Because Thanksgiving is such a family-oriented occasion, it's easy to understand why business leaders might not think to remember employees with their expressions of gratitude. But since employee retention is vital to maintaining a healthy business, it's important to thank your workforce as often as you can. This Thanksgiving makes a great time to start.
The Power of Appreciation
It's human nature. When someone thanks us for our efforts, we respond positively and are more likely to continue making the same level of effort, if not increase it. This is true whether we're thanked for simple acts, like holding a door for a stranger, or for more involved acts, like meeting a challenging deadline.
HR experts all agree: Thanking your employees helps keep them happy, which in turn helps keep them on your payroll. Whether you express your gratitude in the simplest, most literal way possible — by just saying "Thank you" — or by sweetening the deal with bonuses, gift cards or other perks, it's important not to neglect this important human connection.
Rebecca Wrage, an HR director at Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte, Nebraska, told HR Magazine that she includes her employees' families in her thank-you notes. By doing so, she said, "the workers know that, while at times they may be needed for longer hours, their efforts haven't gone unnoticed or unappreciated."
Employee Retention = Client Retention
An important way to maintain the success of your business is to retain your existing clients. High employee turnover can put that objective at risk.
For example, imagine a long-time client becoming frustrated by the lack of continuity at your company. When reaching out regarding service issues, they often end up speaking with a new employee who isn't well-versed on their business.
You tolerate the learning curve that comes with onboarding and training a new employee because you have no choice. But a client does have a choice. And if continually navigating new hires proves to be too much aggravation, that client might choose to take their business elsewhere.
Beyond that, employee turnover is costly. While the figures vary across industries, estimates on the cost of hiring a new employee in 2019 range from $4,000 to $7,645.
Giving Thanks Beyond Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a great time to start showing your employees greater appreciation. But that's all it is: a start. Be sure to carry that spirit forward into 2020 and beyond.
"Employee appreciation should be a daily event and not saved for a 'special day,' " Cynthia R.H. King, director of human resources at the Institute for Health and Recovery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in that HR Magazine article referenced earlier. "That alone will bring satisfaction to employees."
And Don't Forget to Thank Your Clients
While you're thinking about thanking your employees, don't forget to thank your clients as well. Thanking them on a regular basis is an important part of client delight, and client retention.