11 Ways Leaders Can Show Their Employees Gratitude

Members of Young Entrepreneur Council suggest ways leaders can thank their teams for all their hard work.

Published on Jan. 04, 2022
11 Ways Leaders Can Show Their Employees Gratitude
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Headshots of contributing YEC members
Top row, from left: Ryan D. Matzner, Bryce Welker, Anik Decoste, Kelly Cardenas. Middle row, from left: Kevin Ryan Tao, Stephanie Wells, John Turner, Samuel Thimothy. Bottom row, from left: Shane Edgell, Chris Christoff, Thomas Griffin.

Workplace happiness is a major topic of discussion in today’s employment landscape. Employees are discovering, now more than ever, that their happiness is a priority when it comes to where and when they work, and many are no longer willing to compromise in favor of anything else. In order to keep current (and future) employees happy, then, employers will need to approach retention differently than they may have in the past.

Luckily, the strategy behind this effort doesn’t need to be complicated, as there’s no better way to ensure your team is happy and fulfilled than by showing your gratitude for all the hard work they do. Consider the following steps recommended by Young Entrepreneur Council leaders to help get started.

11 Ways Leaders Can Show Their Employees Gratitude

  1. Offer promotions and raises.
  2. Show leniency.
  3. Invite them to high-profile meetings.
  4. Give a specific compliment.
  5. Improve the work environment.
  6. Praise them on social media.
  7. Meet with them regularly.
  8. Offer compensation.
  9. Give them public appreciation and recognition.
  10. Encourage time off.
  11. Say a simple “thank you.”

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1. Offer Promotions and Raises

Promotions and raises are the best way to show your appreciation for hard work. They not only make your employees feel that their hard work has accomplished something, but it also can motivate them to continue to work diligently and grow. This is not only a victory, but it also gives them new ways to show you what they can accomplish. —Ryan D. MatznerFueled


2. Show Leniency

These are tough times for a lot of people, so a really effective way to show your appreciation is to offer some leniency. Encourage your employees to take time off if they’re at risk of burnout, and avoid harsh judgments if they miss some milestones or make mistakes. This attitude will foster loyalty and decrease the turnover rate for your employees, which will be beneficial in the long term. —Bryce WelkerReal Estate Schooler


3. Invite Them to High-Profile Meetings

Beyond additional paid vacation and other corporate perks like plane tickets for two to a destination of their choice, I often invite employees who perform well to important meetings with high-profile contacts. No matter what position the employees are in, I invite them to shadow me during those meetings so they can be exposed to people they would otherwise not be able to meet face-to-face. —Anik DecosteMTTR


4. Give a Specific Compliment

Celebrate! Celebration should start with a personal, very specific compliment that is followed up with public praise. The two key factors are that you must use the person’s name and be very specific about what they did well. When you do this, you will validate and shine a light on what is going right and create a culture in which folks will be constantly on the lookout for things to celebrate. —Kelly CardenasKelly Cardenas


5. Improve the Work Environment

Beyond just being good manners, you should give back to your team what it has given you by providing a comfortable, enjoyable and healthy space to work. This is not only morally correct, as it shows the respect that each employee who works for you deserves, but it also helps your company, since work that is done with pleasure is high quality. —Kevin Ryan TaoNeuEve


6. Praise Them on Social Media

Business owners and leaders can show gratitude to their teams by sharing their praise on social media. Doing so creates a positive reputation for your employees and exposes them to more opportunities for success. —Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms


7. Meet With Them Regularly

I think the best way to show your team that you care is to meet with them several times a month. Too many bosses expect their teams to work on autopilot and don’t really take the time to find out what would make their lives easier or what goals they might have for the future. If you talk to your employees in a one-on-one setting, you’re showing your team that you appreciate what they do. —John TurnerSeedProd LLC


8. Offer Compensation

You can find many ways to do this, and your approach will depend on each worker’s circumstances. Some need more responsibility, so a promotion would be appropriate. That promotion would also come with an increase in compensation as well. If you consistently underpay your talent, they’ll move on. Compensation goes beyond meeting living costs. It’s about showing respect and that the person is valued too. —Samuel ThimothyOneIMS


9. Give Them Public Appreciation and Recognition

Other than a bonus and pay raise, give successful employees verbal compensation in front of the rest of your team. Either in a meeting or a company-wide email, make it apparent that you recognize and appreciate their talents and hard work with a pat on the back! Giving a “job well done” message in the public eye of the company is good for both individual and company-wide morale. —Shane EdgellEdgellBIM


10. Encourage Time Off

We show our employees that we value their hard work by insisting that everyone on our team take a paid week off every quarter. I believe that this gives our employees time to rest and recharge, which can reduce instances of burnout and improve productivity. At the same time, our team knows that we have this rule in place because we value their work and want them to be happy. —Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights


11. Say a Simple ‘Thank You’

Just say, “Thank you.” Although it doesn’t appear to be anything creative, letting your team know that you appreciate their efforts and hard work makes them feel special. Just be specific about what you like about their work and why. Once you are done, make sure to appreciate them publicly in a team meeting or offer a “cheer-to-peer.” We often do that in our Slack channel to motivate our team. —Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

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