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Ways to thank your employees once the long harvest season ends

There are still ways to show you appreciate your team’s hard work when bonuses and promotions just aren’t available.

Your employees have gone the extra mile. They’ve stayed late, they’ve gotten to the farm early, they’ve sacrificed time with family and friends. This sentiment is often true for farmers, cooperatives, and other agricultural organizations this time of year.

When times are busy, challenging, or changing, it’s especially important to show your employees appreciation when they rise above and still produce quality work.

But when bonuses, training, and promotions just aren’t available, there are some subtle and less budget-constricting options for showing employee appreciation.

Silent appreciation

A few years ago, our own organization,, implemented what was called the “Bleed Green” award. Managers would nominate employees who had gone above and beyond each quarter. The agreed-upon employee would then receive a monetary gift card and an extra day of paid time off.

The kicker to this was that it was all done in secret, so other employees had no knowledge of the special appreciation of the selected employee, but they had their own humble and quiet appreciation.

Time off or paid time with family

Did your employees miss some significant time with family during a busy season? Children’s football games and church services? Once things have calmed down, it is a meaningful gesture to show appreciation by offering some extra paid time off. If that is not possible, arrange for a family dinner at a nice restaurant or get them tickets for an upcoming event in the area like a concert, a play, or a sporting event.

Group recognition

The holiday season is just around the corner, so your organization likely has plans for a Christmas party anyway. But perhaps think of an end-of-harvest meal for employees and their families to join together as a token of appreciation. Or host a sponsored meal one day during work hours.

Even just verbally recognizing employees goes a long way. Knowing that one’s work is valued and appreciated improves employee morale going forward after a challenging season.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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