Happy Employee Appreciation Day, everyone! That’s right, we’ve made it back again to that first Friday in March where managers, executives, and HR professionals everywhere say thank you to all the people who help their organizations run smoothly. It’s always a special time here at Kronos, and the gratitude starts all the way at the top with our CEO, Aron Ain.
In fact, Aron is so committed to sharing his gratitude with us that he spent a whole chapter talking about it in his new book, Work Inspired: How to Build an Organization where Everyone Loves to Work. We thought we’d share some of his insights and key quotes here in celebration of Employee Appreciation Day and in the hopes that they’ll give you some ideas of your own about how best to say thank you to your team members.
1. Create forums for employees to thank one another
“Gratitude shouldn’t just flow from the top of the organization down, but horizontally as well.”
Thank yous are best when they’re unexpected, and at Kronos we’ve put a whole system in place so anyone can express gratitude at any time. We call them Shout-Outs, and they’re just a simple form we can fill out to let another employee and their manager know when they do something we think is special. It’s a great way to give positive feedback in the moment and for employees to feel recognized for embodying any of the company values you encourage.
2. Allow teams, departments, and business units to offer their own recognition
“Corporate doesn’t have to ‘own’ recognition. Rather, it can serve as an instigator and promoter of other grassroots recognition programs.”
Relevance to a specific department’s tasks, goals, and values is another great way to make employees feel appreciated. We’ve got a number of different programs that reward employees for going above and beyond scattered throughout our different functional groups at Kronos. These help make different teams feel connected to each other through specific shared experiences and raise the visibility of employees with the people who matter most to them – the colleagues and managers they work with every day.
3. Provide special opportunities for employees to thank their managers
“Many organizations don’t think to publicly celebrate successful managers the way they might celebrate their top sales leaders. But we do.”
It’s important to not let managers get left in the dust when you’re saying thank you. After all, they’re employees too. That’s why at Kronos we have our yearly Courage to Lead awards. Any employee can nominate their manager, and selected managers get to be part of a special awards ceremony where they get recognized by our executives and rewarded. It’s a great way to let employees express gratitude for strong managers and encourage managers to stand out in their daily interactions with their teams.
4. Provide public recognition, not just rewards
“Pure public recognition goes a long way.”
Even just getting some attention from others at an organization can make a big difference for an employee. One thing we do to make this easy at Kronos is our Career Spotlights, which feature different employees and tell their stories to the rest of the company. Employees can nominate others for these features, and they often feature quotes from peers and managers praising the featured employee’s qualities as a teammate. This helps everyone feel more connected to other people they may not work with regularly and helps acknowledge employees even when there’s no formal thank you effort going on.
5. Recognize your people for referring new employees
“Great businesses are powered by great people at every level.”
One of the biggest compliments an employee can pay you as an employer is referring someone from their network for an open position. It shows they believe in what your organization is doing and they’re willing to leverage their own reputation to help you grow. For this reason, we at Kronos believe it’s critical to reward employees when we hire people they refer to thank them for contributing to our success.
6. Practice mass gratitude
“Express gratitude to large groups…all at once.”
Everybody loves a good party. Kronos holds multiple employee appreciation events during the year, like our summer barbecue and our Thanksgiving lunch where the executives serve us a holiday meal. These little breaks from daily routines let you create a sense of community among your employees, and those bonds help build productive teams. In fact, the strong internal community we’ve built within Kronos is reflected in how we interact with our customers too – that’s why our award-winning customer education, communication, and support portal is called the Kronos Community.
As you can see, Employee Appreciation Day isn’t the only time you can say thank you. And the more you do it, the harder your employees will work to build your organization’s success. The gratitude that Aron Ain and the other leaders at Kronos show us every day informs everything we do here, impacting both how we work together on our teams and the steps we take to make our customers feel just as supported and valued.