Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tip #284: 8 Ways to Show Employees Gratitude

Recognized employees are happy employees.

To some level, I think we can all agree this is a true statement. But why is it important? Studies show happy employees are, on average, 12% more productive than their less-happy counterparts. And now that Christmas is just over a month away, we could all use tips on how to be more productive, right?

Following an education session on attracting and retaining talent at RCI’s 2018 Annual Convention (RCI members: click here to watch the recap video), RCI members shared the countless ways they show employee appreciation (plus, many more) during our live question and answer forum, we call “Kettle Talk.” Here’s 8 of our favorite member ideas to show employee gratitude.

Simple recognition

This tip may be so obvious you could be overlooking it. Recognition in the form of a simple thank-you note or shout out in the company newsletter or on the white board in the breakroom can speak volumes. You may even be surprised at how many people hold on to kind notes from a boss or co-worker, to later reference when they need a pick-me-up.


“40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year,” (go2HR). There are countless studies, like this, illustrating the value of employee training and development opportunities.

Staff from Winans Fine Chocolates + Coffees
regularly attends RCI's Annual Convention & Industry Expo
“We do a lot of training, because if [employees] feel overwhelmed, they won’t want to stick around,” said Mike Koch of Morley Candy Makers/Sanders Candy acknowledging the very low unemployment rate in their community. “When [we] hire someone, we do our best to keep them.”

Winans Fine Chocolates + Coffees acknowledges the importance of employee development through continued education and networking opportunities within the industry, and invites staff members to attend RCI conferences. Even if you can’t send your team to an RCI event, look into other industry education courses or professional networking organizations near you. Click here to see a list of RCI’s industry affiliates, many of which also host conferences and education courses for your consideration.


Carving out time to celebrate holidays, birthdays, work anniversaries or merely the fact that it’s Friday can boost morale before a busy holiday season, improve employee retention and help build an overall stronger company culture where the team feels appreciated.

Dolle’s Candyland saves up prizes throughout the year (many of which are free promotional items that they receive) to raffle off at their annual employee celebration. Everyone walks away with a prize—from kiddie pools to mugs and silly promotional products. Even with very little money invested in the prizes they make it fun for all involved.

While the aftermath of a typical company party may include streamers and used plastic cups, a company party for Dallas Caramel Company more closely resembles a Jackson Pollock painting. Outfitted in white t-shirts and equipped with throwable paintballs, staff members playfully battled it out in the company parking lot and took home a colorful reminder of the fun that ensued. Although this type of activity may not be the best fit for all teams, consider other unconventional ways to create memorable experiences for your team to enjoy.

Of course, you don’t have to go all out to celebrate your employees. Small acts of kindness, especially when unexpected, can go a long way and, in many cases, feel more thoughtful and personal. For example, Rosalind Candy Castle buys a couple dozen roses for Mother’s Day and gives mothers on staff a single rose.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, consider ways to show your gratitude. Whether it comes in the form of a simple “thank you” note, more training and development opportunities or a fun celebration, taking the time to show employees you appreciate them is always worth the investment.

RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices. Review past blog posts for quick and actionable tips to apply to your business. Look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox.

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