Employee Engagement. Loyalty Programs…
I know them well. I’ve seen lots of research and data about how competition, rewards & incentives can inspire people to work harder. I’m all for recognition. People want to know they are appreciated and it does go far for employees to see that others are being recognized for their hard work. When we use the trendy words to show the ROI we hope to get from spending a little on encouraging our teams, we forget that at the end of the day we want to create a culture of encouragement. The best way to create a culture of encouragement is to to lead by example.
Here are some easy ways to tell your team they are noted and appreciated:
1. Just say Thank You!
Stop and consider who has been doing a fantastic job recently and go tell them you have noticed and appreciate it. If you oversee managers, recommend they do the same. Thank you notes work well too since they leave a lasting impression and serve as a reminder of the recognition.
2. Leave visible reminders of appreciation
Print out something to leave as a reminder for them that you noticed their hard work.
Ideas: Get a can of Orange Crush soda and leave it on their desk with a note that says “You CRUSHED it!”
Leave a can of Mountain Dew with a note that says “Thanks for all you Dew!”
See our free printable of ‘encouragement tokens’ at the end of the blog.
3. Empower your Human Resources team
Empower HR with a budget for them to provide specific people with encouragement. This will help remind managers to write thank you notes, remember important days (like administrative professionals day), and keep recognition consistent. This helps it become part of your culture.
Big companies like Zappos are known for their encouragement teams that throw parties and recognize employees.
4. Healthy Competition
When you create 2-3 competitive teams in the office you give people a chance to work together in ways that build friendship. It encourages people to work together for the good of the whole team and that can build feelings of “not letting these coworkers down.” These can really help your company culture as people begin to have fun together and want to help one another toward a common goal.
Ideas: Team Easter egg hunt in the office. Pair people up in teams of 2-3 and offer a significant prize for the winning team ($50 gas gift card or grocery gift card). All teams need to be at the office by 8am sharp for the start of the hunt. Put out some “golden eggs” that are for individual winners that have smaller gift cards.
5. No Fear Zone
Fear of being reprimanded, having no one participate, or thinking you’ll look foolish will all be hinderances to starting a new culture. Public words of encouragement from leadership help. If you have someone hold an event to highlight what a great job IT is doing, then publicly thank them at the event for throwing the event.
If you have an employee with a great deal of self confidence who is willing to be cheesy, they might be a good person to nominate as Director of Encouragement. Someone who can handle an icy exterior or two as they warm everyone up to a new environment…filled with “Thank You!” “Way to Go!” and “You Crushed It!”
Why Big Prizes?
In some of our ideas we mentioned using gift cards or “significant prizes.” The good prizes help ensure participation from employees – this is very important when trying to change company culture. If you have a strict company culture, people will be hesitant to do anything outside of the box. If you want people to open up and be more comfortable in the office, you will need to incentivize that behavior with something highly desirable.
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Check out team Sideqik using them at their office to inspire and appreciate their awesome team:
Feel free to print and use these great encouragement tokens in your office, but please do not repost these pages on another website.