This week, America will celebrate one of its favorite past times. Thanksgiving, or Turkey Day as it has been affectionately dubbed, acts as our ambassador to the holiday season. Although most of us consider the food and football to be the most important parts of this tradition, Thanksgiving is about much more. Referencing its formal title, the third Thursday of November is a day of giving thanks. It represents a time of coming together, and appreciating our friends and family as well as our good fortune. As this day approaches, we can’t help but think about how these values can be applied in the workplace for an overall improved environment. Before you go off to enjoy your short work week and quality time you will spend with your loved ones, here are some tips to keep in mind in relation to this special day.
1.) Give Thanks: Probably the most obvious of values associated with the holiday, thanking employees for their contributions is vital to the cultural health of your organization. Showing appreciation is an easy way to continuously remind workers that they are valued assets to the company. These messages can come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be formal or informal. Whether or not you actually say “thank you” is less important than the fact that you take the time to acknowledge the work they have done. A simple compliment works just as well as a written thank-you card or email. Any positive communication that indicates you are aware of their progress keeps people motivated to continue putting forward their best efforts.
2.) Make it a Potluck: If you have ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner at your house, you know that it’s no simple feat. Sometimes, by the time you’ve done all the cooking, cleaning, and decorating, you are too tired to actually enjoy the meal with your guests. Fortunately, a commonly asked question that follows an invitation acceptance is, “what should I bring?” If everyone brings a different dish, the host’s responsibilities are infinitely more manageable. This theory can also be applied when tackling projects in the workplace. One thing we have found is that people love to feel useful, and utilizing their various talents makes our lives that much easier. Collaboration can be a very useful tool when attempting to solve complex problems. Having employees with different types of work experiences and unique skill sets is a guaranteed way to produce creative results when searching for solutions. Just as a guest may bring a dish to your dinner that you have never heard of, a co-worker may be able to offer a different perspective on an issue you feel has exhausted your personal resources. Even if you are working on a project individually, we encourage you to seek input from others a way to broaden your means for accomplishing your goals.
3.) Share the Harvest: As we learned in grade school, the Thanksgiving tradition comes from the sharing of the crops between settlers and natives during the colonial era. During this time, we not only give thanks for what we have, but do our best to share our bounty with others. Examples of this can be seen with charitable drives to collect canned goods and turkeys through various schools, churches, and corporate organizations. This sharing mentality is also very helpful within work environments. Similar to the potluck style of idea collaboration, it is equally important to share credit and success we encounter in various tasks. If we receive input from co-workers on a particular problem, we must acknowledge those who helped once the job is completed. Also, we fell it is the manager’s responsibility to celebrate the success of individual employees by incorporating the entire team. For example, when one member of a team comes through on a particular project, some small reward could be given to the entire group. This will help remind employees that their personal success is tied to their team, and when one person achieves a goal everyone benefits in the long run.
On Wednesday before we power off for the long weekend let’s take a step back and remember the real reason behind this holiday. And while you’re on the couch stuffed from the feast you have just devoured Thursday, take a minute to give thanks to those around you. A little bit goes a long way during the holiday season, keep these tips in mind while you’re at work.