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This time of year we are always reminded that we should give thanks to those around us and to be grateful for what we have. Very often, in keeping with the spirit of the season we might even give a gift of some kind to show that appreciation. Snow falls and holiday music fills our offices and it’s hard not to get into a good mood. This festive time of year makes me ponder the question, “How can I keep this gratitude going all year round?”

In the rush of the spring landscape season it sometimes can be hard to stop and remember to thank our employees. Affectionately called the ‘100 Days of Hell,’ the lead up to the fourth of July can often be a pressure cooker of long hours, stress, and ……… It’s for that very reason that I take the time during my off-season to proactively plan out all the ways my managers and I can make our employees feel appreciated.  Honestly, this is something I feel I could always use improvement on.

Here are just a few ways that you can build gratitude into your daily schedule so that it becomes an every day habit.

  1. When surveyed employees were asked the question “Besides money, what motivates you?”  Most employees answered that they wanted recognition and a kind word of gratitude from their supervisor. It makes sense that employees would want to feel valued. I know that we work some pretty monster hours together here during our high seasons, often spending more time with our coworkers than our own families. The easiest way to give them this recognition is to just say, “Thank you.” Two little words can go a long way but often are forgotten in the hustle and bustle of our workday. Retrain your managers to thank their direct reports; Challenge them to genuinely say thank you and give positive feedback when tasks are accomplished for a week straight. Then schedule a follow-up to ask them how it worked for them. A good habit will be born and with your support a culture of value will grow.
  2. Foster a positive work environment. This one can sometimes be hard since it is very easy to fall prey to negative ideas and complaints. Believe me; we’ve seen firsthand how one employee can affect the attitudes of many around them. While it is very difficult to change, it is a worthwhile endeavor and should be undertaken. We are grateful for our loyal and dedicated employees who come to work every day to do their very best work. The very least we can do is foster a work place where their peers are courteous and supportive of others. Negative attitudes can ruin camaraderie and hamper good work ethics. Perhaps the most difficult part of this one is that it starts with upper management and must be reinforced constantly. If someone is being negative or complaining it must be the standard that whether they are a crew member or the president of the company they will say, “That’s not how we accomplish things here. Let’s think about a better way to get things done.” Supporting your staff is one of the best ways to show you are grateful for their hard work.
  3. Embrace your company’s strengths and be generous where you can. As a small business owner it is often hard to offer benefits and perks the likes of big business. Where our company excels is in our ability to really know our employees. After lots of surveys and conversations, we focus on what is important to our employees: spending time with their families. One of the ways we do this is by giving our managers a paid week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day for what we call, Company Shutdown Week. Most kids have off this week and very often families travel for the holidays. Giving our managers off during this week gives them an opportunity to breathe easy and enjoy themselves. Of course, the very nature of our business often demands that we are on call during this week in case of snow but barring any events the week is theirs to enjoy.

These are only a few small ways we show we are grateful here. What do you do at your company? We’d love to hear from you!

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