With the festive season fast approaching, it’s the time of year where we start to spend time looking forward to the New Year and reflecting on the year that’s been. Most of us in marketing and strategic planning will also be mindful of wanting to thank customers and reward their loyalty.

It is also the season to demonstrate gratitude to our employees, our work force. Your work force is the strength of your business! Without your team, your business would amount to just an idea or a concept. Without the additional hours, the evenings, the weekends they put in, you probably wouldn’t even have passed the finish line on those big projects.

Gratitude goes a long way. In our experience, when holding exit interviews, over 45% of employees leave because they do not feel appreciated or recognised. The remainder will leave for lack of career prospects or poor management.

In terms of being grateful to your workforce, consider these 5 things:

F is for Forward Thinking

Plan your recognition programme ahead of time. Understand the talent in your organisation and plan recognition for individuals along the way. Show them their value in every step of their career with you.

O is for Observe

Make sure that employees know that they’re being noticed. That their effort, intent and hard work is being seen and recognised.

R is for Respect

Respect each individual situation.

C is for Collaborate

In a world where collaboration is mainly played out on social media, collaborating in person can get forgotten. Make sure you collaborate and connect in a human way in everything that you do internally within your business.

E is for Empower

Now this is one of my personal favourites. Empowerment can be a risky thing in business. Showing gratitude, saying thank you or I loved what you delivered, may seem somewhat risky. However, in an environment where criticism, constructive or not, continuous improvement, failure are expressions that we use freely in business, it is time to think differently about how we empower people in a positive way.

So, as I sit here writing my Christmas cards to my customers, I am also thinking about how I treat my employees and how it is a time to give thanks and recognition and rewards to those that have made the year happen.