An Awesome Tool Named Appreciation
As we approach the end of 2016, let’s give thanks for the good things that happened over the past 12 months and spread the positivity to people around us. It’s easy at times to take success for granted, and overlook the contributions of our fellow colleagues and team. So why and how should we express our gratitude? Is it really necessary? If so, what are ways to achieve the desired outcome through appreciation? What impact can we expect?
Why is appreciation important?
Ask yourself, how does it feel to be recognized for your efforts? Does it feel good? Then flip it to the other end of the spectrum, how do you tend to react when you are taken for granted? Are you still able to give your best night in night out or does it drain you after awhile?
All these may vary from individuals to individuals. However, people usually feel more energized when they are noticed for their efforts and get rewarded duly. Of course, appreciation should be just sufficient and not overdone. When it comes excessively, people will start to get skeptical and it might then come across as an insincere move which backfires.
How can we show appreciation?
Besides the usage of structured approaches of bonuses and monetary incentive schemes to reward good work, there are other effective informal channels to deliver the “Thank You” message as well.
Year-end team dinner
Having a simple gathering to round up the year is a nice gesture for managers to express their gratitude towards the team. Besides having a good meal together, such informal settings also provides the manager with the opportunity to better understand individuals working under him on a personal level. Take the chance to thank every single one of them for their contributions, whether big or small, and let them know how they have played a part in the success for the year. This is one effective way to wrap up the year, help everyone savor the moment and recharge to move ahead.
Staying in office all year round can be taxing for most. To help them unwind and bring about better solutions for the year ahead, an annual team retreat will be a good platform to consider. Besides the primarily purpose of getting everyone on the same page, it is also a good way to show that managers care for their people. The last thing you want is to create an impression that it is all about the company’s bottom line and nothing about the well-being of those who have worked their hearts out for the organization. Even though it is still work, a retreat creates a totally different atmosphere and coupled with some nice food and drinks or even team building activities, it will send a strong message to the team that their inputs are important and that the company cares more than just the bottom line.
Family Day or Family-at-work
It’s always a nice gesture when family members are invited to gatherings or even the workplace of their family. Such events send a message to employees that the company recognizes the importance of a family and is actively engaging them. In addition, it could also be a way to show tell the family members that you are proud of the company culture, one that you are not afraid to showcase. During such occasions, managers should take the opportunity to mingle with the family members and make everyone feel at home. After all, work place today is an extension from home where individuals spend the bulk of their time there.
Leave a “Thank You” note
A simple message to tell your colleagues or team what you are thankful for may seem like an effortless move, but it can bring about strong feeling of goodwill. Detail down what you are grateful for, how the individual has touched your life, or simply, the difference he has made to help you do your work better. Encourage people to pass it on so that the effect can be multiplied and scaled up from there. Besides feeling appreciated, it will also be a subtle way to reinforce good behaviors amongst the team members and create a positive working culture.
Early release on Friday
Giving employees time off occasionally is a signal for them to realise what's important in their lives besides working and earning money. “Forcing” them to leave early on a selected Friday of each month could be one way to enforce your concern about their well being and for them to spend quality time with their family and friends. Companies may find it hard to achieve the idealistic work-life balance but occasional tweak to the term in this manner should still be relatively achievable for most. It may seem like an hour or half hour off, but the impact on the mental well being will be way beyond that.
Another way of acknowledging individuals is by remembering and celebrating one of the most important day of their lives, birthday. A simple get-together creates an impression that every employee matters and that they are unique individuals rather than mere numbers on the spreadsheet. After all, it feels special when people remember something important about you, isn't it?
Appreciation is a simple, yet powerful tool to help sustain the energy and drive of the team. There are many ways managers can show appreciation towards their team and colleagues. This can come in both formal and informal channels. What matters is the intent and sincerity which will bring out the true effect of the initiatives. Customise the tools according to your own organization’s context for enhanced effectiveness and learn to fine tune along the way. You don't need the most expensive programme. What you need? The most heartfelt and genuine one.