Over the years, employee recognition has gone through many changes. The first generation of employee recognition was based on gold watches, which were given out to employees for exceptional work and dedication. The second generation was based on thank-you cards, given out after a job well done. This evolved into the third generation: Gratitude.

Gratitude is a way to express appreciation for all that your employees do for you. It is an extremely simple concept: Valuing your employees’ contributions to the company by showing appreciation. There are many ways employers can show gratitude towards their employees, including:
1. Make time for regular check-ins with employees.
2. Ask employees for feedback.
3. Give employees opportunities to improve their skillsets or roles within the company.
4. Let employees know when they have done something particularly well (and why).
5. Show employees how their work impacts others’ lives outside of work (or even inside of work).
6. Take an interest in employees’ lives outside of work.
7. Keep employees informed about what is going on with the company.
8. Have lunch with employees regularly.
9. Offer employees financial bonuses after a successful project.
10. Recognize employees’ hard work with occasional gifts such as flowers, candy, gift cards, or company swag (and not just on holidays).

Gratitude may be a new tactic for employee retention, but its basis is as old as time. Praising and appreciating another human being is one of the highest forms of flattery, often resulting in the employee wanting to stay and contribute. It all begins with sincerely recognizing efforts in a way that makes people feel special, making gratitude an effective and powerful employee recognition method.