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A Lesson in Thanks: Appreciation and Giving
Thanksgiving is a tradition that originally started in 1621 when the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn feast with the Plymouth colonists to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Almost 400 years later, we celebrate by wearing our “Thanksgiving pants” to feast on turkey, potatoes, and cranberry sauce with our closest family and dearest friends. But at its core, Thanksgiving is still a time to gather and reflect upon what we are grateful for in our lives.
The spirit of Thanksgiving can also be channeled into different aspects of the workplace, but many companies may not know how to accomplish this. So let’s talk turkey with two lessons in thanks your company can adopt this holiday:
Lesson #1: Appreciation
Employee appreciation is important all year round, but during this season of thanks is when employers really need to recognize all that their employees do for them. According to this article by Gallup, only 33% of American employees are engaged at work. The key to having a more engaged workforce? Appreciate and recognize their work.
Companies who have employee appreciation programs have happier, more productive employees overall; in fact, happier employees are 20% more productive than those who are lukewarm about their jobs. And it doesn’t take a large budget to show gratitude for employees; as Christian Valiulis, Chief Revenue Officer at APS says, “Something as simple as posting ‘Great job on your first week!’ on your internal company newsfeed can encourage others to support their colleagues.”
How APS is Showing Appreciation
APS shows employee appreciation through a variety of ways. Through our employee advocacy program, we are able to connect with our employees through various social media challenges throughout the year, winning prizes such as gift cards and catered lunches for their department. We spotlight employees on our social media who have something special to say about their work or who someone who has shown exceptional effort in their role with the company. We also include in our monthly newsletter pictures of new hires with some of their background and hobbies - that way, everyone is aware of new people in the office so they can be welcomed.
Lesson #2: Giving
How is your organization currently exhibiting social responsibility? People and organizations alike tend to have more generous hearts around the holiday season; after all, half of all donations made to nonprofits and charities are made between September to December. According to Nonprofit Source, 82% of employees want the opportunity to volunteer with their coworkers in a company-supported philanthropic event.
There are several ways companies can give back, either by offering paid time off to employees for volunteering or offering a company match for every dollar donated by workers. Even if your organization is smaller, there are several ways you can give back to your community without spending a ton of money. Providing free professional services to people in need, hosting a canned food drive for the local food bank, and donating unused coats to homeless shelters are just a few ways that companies can give to charities.
How APS is Giving Back
One way we encourage our employees to stay active in our community is by having them display flyers for charities they are passionate about in the company break rooms. This allows them to easily promote local philanthropies and their events so we can all stay active in bettering our community here in Shreveport-Bossier.
For the Thanksgiving holidays, APS is giving back to the community by teaming up with our local Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission to serve meals to residents in the Life Recovery Program and those in our local community suffering from hunger. One person can provide a Thanksgiving meal to someone in need for just $1.99.
If you would like to donate to the SB Rescue Mission, please visit their website at www.sbresucuemission.com/get-involved/.
All The Trimmings
It’s important to count your blessings not just around the holidays. Implement an employee recognition program to engage with your employees, stay involved in your community by giving back to it. But most of all, remember to appreciate and give throughout the year and not just when the season calls for it. Embrace the Thanksgiving attitude as part of your company culture, and you’ll soon see how it impacts your workforce.
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