Recognize employees

The other day, I had lunch with a high-profile business leader who told me about a time when she decided to recognize employees.

After starting in her new role, that she did something selfless. Although she had only been in her role for a few days, Veteran’s Day was approaching. She told her staff that she wanted to recognize employees who were veterans with one simple email message. She curated the message herself, and personally sent it our to all veterans in the agency. One after the other, email responses began pouring in with words of thanks to her. No other leader had ever thought to send out or recognize employees in this way. They were touched.

This leader recounted for me how she felt, especially after finding out that she was the first leader in this agency to send a personal note of appreciation for the service these employees gave to our country. She knew it was the right thing to do, but she didn’t put much thought into the impact it might have.

Her story made me think of all the selfless leaders who recognize employees, because it’s just the right thing to do and it feels good. As we are right in the middle of one the biggest holiday season, I thought you might appreciate a few thoughtful ways that you can recognize employees and make them feel a part of something great during this time of year:

Don’t forget those without families.

What many of us often do during the holidays is gather with family and close friends, and we forget that there are many whom become depressed during holidays. Oftentimes, your own employees have nowhere to go and are alone. Why not invite them to your home? Why not, arrange some sort of group that brings these employees together for the holidays so that they are not alone? They will be grateful to you for being the catalyst to create connections for them in this season of togetherness.

December birthdays matter too.

My son’s birthday is December 26th. I made it my business as he was growing up to have a separate day that celebrates his birth distinct from holiday celebrations. Wouldn’t it be great if your organization had a big “December-birthdays” celebration to recognize those employees who birthdays are often overshadowed by the season? It will go a long way to make them feel special and valued while also adding more fun to an already jolly month!

Allow them to celebrate.

I have heard of organizations who really limit holiday celebrations, because doing so might offend someone. I say, the more the merrier! Let them all celebrate one another. Kwanza, Hanukah, Christmas, Ramadan and anything else they want to celebrate. We all get a dopamine boost when we give and receive recognition. Employees who feel recognized for their efforts and a part of something meaningful and connected are much more likely to stay with your organization longer. Wouldn’t it be better to have happier employees all around?

Let’s all follow the example of the high-profile leader I mentioned in the opening paragraph. Let’s recognize employees just because. We will all reap great dividends by doing so and we will feel good while doing it.