How to Thank Your Team in 8 Great Ways

How to thank your team? Learn 8 amazing ways, both with and without money

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Do you want to know how to thank your team? You are in the right place, and you are doing something good. In fact, appreciation is a key component to build trust relationships in teams, achieve better collaboration and wellness of the staff. Thanking your team may not be easy all the time, and not all methods work well in all situations. Still, this post will provide you great insight on how to thank your team. Thanks for choosing to read it.

How to Thank Your Team Without Money

Why is This Important?

Not all companies set aside a budget to celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and teams. In fact, even if this is changing, most companies do not. This does not mean you should restrain yourself from appreciating your team’s effort.

There are plenty of ways to appreciate people without having to spend money. We’ll be starting with those in this article on “how to thank your team” since they are the one you will use the most. Simply put, you should use these “free” ways of thanking when:

  • You just don’t have the money for other ways
  • There is a small accomplishment which deserves a small recognition
  • You thank your team early and often (recommended practice)

Now, let’s see some ways of how to thank your team when you don’t have the budget for it.

Thank You Email

This is the classic, the most basic form of thanking. Just sending a “thank you” email to an employee can go a long way and boost morale. In fact, managers often assume people feel valued in their work, while in reality most do not. A thank you note is like a reminder “hey, what you are doing here matters”.

Of course, the secret here is to be sincere. If you really, truly feel you want to thank your team, then the email will come off as genuine and sincere – that’s because it is. If you have to craft it like a marketing promotion, then probably it’s better to avoid it altogether.

In general, send thank you emails as early as possible, right after the fact – maybe when the heat of the moment has cooled a little. Sending them at the end of the day, or at the end of the week at most, is the best approach.

Thank You Handwritten Note

How to thank your team? One amazing option is a handwritten note. This is li like the thank you email, but taken to the next level. In the modern world writing an email is fast and easy, and writing a note has gained more weight.

It means you took the time to find a piece of paper and write on to it, you are vulnerable enough to show your handwriting. It shows you wanted to make things personal, and you signal that your thank you is not replaceable – anyone can write an email, but just you can write with your own handwriting.

The same rules of the thank you email apply. Just try not to use this too often, as it would dilute the meaning. I suggest doing it every couple of months or so, to celebrate the greatest accomplishments. Or, even better, use it only on particular occasions.

A Speech

If writing is not your thing but you are still looking how to thank your team, then a speech may be the best way to go. Take your team, group them in a room and just spend a minute or two telling them why they are great.

How to thank your team with a speech: spend a few minutes to express gratitude and be genuine
Thank your team with a genuine speech to express gratitude.

Like with the email, be specific. Mention specific accomplishments, name names and don’t be shy of showing your emotion. This approach on how to thank your team is the best when the team is going through a hard time, and it has to deal with lot of pressure.

Give Visibility

This way to thank your team actually applies to individual team members. And, it may not work for everyone. It will work with people who want to be visible in the organization, climb the corporate ladder and are generally not shy.

If you, as a manager, go in a meeting with important stakeholders to discuss a project, you may want to carry with you the star teammate that delivered key parts of the project. Of course, bringing this other person on means truly bringing them on. Not just having them sit in the background and listen, but soliciting their feedback.

Not only this makes the person feel recognized, it can bring a new important angle or point of view and ultimately result in the project being delivered even better.

How to Thank Your Team (with Money)

Why is This Important?

You know the old saying of poker players: put your money where your mouth is. If something matters to you, you are ready to spend money for that. So, if the team matters to you, be ready to spend some money for it.

Believe it or not, it shows. People know when you are spending money, and they feel you are valuing them. Now, this is not directly proportional to the amount spent, or not always at least. In other words, the team won’t be necessarily happier because you spent more. But they will notice if you spent or didn’t spend a penny at all.

As we will see, this can be done on company’s budget, on company’s expense account, or even with your own personal money, depending on the type of reward. All three are great.

Take the Team to Dinner

That’s a classic, and we couldn’t skip it in our “how to thank your team guide”. Just bring the team for a dinner out, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. People open up when eating together, and this is a great simple teambuilding activity.

If you get a long well, you should do that often enough. In fact, in well run teams, they are often the teammates themselves to arrange these kind of celebration. You can have a dinner at the end of a project, to celebrate the end of the fiscal year, before the holidays, after coming back from holidays – you name it.

The “Offsite”

This is a way to thank your team that comes straight out of the corporate playbook. You just take your team to do a 1- or 2-day activity somewhere. If the activity is 2 days, the night out is paid by the company.

If the purpose is to thank your team, the activity should be fun and enjoyable. Yet, you may want to leverage the occasion to create some bonds and do teambuilding as well. Good activities can be a hike, paintball, kayaking. Leverage activities where people share something and have to collaborate, but be aware that some activities may be challenging for some members depending on their health and mobility conditions.

Nonetheless, just the fact of going off site and spending one day in a resort talking and walking around can be a great way for your team to feel refreshed. This is how you thank your team.

The “Onsite”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, offices became empty and people flocked to smart working. Now, some companies are leveraging the concept of “onsite”. This is what the offsite used to look like.

Now, the main place of work is the house, and you go to the office only on special occasions, to do team building or similar activities. You can do that as well, in a way similar to an “offsite”. Of course, your office needs to be good enough for that.

Cake/Donuts/Food at the Office

It turns out that most of the activities that we do when it comes to thank an entire team requires some form of eating. Just bring some food at the office and offer it to your team. In order for this message to be delivered, explain to them why you are doing this, and what are you celebrating.

How to thank your team with donuts? Don't do that often, and ensure everyone has something to eat they will like and will not feel guilty eating
Donuts can be a nice way to thank your team.

Here, you want to be mindful about what your team can eat (vegetarian? Allergies?) and also about what your team wants to eat without feeling bad about themselves. If you bring donuts every day but people are trying to go on a diet, it may hurt the morale actually. As most of the food you may bring is not likely to be healthy, try to constrain yourself to do that once per month or so. Or, bring healthy food, even if it is less delicious!

How to Thank Your Team in Summary

All in all, how to thank your team is not rocket science. Just pick something that your team likes and provide that to them, ensuring they understand the reasons behind this move. It may be food, an email, a fancy activity over the weekend – do whatever you feel most appropriate for your team. That’s what a great leader does.

Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.
Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.

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Alessandro Maggio