They will appreciate it.
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