12 Ways to Say Thank You and Show Appreciation Over the Next 12 Months
There are certain moments when saying “thank you” may seem appropriate, simply because it’s under the umbrella of a national holiday or an occasion that calls for it. Thanking someone, however, whether it’s your employees or a colleague, parent, friend, or supervisor, shouldn’t only occur as a formality. In fact, thanking those who make a difference in your daily life or in your career, character, choices, or values is often more meaningful when it’s an unexpected and genuine act of appreciation.
As you’re thinking about clearing out the old and bringing in the new this next year, consider adding these 12 ways to say “thank you” at work over the next 12 months. Even one extra “thank you” this year, though it may seem small to you, could make a big difference to someone else and go a long way in strengthening your work relationships.
1. Thank someone who helped you along the way.
As William Butler Yeats once said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Even though school may seem like eons ago, it’s likely one of your most formative past experiences. Your teachers, tutors, or biggest encouragers during the years when recess and choir were still top of mind, helped shape you, expose you to new ideas, and inspire you to be the person you are today.
Think of the one educator during that time who made the biggest impact, and write them a heartfelt letter or email. This is a great way to say “thank you” to an educator and show them they’ve made a big difference in your life’s path.
2. Say “thank you” through a gift.
Giving a gift to someone can make them feel special and appreciated—and it doesn’t have to break the bank. A thoughtful gesture like arriving at work with your co-workers’ favorite coffee and tea drinks, leaving someone a note with a $5 gift card for their favorite breakfast spot, baking them your famous banana bread, or bringing an overworked and frazzled team member new office Post-Its isn’t just about the gift itself—it’s about the thought behind it. Showing that you’re paying attention and being responsive to someone else’s moods and likes can really turn their workday around.
3. Praise someone publicly.
This sort of thank you isn’t for everyone; in fact, some people (read: introverts) shy away from being called out in public situations, even if it’s for a positive reason. Still, most of us enjoy getting recognition in some shape or form—and 70 percent of employees say they receive no praise or recognition at work. For a colleague who you know won’t mind being singled out, make it a point to praise something they’ve done. This can take place in a meeting, at a group lunch, or in any other public-facing workplace forum. While getting recognition from a boss or colleague privately is great, for many people, it’s even more meaningful to get that recognition in front of their respected peers..
4. Fix a missed connection.
Is there someone at work you used to consider a work buddy, but haven’t connected with in a while? Maybe you had a falling out, or perhaps company restructuring pulled you onto different teams, or maybe you’ve never really clicked at all and the tension has been eating at you. This is a great opportunity to reach across the aisle, or cubicle, and make an extra effort to reconnect or extend an olive branch.
Reach out in an email, or leave a coffee and a note at their desk and tell them you’d like to find a new way to work together. Suggest that the two of you collaborate on a project, or ask if you can pick their brain (and offer yours in return) about one that you’re working on. Showing someone you value their ideas and opinions and respect them as a person, even if office space or cold shoulders have kept you apart, can do a lot toward mending fences.
5. Get out of your comfort zone.
Consider the work styles of those you’re in the office with on a daily basis. What are some of your routines and habits that may be rubbing others the wrong way? Are you known for bringing egg salad and eating it at your desk? Slow to respond to email? More of a talker than a listener in meetings?
Make an extra effort to pack some boring turkey sandwiches for a while, respond to emails immediately or in planned chunks of time throughout the day, and acknowledge others’ ideas and opinions in meetings before vocalizing yours. While your efforts to be more courteous may not be as noticeable as wearing a sign on your back that says “See? No more egg salad lunches at my desk!”, they’ll pay off over time as your tired old habits won’t be happening, and your colleagues will notice and appreciate the effort.
6. Make someone else’s life easier.
It’s very easy to get caught up in our own day-to-day deadlines and challenges without thinking of the plight of those around us. The more we do think of others, however, the easier it becomes—and the more rewarding it feels both for them and for us.
Make it a point to go out of your way for someone else: pick up the slack on a project, chime in to answer a question when you know the recipient is feeling overloaded, or simply ask them what you can help with or take off their plate. Even if they decline the offer, the fact that you thought of them will be appreciated and make them feel seen and heard.
7. Send thank-you notes out of the blue.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sending thank-you notes to those in your life at the holidays (and we highly encourage it), but how about sending notes at random to recognize others for their kindnesses or general awesomeness?
Write a note to say thank you to the person who goes out of their way to smile and say good morning to you every day; to the barista who always remembers your complex drink order; or to the co-worker who defended your idea in a meeting when no one else did. These out-of-the-blue expressions of thanks can mean a lot to someone, especially if they don’t realize that anyone else notices.
8. Spend quality time.
Everyone’s “language of appreciation” is different. For some people, quality time with others is the most meaningful. Schedule lunch out (your treat) or propose the idea of a weekly morning walk to a favorite coffee spot to catch up outside of the office walls. This will give you both something to look forward to, and studies have shown that for both women and men, having a best friend at work improves work performance.
9. Practice kindness.
Kindness doesn’t have to involve a grand gesture; in fact, it’s often made up of moment-to-moment decisions to do something for someone else, versus not doing anything. Kindness may mean choosing to hold the door open for the person behind you, rather than rushing along on your morning journey and letting it slam behind you. By consciously practicing doing kind things and taking that extra step for someone else, it will become second nature. Through this, you’ll become more aware of others’ needs, which often will also put your own into perspective.
10. Ask someone for their advice.
Singling someone out and asking for their opinion can make them feel respected and valued, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be your boss or supervisor. People love to know that their efforts are valued by others and often enjoy getting the chance to talk about things they’re passionate about. This also is an opportunity for the two of you to strengthen your bond and trade knowledge, as you may have something to teach them, too. Be respectful of their time and workload to ensure that this is a positive interaction rather than an imposition.
11. Thank the unseen warriors at your company.
It takes a village to keep organizations running smoothly. Go out of your way to thank those people who make your workday comfortable and clean, but who usually remain behind the scenes and don’t often get accolades for their work. These people might be cleaning or food staff, baristas, building maintenance workers, or the technical support team. Leave the cleaning staff a note on your desk thanking them, or bake your favorite cookies and deliver them in person to the maintenance crew. Let them know you appreciate the work they do to make your life better, and that it doesn’t go unnoticed.
12. Say thank you in person.
Emails are just fine sometimes, and handwritten notes are lovely—but sometimes, getting face to face with someone to say those two all-important words, thank you, can make all the difference in strengthening a business partnership, mending fences with a broken one, or sparking up a new work friendship. Practicing these 12 different ways of saying “thank you” at work will improve your workplace relationships, boost morale, and help make it a nicer place to be this year.
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the ninth consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is named the 15th Largest IT Staffing Firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 28 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit https://www.sigconsult.com. Signature Consultants is the parent company to Hunter Hollis and Madison Gunn.