Your boss is expressing gratitude all wrong

Many bosses aren't sure how to say "thank you" this time of year.
Simon Ritzmann via Getty Images

Welcome to Worksheet, a newsletter about how people are working smarter in these turbulent times.

Every week, this newsletter will share analysis on the state of work by S. Mitra Kalita, a veteran media executive, author, and journalist.

In this week’s edition Kalita tackles a subject that is trickier than in sounds: how to thank your employees.

Because many workplaces cannot have a holiday party this year, company leaders say the season is a chance to rethink what such gestures were really all about in the first place. 

“Gratitude is not about a one-time holiday party, day off, or spot bonus,” said Aron Ain, the CEO of Ultimate Kronos Group, a workplace software company. “It cannot be an afterthought or a check-the-box activity. It is about creating a culture of gratitude.”

He said UKG plans to invest $35 million next year in enhanced benefits programs to acknowledge the extraordinary burdens on employees at every stage of life—including caregivers—right now. For example, complimentary tutoring and virtual afterschool programs will be offered for the children of employees. 

That’s just one example of what David Novak, former CEO of Yum Brands calls “purposeful recognition.” Kalita goes on to outline 7 specific ways any boss can give employees what they really want this year.

Read her full column here.

This week's reads

Get ready for '21

We haven’t seen a racial reckoning yet. That’s the message from Nasdaq’s five workplace trends to watch in 2021. The first is about diversity, equity and inclusion with customers, boards and investors demanding action. (Nasdaq)

Not checking in

Airbnb has been the biggest IPO of the year. What’s it like to work there right now? The windfall for its early employees is significant. Those wondering what could have been: 1,800 employees laid off earlier in the pandemic. (Barron's)

3 day workweek

Google’s announcement that it is planning to give employees a three-day “flexible workweek” when they return to the office next September raises as many questions as it answers. If the company wants to encourage collaboration, how will it manage which three days people come to work? And if workers choose to live further from the office, will three days a week allow sufficient flexibility? Kudos to the Googleplex for trying to provide some clarity. But the future of work remains hazy. (Fortune)

First in line

Hospital workers will be among the first to get the COVID vaccine. A Chicago-area hospital “set up 10 vaccination bays and hopes to soon vaccinate about 1,000 workers a day; this is assuming each vaccination takes roughly five to seven minutes to administer and that the shots will be given from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.” (Chicago Tribune)

Get the job

Learn to code and apply for jobs within 24 hours of postings going up. That’s the advice from an Arizona job placement expert who estimates he has helped 100,000 people find work under his watch. And you might have to settle. “Do what you can now to add value to any company at any level and then work your way up," he said. (

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