Whether you’re a leader or an employee, gratitude in the workplace matters. Even something as simple as a “thank you” or “I appreciate you” goes a longer way than you might imagine.

Think of the last time someone went out of their way to show appreciation to you. Think about how it felt. (My guess is, pretty good.)

Sometimes I’m guilty of feeling grateful but, due to busyness or some other distraction, stopping short of actually expressing it. In 2020, I am focusing on expressing gratitude out loud. Here are five ways I’m planning to make it happen:

Voice a Verbal Thank You.

Thank you. The average child starts using this phrase at as young an age as 18 months old. Often hand-in-hand with “please”, the expression of gratitude is extended to all of the people helping to feed, nurture, and teach the child. So, we are all quite familiar with the expression of gratitude, as it’s a huge part of a formative vocabulary as humans. In the workplace, things move fast and sometimes, unfortunately, the requisite “thank you” gets left in the dust. Make it a point to verbally say thank you for a job well-done, a last-minute task, or for general reliability in an employee. Keep a running list of the things you feel grateful for. If a certain employee’s help or expertise is on that list, say thank you.

Purchase Their Favorite Treat.

A great way to show gratitude is through sustenance. That’s right, I’m talking about coffee, bagels, doughnuts, or other delicious unexpected treats. If your team is pulling through a particularly challenging or busy time (ahem, the holiday season!) surprise them with an afternoon pick-me-up in the way of caffeine, cookies, or another favorite treat. Better yet, take five minutes for everyone to enjoy a moment of relaxation while enjoying said treats. This is a great way to put some pep in everyone’s step—and to show your appreciation through a kind gesture. Plus, everyone loves a free doughnut, right?

Create a LinkedIn Endorsement.

Nerd out with me for a second here. As employees or coworkers, we typically only get the opportunity to express our professional appreciation when a coworker leaves the office and asks for a recommendation. A LinkedIn endorsement is a great way to give a public-facing thank you to your coworker or employee. Write about how their attention to detail is unparalleled, how they are a true team player, or simply how their presence in the office is a pleasure every day. By writing a LinkedIn endorsement, you’re showing deep thought into what your coworker brings to the team, how they impact your work positively, and how much you enjoy working with them.

Write a Handwritten Note.

Handwritten notes are typically saved for birthdays, weddings, and—is there even a third reason? What I am saying is that they are quickly becoming a long-lost form of appreciation. Write an old-fashioned thank you note—with actual pen and paper—to express your gratitude. In fact, get into the habit of writing handwritten notes. They go a long way—and everybody enjoys getting a little something pretty on stationery.

Share Something With the Team.

We all want a little bit of attention sometimes. To bring it back to childhood again, remember when your parents would put a particularly good test or paper on the family fridge? It was the ultimate accomplishment, to see your hard work on the stage for anyone looking to grab a glass of orange juice or string cheese. Take note of certain team member’s accomplishments. If a particular employee surpassed a lofty goal, share it with the team. If your company received a particularly nice review, print it out and post it where everyone can see it. At Career Contessa, we have a dedicated Slack Channel called “testimonials.” This is where we get to share any good news, lovely reviews, and positive messages. It sounds small, but it’s a huge morale booster for everyone.

In short, gratitude is good, easy, and it pays off in spaces. Foster a culture of gratitude in your workplace, your home life, and in all of your friendships. I believe saying thank you is contagious—and it’s a contagion I’m happy to spread this holiday season.

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