Category Archives: employee recognition

Employee Appreciation

employee appreciation

There are some things in life we often take for granted. It’s only when they’re gone that we appreciate just how important they are.

Take last week as an example. I was relieved we didn’t suffer power cuts with the storm (particularly when I heard our neighbouring village was without power for 2 days). But then last Thursday we lost the internet; not for a few hours, but days! 20 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have bothered us, but now we’ve become so dependent.

The same can happen with people in your team. Those steady, reliable team members who just get on with their job, get the work done and help others along the way. Then suddenly, out of the blue, they tell you they’re leaving.

And as you prepare for their departure, you become aware of all the things you rely on from them.

Had you really appreciated this up to now?

Had you ever told them how much you appreciated them?

Friday marks ‘Employee Appreciation Day’

Of course, employee appreciation shouldn’t be limited to just one day, it’s a cultural commitment. As human beings we all like to be appreciated …more than just once a year!

Ongoing, simple but sincere gestures – however small – towards each of your team members that demonstrates you value them, and that their contributions haven’t gone unnoticed.

Now, especially after two years of unsettled and changing work environments and all the uncertainty, your team could probably appreciate a little extra recognition for always bringing their best to work.

Of course, it’s so much easier to make the appreciation meaningful when you know what’s important.

We should never assume what our team would like and what’s important to them. If you don’t know what’s important to them…

Ask!

One of the exercises I often do as an ice breaker on workshops, such as on one of the ones I ran last week, is to get people either talking about – or even drawing images of – an accolade or something they’re proud of, be that in or out of work and something recent or from years back.  Just by getting them talking about these makes people feel good, as well as helping me – or the colleagues they are working with – get an insight into what’s important to them.

I also do a variation of this with managers asking them to draw their idea of what’s important to their teams. Nine times out of ten I get a £, and invariably I get drawings of trophies, and winning, but what’s also interesting is the variety of other ideas and themes that go up too.

It might be pictures of trees and mountains, families and friends, of sporting activities, to name but a few.

Finding out about what people value outside work as well as in work can be a real insight.

Simply asking this question and listening for their answers is just one way to show appreciation.

But, of course the real impact can be felt when you follow through on these insights.

If you’ve never had the discussion, it’s high time you did!

If you only do one thing: Don’t wait until they’re gone to appreciate how much you depend on each of your team members. Tell them now!

Related post: 10 ways to show your team some love

Related video: 5 ways to help employees feel valued



Employee Recognition ~ It’s not the cost that counts

employee recognitionEmployee recognition gets noticed.

(…It’s fair to say a lack of employee recognition gets noticed even more! )

Don’t you just love it when you open up a gift, and it’s perfect for you?

It feels really good that somebody’s gone to the trouble of finding something that they knew you’d love.

You’re perhaps surprised, but delighted that they paid attention to something you happen to have mentioned in passing.

You’re touched that they’ve gone to so much trouble to find the precise thing you’ve always wanted.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could leave our team members or customers feeling that way about what we give them? For employees to feel recognised.

It’s not what gift you give or how much you spent on that gift, but what that gift can mean to the person you give it to.

So, how can we apply this principle in the context of employee recognition, so it leaves team members feeling valued?

As human beings we all like to be appreciated!

But there are many ways we can show that appreciation. It’s not about how lavish the gift, in fact it might not even be a tangible gift at all.

Ongoing, simple but sincere gestures – however small – that demonstrates your gratitude will certainly contribute to your team’s and your customers’ loyalty.

Here are a few ideas to show employee recognition,  which can also work well with  customers too, to show you value their loyalty:

  1. Help people celebrate: Something that seems insignificant to us might be a big deal for a team member or customer. Share in their excitement. What can you do to help them celebrate their special day or achievement?
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  2. Make them smile: In the same way you might share a joke, compliment a friend on their new shirt, or point out something fun, it might just be something we say or small gesture that really makes someone’s day. Spot opportunities to bring a smile to someone’s face.
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  3. I saw this and thought of you: Remembering an interest, a hobby or a project they are working on. And when you see something or meet someone related to it you make a note and send them over an article, buy a magazine or introduce them to someone who shares their passion. So long as it’s relevant, well timed and personal.
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  4. Remember people’s like and dislikes: People feel touched when you remember their likes and dislikes: their favourite foods, favourite colour, or simply the way they take their coffee. Never under estimate the impact when you remember someone’s preferences especially when they aren’t expecting it.
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  5. Spot opportunities to Give Little Unexpected Extras: Doing something spontaneous when you know the other person will appreciate it.
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    For example, for a customer finding something they’ve mentioned even though it’s not something you normally stock; gift wrapping or packing something with a personal touch or greeting because you know it’s their birthday.
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    For team members, letting them leave early because you know it’s their partner’s  birthday, their children’s sports day, or tomorrow they leave on a holiday of a lifetime.
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  6. Creating Magic Moments: Identify the little finishing touches that you can give to leave people with that wow factor. Picking up on an earlier conversation you’ve had that enables you to give a customer a personalised memento of their visit.
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    What is there that makes your business or offer unique, that others might enjoy taking home or share with others to create magic moments, not just for your customers or team members but their families and friends too?
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  7. Generate ideas. Challenge your team to come forward with their own ideas – If they were a customer coming to your business what little touches would they love that would make it memorable or extra special for them?
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    Ask them to imagine they had a magic wand and had all the time in the world, and a limitless budget… this can give you insights into what they might like too!

What can you give that can turn an average day into an amazing day for your team or customers?

Value, not price

A present should not be about the best or the most expensive thing. It’s not about the money, but about the thought that has gone into it. So that it means something to the person you give it to. This might be to delight, inspire, excite or simply make them feel special or valued.

This privilege shouldn’t be reserved for customers. If you make your team members feel special or valued they’ll do the same for your customers.

Here’s a short video on employee appreciation. It was recorded last year, pre covid, when things were a little different, but the sentiments are still relevant.

See also the Emotional Bank Account



Hello, I’m Caroline

build rapport

Build rapport using names

Do you remember the TV series Cheers? And the theme tune “… where everyone knows your name”

This coming weekend I will be helping at a charity event ‘Bolt Round the Holt’ in aid of GUTS (Guildford Undetected Tumour Screening). I normally get involved with registration at this event, and thinking of the task ahead it reminded me of the importance of names.

Using someone’s name is a powerful way to build rapport.

According to Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”  “… any person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.  ….we can make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering the name.”

This is true, not just for customers, but your team members too; in fact, anyone you speak to.

However, sometimes it can be challenging to remember names. I remember about 20 years ago, the company I was working for at the time ran a series of Roadshows. At the time I was a management development executive at our international training centre. This meant that over the course of the year I would meet hundreds, if not thousands, of managers attending training.

Because I knew so many people I was asked to help with registration at each event, and because so many of those attending knew me, they made a beeline to me expecting me to remember them too. But when you have thousands of people registering at each event, it’s quite a challenge remembering everybody’s names, and some people got quite offended when I couldn’t remember who they were!

I learnt a little trick to get around this, which I’ll tell you about in a moment. But in the meantime, here are my other top tips for helping you and your team members remember and use people’s names.

  1. Start with your team, greet them by name, and use the name they want to be known by. So, if they have a preference to be known by their middle name, use this. Never shorten or abbreviate their name unless they ask you to. So, Andrew doesn’t become Andy, Christopher doesn’t become Chris, and Deborah doesn’t become Debbie, unless that’s what they request.
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  2. Repeat it. How often do we ask someone’s name and then instantly forget it? So, listen with intent, and then immediately repeat their name. This not only helps you to committed it to memory, but allows an opportunity for the other person to correct it if you’ve got it wrong or missed pronounced. If the pronunciation is a little tricky for you, always ask the other person, whether you’ve got the pronunciation correct. It’s far less awkward for both of you to correct it now than on your fourth or fifth meeting.
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  3. Can you spell that please? Spelling someone’s name incorrectly can feel insulting, so check the spelling if you need to. Even relatively common names often have more than one spelling; Cathy or Kathy, Iain or Ian, Philip or Phillip.
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  4. Formal, friendly or familiar. It’s difficult sometimes to know whether to address the customer as Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms. or use their first name. The rule of thumb is to follow their lead; how they introduce themselves.
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  5. Personalise your automation. Have you ever had a letter that’s addressed to you personally on the envelope, but the salutations reads “Dear Sir or Madam”. With technology today there should be no excuse not to address emails or letters with someone’s name (or at least the name they have given you).
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  6. Create a memory. If you can create an association between someone’s name and a characteristic or relate to a famous person. For example, my husband is terrible at remembering names and when he first met my parents this was no exception. Their names were Liz and Phil. So, I told him to just think of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip!.
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  7. Tags, cards and badges. Spotting name badges on luggage tags, payment cards or name badges at corporate events can help; a word of caution, don’t get too clever with this! Check the name on their tag, card or badge is the one they want to be addressed by.  If you know which customers you are expecting remind yourself of their names (and personal preferences if you know them) before they arrive.
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  8. And what of employee name badges? They can make it easy for the customer to engage with and remember the people who have served them (as well as a level of accountability). But it’s a very individual decision, and what best suits your business and your style service. A name badge should never be a substitute for a personal introduction from a team member to a customer.

Take action

If you only do one thing – encourage your team members to use customers’ names, so they feel valued and important. Set the example and help make your team also feel extremely valued and important by always addressing them by name too.

And that little trick I discovered on registration? Thankfully, all the name badges were arranged in alphabetical order by people’s surnames. So, I’d always greet them with a cheery smile and ask how they are; and then ask absentmindedly “sorry, just remind me of your surname again”. It seemed forgetting their surname was acceptable, and when I found their name badge, hey presto, I was reminded of their first name too, and could then use this as I handed them their badge.

related article: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/creating-rapport-with-your-hospitality-business-customers/

 


Employee Recognition starts with Thank You

employee recognition

Employee Recognition? Why do 78% of employees feel they’re not recognised?

This isn’t the blog post I intended to share today; but I was prompted by seeing 2 uplifting posts on LinkedIn this morning, both celebrating team members’ efforts. One was from the team member herself, sharing the thank you note and flowers she’d received from her general manager, the other from the GM saying a public thank you to his team.

“So what?” you may ask. Is this such a big deal?

I believe it’s all too easy whilst businesses and their teams are working so hard to get back to any kind of normality, particularly when they are struggling to recruit staff, that some of the softer elements of leadership get forgotten.

Pre pandemic I remember reading a statistic from UK research that stated that 78% of employees didn’t feel recognised! That to me is a pretty shocking – and sad – statistic.

I doubt strongly it’s any better now.

And yet employee recognition can have a massive impact on productivity, on customers’ experience, and on staff retention.

I know I’ve written about employee recognition many times before but here are 6 ideas for employee recognition and saying thank you:

  1. A thank you will have more impact if it’s spontaneous and in the moment; at the end of a busy shift, when you spot someone helping a colleague, when you see someone going out of their way to help the customer, whenever anyone demonstrates your values.
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  2. Saying thank you will have far more impact if you’re specific; what are you thanking them for, what impact that has had on the team, for your customers, for the business, etc.
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  3. Ensure your thanks extends to those beavering away behind-the-scenes. Your grounds and building maintenance teams, your housekeepers or cleaners, your finance team. All these people have an impact on your customers’ experience, either directly or indirectly, and ultimately on your business success.
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  4. Make your thank you’s personal and appropriate for the individuals. What would they appreciate most? Public recognition? A handwritten note from you or your owner/managing director? The opportunity to leave an hour earlier to tend to a personal matter? A small token gift relevant to an interest or hobby? Apart from the last idea, none of these cost; it’s never about the money. It’s the thought that counts.
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  5. Encourage your supervisors and line managers to show recognition. Recognition doesn’t have to be rationed, so encourage them to give this freely. Help them identify how powerful recognition can be. This, of course, starts with you and how you recognise them; be their role model!
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  6. Recognition doesn’t just come from the top. Make it easy for team members to show recognition for one another: when a colleague has stepped in to help someone who is struggling, when another department has mucked-in to support on a big event, when someone’s made a personal sacrifice to cover sickness.

Take action

If you only do one thing, make a point of thanking every one of your team members for something this week.

10 ways to show your team some love

Employee recognition ideas from A-Z of Managing People video series



Encourage your team

Encourage your team

Encourage your team to do their best by taking some lessons from the Olympics. If these help win gold medals, what impact they can have on your team?

Nine years ago, I was hooked. I’ve never really been a big sports fan, but as my husband enjoys athletics, we’ve always enjoyed the Olympics.

Particularly in 2012.

I’d always regretted not taking up the opportunity to work at the Sydney Olympics when Sodexo (who I was working for at the time) were heavily involved in the catering and support services.

So, I wasn’t going to miss out a second time, and got involved with delivering customer service training for some of the local temporary Tourist Information Centres, and the Games Makers. I went along to see the Olympic flame come through our local town of Petworth on a wet and miserable Monday morning.

Then, I think like so many people, I was captivated by the opening ceremony; who could ever forget The Queen dropping into the stadium from a helicopter?! On the opening day of events, I made my way up to Box Hill to cheer on our cyclists.

And for the next 15 days, I can safely say I got very little work done!

But so far this year, I haven’t watched a single event in Tokyo.

What’s changed?

For me, without the crowds, it’s completely lost all atmosphere. Is this important? I think so.

The other day I was reading an interview with Greg Rutherford. He was recounting his feelings as he entered the Olympic stadium on what became known as “Super Saturday”, and how the crowd’s reaction really spurred him on (and even isolated one voice in the crowd who called out “Come on Greg, this is your time”).

Of course, Greg went on to win the gold medal, along with Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah both also winning gold medals that same evening.

Drawing on the energy of the crowds, I’m sure it makes a massive difference to people’s performance.

So, what has this to do with managing people?

I believe, just like those athletes, people in your team can get spurred on and encouraged by those around them.

Here are 7 lessons I believe we can take away from the Olympics or sports in general and apply in business:

1. Set goals

Every athlete knows what their goal is. It’s not always to win, it might be to qualify and get through to the next round, it might be a personal best, or simply an improvement on their last performance.

Does everyone in your team understand their goals and what constitutes success for the day ahead?

2. Focus on strengths

Whether within a team, or in an individual event, sportsmen work to hone their skills. They don’t compete in events that are not suited to, and in team events they complement one another.

How often within our teams do we create a Jack of all trades, but masters of none?

3. Supportive feedback

When sportsmen perform, they don’t just get feedback on their performance compared to competitors, but also some specific feedback on their individual performance. If they didn’t win or achieve their goal, they want to know what to do differently next time; if they did win or achieve their goal, what did they do to achieve this.

Do your team members always get useful feedback on their performance?

4. Coaching

There’s a reason why so many sportsmen give credit and recognition to their coach. It’s one thing having feedback, but it’s quite another having the support and guidance to act on that feedback.

Does everyone in your team get the necessary coaching and guidance from their line managers to improve their skills.

5. Putting it in perspective

Goals can be less inspiring and motivating when they are too far-reaching. It can be more encouraging sometimes to look back at how far they’ve come, rather than how far there is still to go.

This is a useful strategy to use with people who lack confidence or doubt their ability to succeed.

6. Lap of honour

When a sportsman’s been successful, they can revel in the limelight with their lap of honour, audience applause and prize-giving.

Do your team members get an opportunity to revel in the limelight, to get the recognition they deserve, when they’ve done a good job, supported a colleague, or gone out of their way to make a customer’s day?

7. Continuous improvement

No sportsmen will stay at the top of their game if they become complacent. Even after a big win, it’s not long before they’re back in training and fired up again, working towards the next goal.

What do you do in your business to get your team fired up again after a big event, or after reaching a significant goal?

If you only do one thing to encourage your team:

Review these 7 lessons and pick just one to do more of over the next 2 weeks of the Olympics.

Related video: 5 Ways to help employees feel valued

Related blog post: Setting mini goals



Celebrate

celebrateTime for celebration?

If you’re anything like me, you love having an excuse to celebrate. I have three things to celebrate today. Firstly, I am being taken out to lunch; my first time eating out since October. Secondly, I have a hair appointment; I know I’m not the only one celebrating some trivial events! Goodbye grey hair and wonky fringe. Last, but not least, it’s my 36th wedding anniversary today.

Marking a special occasion is a perfect way to engage with both customers and team members. Recognising a personal milestone, proud moment or a significant event shows you care.

Success

If you’ve recently reopened or are preparing to reopen, celebrate your team coming back to work: share with them and celebrate any changes you’ve made in the business over the past year.

Celebrate what’s gone well so far, so everyone gets the recognition they deserve for the effort that’s gone into reopening. It’s easy to get wrapped up in activity, but take a step back to see how far you’ve come, and create a buzz for the day, week and month ahead!

Continue to set mini goals so you and your team all see some quick wins, and keep the momentum going.

The anniversary of….

Mark anniversaries, both business and personal

  • the date each of your team members joined your business
  • the start of your customer/client’s business
  • a customer becoming a customer
  • past awards you’ve won
  • special events or milestones in your business, such as the start of your business

Proud moments

What’s been happening in the lives or your team members (and customers) to warrant celebration?

  • The birth of a child or grandchild
  • Any charitable achievements however minor
  • Learning a new skill; many of your team may have picked up new skills whilst being away from the business.
  • Anniversaries – look back at the events you held in previous years: what anniversaries are coming up?

New developments

What changes have you made to the business during lockdown? New products and services, refurbishments, new team members. Share and celebrate these with your team and customers. If nothing else, celebrate the fact that you are open!

Better late than never

Lastly don’t forget all those postponed events – many of which would have been to celebrate a special occasion. Even if people can’t celebrate with you, the date should still be marked and celebrated in some way.

Celebrations don’t need to be lavish. What’s more important is that they are sincere and relevant to those you are congratulating.

Recognise that whilst some people love the limelight, others hate it. Sometimes a quiet “congratulations and well done” is all that’s needed and will have more impact than any razzmatazz announcement.

If you only do one thing: Find a reason, however small, to raise glass and drink a toast with your team.

Related Articles:

Lessons in Loyalty  https://www.naturallyloyal.com/2015/05/

Recognising your team (video)