thank youIs Thanksgiving one of your favorite holidays? It’s definitely one of ours. It doesn’t involve fretting over the right gift or fancy decorations nor does it involve naughty or nice lists or fighting with the traffic at the local mall.

Thanksgiving is really a coming together of family and friends, whether in person around the dinner table or in spirit across the miles. It’s a time to literally break bread with one another and take a moment – a whole day, even – to give thanks for all we have and to express thanks to those special people in our lives.

I’m sure you feel the same way we do that the people we work with day in and day out are also part of our extended family. In healthcare, especially, these are the folks who are by your side at three in the morning tending to the latest medical crisis. They are the ones that help you make it through that twelve hour (or longer) shift. They are there to share the blood, sweat, and tears of a profession that does its very best to wear you down each and every day. And most importantly, they are the ones that don’t always get to spend the holiday at home with their families because there are always patients to care for.

So how can you show your appreciation to the men and women on your team who really go the extra mile for your hospital or organization?

5 Easy Ways To Say Thank You

We asked our team to share some of their thoughts on gratitude. Here are their TOP 5 suggestions. Most don’t take any extra time at all, and the best part is none of these is relegated to the holidays ~ these are all moments of kindness and gratitude that we can incorporate in interactions with employees all year long.

Start Simple

The German philosopher and theologian Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say is THANK YOU, that will be enough.” What an impact these two little words have! But don’t let it become just a routine ending to a conversation or a request. It has to become a habit that you cultivate with time. Not sure how to start? The next time you want to show appreciation to an employee or team member, stop. Look them in the eye. Smile. And say thank you.

That’s it. If you’re sincere and thoughtful in the way you say it, your employees will absolutely feel it.

Think of Those Holding Down The Fort

Consider sending a thank you note or gift addressed to the significant other and/or kids of the employee. Those at home often have to make sacrifices by having mom work late or dad bring home a project to work on over the weekend.

Get Personal

Are you a team leader or a manager? Why not get out of your office and stop by to visit your team members in person. A friendly email is great, but nothing beats the human touch. While you’re there, tell them one thing you really appreciate about them. Maybe it’s their friendly attitude or the caring way they work with patients’ families. Or maybe there’s someone on your team who is always willing to work the shifts that no one wants. Whatever is, figure it out and then go tell them!

Be Thoughtful

If you make a production out of showing gratitude, it might come across as being insincere. On the other hand, if an employee just completed a large project or handled a very big situation successfully, a $5 gift card may seem like a downer. They may even be insulted that this is how little you thought of their hard work! If you’re giving any sort of gift or reward, make sure it fits the situation.

Personalize It!

One of the things our team does is to have every new employee fill out a fun inventory sheet with some of their favorite things such as: candy, coffee, soda, movies, television shows, music, etc. This helps us get to know our employees better, but it also serves another purpose: it helps you personalize your expression of gratitude.

For example, if we want to recognize an employee for working a few hours extra over the weekend, a Starbucks gift card may be the first thing we think of. But a quick check on their employee inventory sheet tells us this employee doesn’t even like coffee! In fact, they prefer diet soda instead. So maybe a gift card to a convenience store or a fast food restaurant makes more sense. If your receptionist loves Twizzlers, why not bring them a pack of Twizzlers with a little post-it note that says, “Thanks for being awesome!”

And remember, sincerity is the key to any form of gratitude.

As we prepare to celebrate the season of giving, we want to thank each of you for reading this blog, for sharing your thoughts, and for being partners with us in healthcare. From our family to yours, a very Happy Thanksgiving!