5 ways you can give thanks for the frontline this Thanksgiving

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States. People all over the country will be Zooming and Skyping and FaceTiming with their friends and family to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

Many families will prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all of the trappings, just for smaller groups. Some will skip the turkey and opt for delivery. Early holiday gifts will be shuttled to doorsteps by USPS, FedEx and UPS. This year, more than ever, frontline employees will help families celebrate their love and resilience, no matter how far apart they may be. And for that, we should all be thankful. 

At Axonify, we’ve always tried to remind people about the essential importance of the frontline workforce. We usually approach our #frontlineforward message from a business perspective. After all, Axonify builds technology, content and services that help frontline employees around the world stay safe and productive on the job. But this Thanksgiving is an opportunity for everyone, no matter where you work or who you support, to remember the people who have sacrificed over the past nine months so we can all have a safe November holiday.

Here are five simple ways you can give thanks for the frontline. 

Wear a mask

It’s literally the simplest thing we can do. Frontline employees are wearing masks and face shields for eight or ten hours a day as they stand behind plexiglass and repeatedly wipe down surfaces. They’re doing their best to protect us. We’re obliged to protect them.

Say thank you

This is the second simplest thing we can do. Remember to express sincere and honest gratitude to every frontline employee who helps you, no matter how small the act. Post a sign on your front door for the FedEx person. Give a wave when you see the pizza delivery guy making his sixth delivery of the night in your neighborhood. A simple thank you goes a long way. Dozens of thank yous during one shift build resilience. 

Be considerate

We should all think before we ask. Do you have to order your groceries during a busy weekend, or can you move to a day when the store is less crowded? Are you familiar with the guidelines for each location you visit so you know what is and isn’t acceptable? Are you doing everything you can to make the job easier for the frontline employees with whom you interact? We’ve all been dealing with this for nine months, but most frontline employees don’t have the option to stay home. We should lighten the load wherever we can. 

Tip well

Furloughs and layoffs continue. Budgets are tight. Hours are unpredictable. If you have the means, give a little extra when you get your next meal delivery. Or provide a tip for a worker who doesn’t expect one—as long as it’s safe and appropriate to do. They’ve earned it.

Remember: it’s their holiday too

More frontline workers than usual are getting Thanksgiving Day off. But many still have to work. Black Friday will certainly be different this year, but it will still be a challenging day for retail workers. This may not be the most cheerful holiday season, but we can all dig deep and make an extra effort to be patient and empathetic with the frontline workers we encounter over the next few weeks. Remember—they don’t get to see their families and friends either.

So let’s all raise a glass to the frontline at our Thanksgiving tables and remember them in our hopes for a better tomorrow.

Be safe. Be well. Be kind to the frontline.

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.