At work, everyone is expected to, well, work.
However, you might have employees or coworkers whose efforts go above and beyond, day in and day out. That kind of reputation deserves recognition, and it’s up to you to pass it on.
The following are 11 ways to say thank you to coworkers beyond a few extra words tacked onto an e-mail. Whether it’s for a specific job well done or a history of working hard, your gratitude will give your colleagues the motivation to keep going — and, on tough days, that might just be enough to fuel them through.
1. Hand-Write a Note
You don’t have to buy an expensive piece of stationary or spend hours crafting prose. Instead, just grab a pen and write exactly how you feel. It’s rare that anyone gets handwritten mail these days, so your effort will show just how heartfelt your gratitude is. For a less time-sensitive ‘thank you,’ you can even pop it in the mail for an added element of surprise. Who doesn’t love snail mail?
If you really are pressed for time, you can go with an e-mail message, but make sure the heart and true gratitude is there so that your colleague knows it’s sincere.
2. Give Them the Gift of Learning
A coworker who’s working proficiently at their job probably doesn’t need tips on how to do better. No one is ever done learning, though, so get creative — gift your colleague with a subscription to a website that teaches new information and skills. Even if the site is free, the fact you shared it can mean a lot.
Additionally, what your coworker learns might open a new door to new opportunities, new passions or new careers. That’s a truly wonderful gift.
3. Shout It Out
To cultivate a grateful office culture, be sure to highlight your team members’ efforts at every possible moment. If there’s a weekly newsletter, use it to spotlight someone who really impressed you during that time. You can also call out valiant efforts at the next meeting so everyone’s aware of who’s on their game.
These informal, off-the-cuff remarks can seriously build morale and make your team feel valued. In fact, feedback of any kind is a great tool for managers, and it’s easy to give if you have the right methods.
4. Hit Social Media, Too
You don’t have to contain your praise to in-person communication. In fact, in today’s digital world, a social media shout-out can go a long way.
If your company is digitally based, be sure to tag or Tweet directly at its account and loop in your coworker. The company might retweet or re-post it so more people will see, like and appreciate the contribution, too.
5. Don’t Forget LinkedIn
While you’re particularly impressed with someone’s work ethic, it’s the perfect time to write a LinkedIn recommendation. That’ll stay with your coworker for the foreseeable future and can be a great resource when they go to apply for a bigger, better job down the line.
6. Have a Chat
Life is overwhelming every now and then. Sometimes, there’s nothing more valuable than someone who lends an ear to listen to a friend. In short, it’s a great way to show you care.
Grab two cups of coffee and let your coworker have the floor. Depending on how close you are, your conversation might vent frustrations at work or at home. Either way, a little vent session can make the person feel clear-headed and ready to tackle the day,
You might even be able to provide a bit of advice to make life a bit easier, which is a wonderful way to repay someone for their help.
7. Provide an Insider Trick or Tip
If you’ve been at your company or job longer, you probably have a few tricks of the trade. Don’t hesitate to share a few of them for the hard work your coworker consistently puts in.
Try and customize your tips to match their areas of potential improvement, such as time management or public speaking. There’s sure to be something you can divulge that’ll make work even better — for both of you.
8. Sweeten Their Day
You don’t have to bake an extravagant cake or batch of cookies to say ‘thank you’ to one of your coworkers — although you could if you want to.
Instead, pick up a little something to make their day better. Perhaps, for example, you know your colleague is a big fan of lattes. You could grab one for them on the way to the office and hand it over as very delicious and enjoyable sign of your gratitude.
9. Go for the Goal
Most working professionals have career goals in both the short- and long-term. Find out what your coworker most wants to achieve right now — or what’s holding them back from achieving that goal — and do what you can to make it happen.
You could do a bit of research, tap into your Rolodex of contacts or simply provide a new angle for going about a particularly tough project. Soon, the thanks will be returned to you — and the goal will be achieved.
10. Sing Their Praises
Sometimes, a ‘thank you’ might not seem like enough to express the value a person has added to a team or a project. If you really want the spotlight shone on someone, tell their direct supervisor.
Your words could have an incredible influence, especially for someone actively trying to climb the ladder of success. Constant hard work is one of the keys to obtaining a promotion without directly asking for one. Helping someone obtain a promotion is one heck of a ‘thank you.’
11. Return the Favor Sometime
Finally, it’s a definite that a coworker you value so much has done something to help you out at some time. They might’ve taken on a project when you were swamped, stepped in at a meeting to back up your points or fielded an important phone call when you were out of the office.
No matter how grandiose the help given to you — and how much you have the time or energy to return — make a point to return the favor. You don’t have to do it right away. In fact, it’s probably best to wait for the right moment — when your coworker is stretched as thin as you were when you got the help you needed.
And, on that note, always be on the lookout for coworkers who need your hand, whether or not they’ve stood out to you for doing the same. Building a culture like that at your office will only make everyone better, happier and more willing to go the extra mile because everyone has each other’s back.