It’s holiday season and we’re reminded again to give thanks and gratitude for everyone who has positively impacted our lives. As an employer, gratitude is the key to bringing not only employee retention but also employee engagement, loyalty, and trust in the workplace.

Photo by 9Dot Education Solutions

1. Thank generously

One study from the Wharton School of Business showed that receiving a “thank you” from a supervisor boosted productivity by more than 50 percent. According to the study, “Gratitude expressions increase prosocial behavior by enabling individuals to feel socially valued.” Productivity works best with support and intrinsic motivation, rather than idle management and fear.

2. Acknowledge big and small tasks

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

Every project is important to the growth of your organization and team. It’s important to acknowledge great work from your employees, including the small but substantial ones. According to a Great Place to Work study, “affirmation, feedback and reward are most effective for motivating employees to do their best work”.

3. Celebrate birthdays

Photo by AdobeStock/Jacob Lund

In fact, 9Dot Education Solutions was recently certified as a Great Place to Work in 2020. Our survey showed that 90% of our employees celebrate special events around the office and 88% said that “when you join the company, you are made to feel welcome.” Perhaps we received this remarkable recognition, because we recognize our employees. Not only is this important for your staff to feel welcome and valued, it’s also a fun way to boost employee morale and engagement in the workplace.

4. Be specific about praise

Praise can easily be shrugged off without a clear reason for the compliment. According to Harvard Business Review, “When we share, it is important to give details and examples to help the person comprehend the context of our remarks. When we are clear with our compliments, the person understands exactly what we are expressing and why”

Some examples to illustrate:

  • “That was amazing!” (What was amazing?)
  • “I am proud of you.” (For what?)
  • “Thank you for taking notes in the meeting.” (It’s my job, why are you recognizing me?)

5. Tell them in meetings

Photo by Miguel Bautista on Unsplash

Recognizing someone in public versus privately can have a much more positive effect. It demonstrates that you value their efforts and clearly demonstrates your expectations at work. At 9Dot Education Solutions, our managers often highlight major accomplishments amongst departments to celebrate their achievements.

6. Write a note

Photo by

Teachers may know this more than most — sometimes, writing a simple thank you note can go a long way.

7. Pay attention

One of the most effective ways to express gratitude is simply paying attention and addressing an employee’s work or situation. The more you pay attention, the more likely you are to see both good and bad cases. Once you see an employee doing great work, recognize their achievement. Praise at the right moment demonstrates strong attention to detail and ability to lead.

8. Offer flexibility

Photo by XPS on Unsplash

Instead of a direct word of affirmation, flexibility can really offer support to employees who respond better with acts of service and kindness. Some examples include allowing an adjusted schedule or increasing vacation time to reduce burnout.

A simple act such as offering flexibility to an employee demonstrates not only gratitude for their work, but also trust and appreciation for their efforts.

What are some other ways you can express gratitude to your employees?

We specialize in providing back-office services for businesses, charter schools and nonprofit organizations.