It goes without saying that giving feedback is something you should be doing all year long, but it seems to me that the run up to the Christmas break provides lots of special and deliberate opportunities to express gratitude and deliver heartfelt thank yous to your team. You might already have dropped an annual bonus, or posted out bottles of wine, but as is the case with most things, it has special meaning when spoken out loud or delivered directly.
Much of your time over the last 12 months might have been spent managing and giving feedback to more problematic employees, and some of your other great people (who ‘just get on with it’) may have been somewhat glossed over. Be sure to remember that your best people need to feel appreciated personally too.
Whether you’re prioritising one-to-ones before heading in 2023, or if you’ve got more time to chat at the numerous office parties and socials – make sure you’re delivering a thank you that is more that just a platitude this year.
Here are a few things to consider when thanking your teams:
A general ‘thanks so much for all your hard work this year’ doesn’t really cut it if you’re serious about thanking you team. Take some time and note down the things you value about each individual, things which go over and above their outputs for the business. Try to focus in on their specific attributes, whether that’s their positivity, their humour, their resilience or fantastic teamwork and examples around how their attitude and commitment have directly impacted the business and the people around them.
Share others feedback
If you have time, enrich your thanks and consider asking others for their feedback about individual team members, then share that feedback with them. Hearing that your value has been recognised by your peers and clients is a real cherry on top if you’ve been working hard all year.
Thank for effort, not outputs.
Don’t praise people for ‘doing a good job’, instead recognise the effort and commitment they’ve put in, praise for the fact they have tried their best and brought their full selves to work. If you want, try linking up personal qualities to your company values – strengthening your belief (and theirs) that they are a great fit for the business.
Thank you letters.
Ideally, this is the perfect time to carve out some one-to-one time with everyone on your team and anyone outside your team who you want to personally thank. If you don’t manage to speak to everyone directly, then another great way to show your appreciation is to send a personalised email or even a letter. This is not the time for a copy and paste job, rather a time to reiterate what you would say to your team member if you had had the opportunity to speak with them face-to-face. Artifacts help us remember that we’ve succeeded or been appreciated in the past and we can do it again.
Expressing gratitude feels great, and is one of the purest ways to impact your company culture, boosting self-confidence, strengthening collaboration and leadership skills and furthering career development.
If you’re reading this then I also want to say a personal thank you, the feedback and comments make creating content each week an incredibly worthwhile part of my job.