With Thanksgiving coming up, we've all got gratitude on the brain. Another trip around the sun has almost come and gone, and with it has likely come everyone's fair share of highs and lows. Through it all, we've all received some sort of help, and perhaps none greater than that of our employees.

While it's timely right now, the truth is that we should always be focusing on gratitude, and reminding ourselves of the lengths our employees have gone to in order to help our companies and our workplaces thrive. So here are five ways you can show your employees that you're thankful for them--and not just in November. Because when we express gratitude for the people who work for us, we foster a healthier, happier, and ultimately more productive workplace.

Get to know them.

As leaders, it can be easy to get caught up in our own schedules, especially at the end of the year. But it's so important not to forget that the people who work for us have their own schedules, their own lives, and their own end-of-year craziness.

A good way to remind yourself of this is by getting to know them. Passing someone in the hallway? Make it a point to say hi to them and ask how their day is going. Sharing the elevator with someone at lunch time? See if they want to grab a bite. Expressing an interest in your employees' lives shows them that you see them as three-dimensional human beings, and not just a number on the payroll.

Speak to them respectfully.

This one should go without saying, but unfortunately, it's often forgotten. It's not entirely our fault; workplaces have come a long way in terms of what's appropriate and what's not, but they've also become more casual, which means that linguistic boundaries can sometimes be crossed accidentally.

I'm not talking about babying--we're all adults here. But be mindful of your tone. Choose your words carefully. And while many offices are somewhat cavalier about profanity, remember that not everyone is comfortable with it. A good rule of thumb I always try to follow is, "Would I want my parents to hear me speak to someone this way?" Taking the time to communicate respectfully is a great way to express gratitude.

Reward them.

Older generations like to point out that millennials need to be "rewarded" for everything. Call me crazy, but I think we just have a better idea of when we deserve rewards. 

Two months ago, myself and the Kiip staff went on a company retreat to the Hamptons. It was a great way to wrap up Q3 and re-energize us as we headed into Q4. If a retreat is out of your budget, try smaller things like a company lunch, a happy hour, or something fun for the office. Gestures like these can go a long way in boosting morale.

Be honest with them.

As any experienced business person knows, there are always going to be highs and lows. If your company is experiencing a low, it's important to be open about it with your employees.

You don't need to give the gory details. But if you think you might have to lay people off, or your company underperformed, be straight up about it. Your employees deserve transparency.

Put their needs first (and empower them to do the same).

We live in a weird time where people love to glorify being overworked. This manifests in things like people bragging about how late they work, not taking sick days, and over-caffeinating themselves.

Work is important, sure, but most of the time, it's not life or death. Your employees should never feel like you value the company more than you value your own well-being, or theirs. This is where it's most important to lead by example.

Don't come into the office if you're sick (and don't spend your sick day on Slack, either). Use your vacation days. Take your full lunch break. Show your employees that you are entitled to self-care, and therefore, so are they.

Published on: Nov 21, 2018