When a good deed turns into a real turkey

Recently, in one of my training classes, a participant told me that her colleagues were mad at their employer because it gave out turkeys for Thanksgiving to all its employees. Everyone started complaining about how some of the turkeys were bigger than others. Here, the company’s management was trying to do a good deed, and all that they got in return was grief.

While it can be easy for us to judge this situation and simply think of these employees as ungrateful, we should really try to understand the two-turkeys-pluckedmechanics of how a good deed can turn into a real turkey of a situation. When employees are not accustomed to being rewarded or recognized, they may not know how to appropriately react when they are. They may even misinterpret a genuine and sincere deed because appreciation is not something that they are accustomed to receiving, and thus, a good deed is received with mistrust and apprehension. And when employees are recognized during holidays only, they may then come to develop a mentality of “Well, they have to be nice to us. It’s the holidays.”

The best way to express your Thank Yous, and to ensure your deeds of appreciation are well received, focus on the basics of giving thanks:

• Be genuine. Reward employee behavior that aligns with your company’s values. But first, make sure everyone knows what those values are.
• Be sincere. Reward employees because they deserve it, not because it makes you look good.
Be timely. Immediately reward an employee who deserves to be recognized.
• Be consistent. Show your appreciation throughout the year, not just during the holidays.
• Be nice – duh! Always treat your employees with respect.

And finally, don’t just say your Thank You’s — put them in writing. There’s nothing like receiving a written heartfelt THANK YOU! to make someone feel truly valued and important. Give it a try and let me know how these employee Thank You strategies work for you.

How do YOU say Thank you? I look forward to reading your comments below.

Happy Giving Thanks Day!

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