Tag Archives: employee recognition

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



Thank you

12 ideas to engage and inspire your team on their return from their Christmas break

The first of my mini 12 days of Christmas blog series, which this year will focus on engaging and inspiring your team following their Christmas break.

1. Thank Youthank-you-im-so-grateful

Simply saying thank you is the most obvious thing to do to show you appreciate your team. Whether your team have been full on over Christmas or they’re about to return after a Christmas break, make a point of thanking individuals for their contribution.

Be specific. A thank you and an acknowledgement of a job well done is far more sincere if you’re specific about what you’re recognising. So, say what it is about their actions that you appreciate. It might be spotting them doing something that shows you they’ve made an extra effort, helped a colleague, gone out of their way to help a customer, or used their initiative to get over a challenge.

Send a handwritten letter or a thank you card. A physical letter or card, particularly if it is handwritten, will have 10 times more impact than an email.

Be sure to recognise all departments, including back of house staff, or those in non-customer facing roles. They all have their part to play.



Show you value your team

3 ways to demonstrate you value your team members

Even under normal circumstances it’s important to show you value your team members; I believe we all like to be valued and our team are no exception.

But, now more so than ever, particularly if they are still on furlough.

This was one of the topics discussed on last week’s Fresh Start programme.

So here are three areas to consider to demonstrate you value your team members, whether they are still on furlough or now back at work.

Respect

One way to demonstrate you value your team is to show them respect. Whether they are back with you, or they are on furlough, but just all those little common courtesies of checking in to see how they are, saying please and thank you. To demonstrate personal integrity with them, to ask their opinion on things particularly the things that are going to be impacting them and things that where they are going to have a view.

Show that you actually care about them as individuals, so it’s not just about the business and your guests safety but also about their own safety when they get back to work.

Trust

If you want your team members to trust you, start by demonstrating your trust in them.

The easiest way for you to be able to demonstrate trust is giving them things that you know that they’re going to do a good job with. So, play to people’s strengths give them things where they can demonstrate their strengths and you’re going to be confident that they’ll do well.

Empower your team to make decisions on things which come under their responsibility; you can’t give someone responsibility but then not empower them to make those decisions. A classic situation is dealing with a customer complaint.

Give people the flexibility to do things in the way that feels most comfortable to them providing of course it’s safe. Very often the way which people work – it’s the end result that’s important not how they actually arrived at that end result.

When giving them responsibility – coming back to those things where they have strengths – if you give people flexibility and ownership then inevitably they’re going to do a better job because they know that the result’s down to them.

Recognition

The third way to demonstrate you value your team members is acknowledging their contribution.

For example putting people forward for awards; it’s amazing what impact that can have. It’s being nominated which is the important factor, not the winning… although the winning of course is really nice if it happens.

Thinking about how you celebrate success. Not necessarily just things at work, but also things which are happening outside of work; personal achievements to them as well. Many people of course while they have been investing in their personal development or maybe taking on new hobbies and interest whilst they’ve been on furlough. So it’s good to be recognising some of those things too.

One final thing I think with all of this which goes throughout the whole of the theme in terms of showing people that they are valued is to say a very sincere thank you. Not a vague and generic thank you, but actually thanking them for some specific contributions, so that they know that we actually do mean it.

So, those are three ways to demonstrate that you value your team members: Respect, Trust and Recognition

demonstrate you value your team

Demonstrate you value your team by Entering Awards

Video: Giving employees recognition



Puffed Up with Pride

Last week at the HTA Catering Conference panel discussion I was asked if I could pick just one thing for business owners and managers to focus on to improve employee engagement and staff retention what would that be.

My response: “Give people pride in what they do, by recognising and acknowledging their contribution to the business.”

Being recognised at work so you can be proud of your contribution can have a massive impact on employee engagement, and all the knock on benefits of customer service, staff retention and productivity.

This stems from the top, so if you are recognising your managers and supervisors so they feel pride in what they do, they are far more likely to do the same with their team members.

As well as leading by example, educate your managers and supervisors on the importance of recognition, and give them ideas, support and resources to do this.

Here are 7 ideas to get the ball rolling…

1. Common Courtesies

Treat your team with the same care, courtesy and respect as you’d like them to show to customers. Failing to give a simple please when asking for something or a thank you when it’s delivered soon gets noted, leaving people feeling unappreciated.

A sunny smile and a cheerful “good morning” sets everyone up for the day.

2. Demonstrate Trust

We often underestimate people’s capabilities. You’ll be surprised just how resourceful your team can be given the right direction. Give flexibility to adapt and adopt their own style.

Demonstrate your trust by delegating some control and ownership. This gives a sense of pride and a desire to get things right. When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise.

Play to people’s strengths, rather than making everyone mediocre at everything. Give them development and responsibility in areas in which they excel.

Identify staff champions for routine activities so there is always at least one person other than you keeping an eye on each aspect of the business. This is not only good for people’s development it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.

3. Recognition

Show you value their opinion. Involve your team in discussions and ask their advice particularly in areas where they have more involvement than you, e.g. many of them will spend more time with customers than you and often spot things you might miss.

Give meaningful feedback. Tell people how they are doing, what have they done well and how it contributes.

Recognise those who go beyond the call of duty or out of their way e.g. changed their domestic arrangements to stay late to finish a project, dropped their own work to help a colleague who was in need or simply gone out of their way to help out.

Whenever you get positive feedback from a customer publicise this. The sooner you do this after the event the greater the impact.

Acknowledge those who have put considerable effort into a project even if it has just fallen short of the mark. It’s the effort you’re applauding not the result.

4. Celebrate success

Recognise and celebrate successes – for the individual, for the team or the business as a whole.

Let everyone know when you’ve had a good month, brought in that special deal, or achieved an important milestone. Recognise and show your appreciation for those who have contributed to this success. This can be a great morale booster.

Acknowledge the contributions of those working on long-term projects too, and give regular updates on progress. Remember those in supporting roles too, who beaver away behind-the-scenes – including back of house staff, e.g. whoever is responsible for the cleanliness of your premises can have a massive impact on everyone.

Keep your team up to date with the bigger picture – what’s happening in your business, what else is happening in your industry, so they can be proud of your industry as a whole.

5. Going Public

Saying thank you and well done in front of the whole team may make some people feel uncomfortable, so be selective. But when done for the whole team it can give a real boost.

If you’re not the owner of the business, whenever someone does something noteworthy notify your boss (or whoever you are answerable to) and ask them to take a minute to acknowledge that person.

6. And the winner is…

Whether internal or external awards are a public way of giving recognition. Nominate your whole team or individuals for external awards. Just being nominated shows you think they are worthy of being a winner.

Create your own version of an Oscar to award each week. It doesn’t have to be the same criteria every time, just something that is noteworthy e.g. best morale booster, best ambassador for service, award to helping out a colleague, etc. Give kudos to the previous winner and allow them to choose the criteria and award it the following week.

Give public recognition via your physical or virtual noticeboard, where anyone can post a note of recognition for a colleague, so no accomplishment goes unrecognised.

7. Personal achievements

One exercise I love to do is getting people talking about an accolade or something (or someone) they’re proud of, be that in or out of work; something recent or from years back.  Just by getting them talking about these makes people feel good, as well as helping get an insight into what’s important to them.

Take time out to celebrate an achievement or special occasion. Recognise those important proud moments outside work: arrival of their first grandchild, child’s graduation, a significant contribution to a charity, a personal achievement such as passing their driving test.

Simply remembering personal milestones such as a significant birthday or wedding anniversary can make people feel valued, but even better if you do something to mark the occasion even if it’s just a simple card or cupcake.

Whatever you do to show you value your team and create proud moments, make it meaningful to the individual; not everyone is inspired by the same things, so consider what’s important to them.

Recognition is a powerful thing, so if you only do 2 things:

  1. Make a point today (and every day from now on) of doing at least one thing to show your appreciation to one or more of your team
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  2. Share this post with your managers and supervisors and ask them to identify one idea from the list they can start doing today…



Congratulations!

If you’re anything like me, you love having an excuse to celebrate. Today happens to be my wedding anniversary, and at 33 years I think that’s cause to celebrate.

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

What’s the occasion?

The most obvious things to celebrate are birthdays and anniversaries. Not just personal anniversaries such as a significant wedding anniversary, but maybe noticing the anniversary of the date each of your team members joined your business or your department. If you’ve a large team you might decide to celebrate the anniversaries of everyone who joined in the current month. This is a great excuse to bring people together who might not normally work closely together.

For business customers congratulate them on a significant anniversary in their business, or the anniversary of when you started working with them (and this helps to reinforce your relationship).

And of course, don’t forget anniversaries for your own business; it’s a great way to blow your own trumpet!

Recognise those important and proud moments for your team members outside of work. The arrival of their first grandchild, passing their driving test, their child’s graduation, gaining a qualification, making a significant contribution to a charity e.g. through a fundraising event, running a marathon, etc.

Celebrate and share your business successes. Let everyone know when you’ve had a good month, and thank them for their contribution. Celebrate that special deal or contract you’ve won. Pass on the recognition you’ve received from an important customer.

Cheers

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

Recognise that 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 over the top celebration.

For a customer a little unexpected gift (which might also be an excuse for them to visit again, but ensure it is something they will value, not just a blatant promotion for more business) can make them feel special and appreciated.

If it’s an occasion to be shared will taking time out for coffee and cake to celebrate the occasion be more appropriate than taking everyone down to the pub?

And it may be that the best and simplest way to help team members mark the occasion is giving them the opportunity to knock off early, so they have more time to celebrate with their family and friends.



Enter Awards

Here’s part 11 in my 12 blog series onAward Winner

how to engage and motivate your team on their return from their Christmas break

11. Enter Awards

Focus people’s attention on customer service by aiming for an award, competition or simply an internal league table. It can be great motivation for those with a competitive spirit: For internal reward this might mean focusing on a different theme each month so that everyone has the opportunity to recognise their particular skills and strengths.

External awards are a great way to give focus and recognition for the whole team. Keep your eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. Just being nominated for an award is a great booster it itself.

And as they say “You’ve got to be in it to win it!”

 

If you’d like more ideas here are 28 Activities to Engage, Energise and Excite your Team in Customer Service28 activities to engage your team in customer service 1