Tag Archives: Staff recognition

Marking Milestones

engage your team

Engage your Team (and customers) by Marking Milestones

Can you remember what you were doing on the night of 20/21st July 1969?

I can, as I’m sure you can too if you are my age or older, as, like billions of others, I was sitting with my brothers watching in awe as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon.

Watching the events relived this Saturday was still tense even though we knew full well the mission was a success.

Marking milestones in your business is a great way to engage both your team members and your customers. They don’t need to be as momentous as the moon landings; simply recognising any small personal milestone, proud moment or a significant event shows you care.

Here are some moments you may wish to mark to engage your team and/or your customers

Celebrate and share business successes

  • At the end of the year remind your team of all your achievements over the past 12 months and create a buzz for the year ahead. What milestones have you achieved as a business and individually? What were the highlights? Engage your team by recognising their contribution. Team members are more likely to be loyal and work harder for a business they believe in.
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  • Let everyone know when you’ve had a good month, won a significant piece of new business, or achieved an important milestone. Share the success with your team (and customers if appropriate). Recognise and show your appreciation for those who have contributed to this success. Be sure to recognise all departments, including back of house staff, or those in non-customer facing roles.This can be a great morale booster; it’s a great way to thank them for helping get to this point and to gain buy-in for the potential work it will involve over time.
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  • Don’t forget key anniversaries for your business; it’s a great way to remind your team of your heritage and the values your business is built upon. Even if you’re not long established as a business track back to key moments in your own background (particularly relevant if you are a family run business), or research the history of your building or area, or key historical dates in your industry.

Proud personal moments

  • Recognise and celebrate with your team members those important moments outside work: arrival of their first grandchild, child’s graduation, a significant fund raising activity for charity, a personal achievement such as passing their driving test.
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  • Make a note of the key dates in their world – significant birthdays and wedding anniversaries; remembering these can make that person feel that little bit special on their special day.
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  • Remember 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.

Celebrate non-work events

Be aware of other celebrations happening elsewhere which may resonate with your team. Such as:

  • Sporting success, such as those this month – we’ve seen Cricket World Cup, Wimbledon, Formula 1 GP, Women’s football.
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  • Charity events such as Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Macmillan Coffee Morning (27th September 2019).

Marking the occasion

It’s good to have the milestones marked on the calendar, but even better if you do something to celebrate.

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

  • A simple card to mark the occasion is a pleasant surprise, and adds a very personal touch, particularly when hand-picked and hand-written.
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  • Allow the freedom to have some fun; this doesn’t mean being unprofessional, but looking for opportunities that create a relaxed and enjoyable place to celebrate in keeping with the occasion.
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  • 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.
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  • If it’s an occasion to be shared, will taking time out for coffee and cake to celebrate the occasion be a more appropriate way to engage team members than taking everyone down to the pub?
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  • When your team members are celebrating a personal milestone extending the treat to be shared with their loved one(s) not only makes your team member feel good but shows your appreciation of the support given by their friends and family.
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  • It may be that the best and simplest way to help team members mark a special occasion is giving them the opportunity to knock off early, so they have more time to celebrate with their family and friends.
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  • External awards are a great way to give recognition for the whole team. Keep your eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. Just being nominated an award is a great booster.

Inviting your customers to celebrate

Marking milestones with customers is a good way to stay on their radar.

  • Many of the above ideas work well for customers, or 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.
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  • If you’re a hospitality or leisure business, the most obvious things to celebrate are birthdays and anniversaries.
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  • Capture your customers’ birthdays, anniversaries and special dates on your database (with their permission of course) and then invite them back to your venue to celebrate, and receive something special of value to them. An easy win is to invite wedding couples back for their first (and subsequent) anniversary.
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  • 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).
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  • Keep your eyes on your local press for businesses winning awards or celebrating their own anniversaries, and send them your congratulations.
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  • Don’t forget anniversaries for your own business; it’s a great way to blow your own trumpet!

Take action

If you only do one thing:

  • Look ahead for the next month and identify the milestones you might mark to engage your team and/or customers to show them you are thinking of them.

10 more ways to engage your team and show them some love

3 Things to get your team enthused this week



33 years and counting

Fresh juicy watermelon slice on natural green background close-up with love letters word

After nearly 33 years of marriage (to the same person!) I feel we must be doing something right. I’m sure like most married couples, we don’t declare our undying love every day of the week, but we still know we’re loved and cared for.

Just like in a successful marriage, unless your team feel loved and that you care about them they are unlikely to care much about you. Or your business or your customers.

As it’s Valentine’s Day, instead of half a dozen red roses, here are half a dozen ideas to borrow from a successful marriage to apply to a team.

Something in common

It can be tricky maintaining a relationship when you’ve got nothing in common.

In the workplace the one thing you can have in common is a shared purpose; something you really care about, which energises and excites you, something your team care about too.

When you and your team have clearly defined purpose, it connects you, provides structure and shared goals.

Know what’s important

Recognise there are things which may seem insignificant to you but can mean a lot for others. Understanding what these are others means we can attend to these things, even if they’re not important to us.

Take time to talk to your team members to build relationships and show an interest in them as individuals.

What’s important to them and how do they like to be recognised.

Clarify expectations. Discuss their career goals and aspirations, and where they fit into the vision for the business as a whole.

Get people talking about an accolade or something (or someone) they’re are proud of. Just by getting them talking about these make people feel good as well as helping to get an insight into what’s really important to them.

Be nice to one another

We all have our off days, but behaviour breeds behaviour so in any relationship it’s easy to let that rub off on others.

So, however you’re feeling, a sunny smile and a cheerful good morning sets everyone up for the day.

Treat your team with the same care, courtesy and respect as you’d like them to show you, their colleagues and customers.

Keep your commitments. Do what you say you’ll do. Making a promise that’s important to someone and then not delivering on suggests a lack of respect. If you ever do let someone down, own up and apologise. It’s one thing to make a mistake, and quite another not to admit it (like this morning when hubby said he’d forgotten it’s Valentine’s Day, but offered to take me out for dinner tonight!)

Celebrate the good times

Anyone in a relationship who’s ever forgotten a special anniversary knows how much impact that can have.

It’s just as important with your team. Recognise and celebrate team members’ successes; be they workplace achievements, personal milestones, or proud moments – in, or out of work.

Pay attention

When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time it’s usually easy to sense when something is wrong.

Keep your ears and eyes open so you can spot when things are wrong amongst your team. Provide support when it’s needed and be receptive to when it’s required.

Show you value their opinion; ask their advice next time you’re stumped for an answer. Consult with your team on decisions that affect them; listen to their concerns or ideas.

Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. Be brave; we don’t always want to hear about the things that frustrate your team, particularly if you may be contributing to the problem! Be open to the truth and willing to listen.

Show your appreciation

One of the simplest ways of showing we care is to say thank you.

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.

Remind people of the importance and significance of what they do; everyone likes to know the contribution counts and sometimes just a heartfelt thank you at the end of a busy shift or hectic day reminds them.

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.

A physical handwritten letter or a thank you card will have 10 times more impact than a mere email.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but they’ll go a long way to show others you care about them, so they’ll care about you. And in this context – care about your business and your customers.



How to say I love you to your team

do your team feel lovedWith Valentines’ Day tomorrow everyone is talking about loving your customers. And course that’s important. But, unless your team feel valued and loved they’re not likely to give their best and to deliver the type of customer experience either you or your customers expect.

A loved team is an engaged team.

So how can you bring a smile to their face (not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day) without it costing you a fortune in bonuses or incentives?

There’s a perception that everyone is motivated by money. There’s no doubt money is a contributing factor. Pay them late, mess up their overtime or deny them the pay rise they were promised and you’re probably going to have an unhappy employee. And unhappy employees invariably lead to unhappy customers.

But how would you feel on Valentine’s Day if your loved one just gave you money? Unless it was a ton of cash or you’re saving up for something really special it’s not very exciting. It feels as if no care or thought has gone into it. It’s impersonal. It might be fine for Aunty Doris to give you money at Christmas as she doesn’t know what you’d like (and it’s better than the alternative of a pair of sock!), but if someone’s taken the trouble to find that something special and buy it for you – that’s going to have far more impact, right?

Money is a very short term motivator. And let’s face it, unless your team are on performance related bonuses few of us can be doling out monetary rewards every five minutes.

So what can we do to show our team some love?

Before you do anything…

Start by finding out what’s important to them.

Not everyone values or is interested in the same things. Whilst some love the sense of achievement, others favour doing their bit for others. Some love to have their say, whilst others are happiest when they’re learning or being stretched.

And if it really is just tangible rewards people love? Well, I know I’d rather be given a bunch of flowers any day over a fiver go and buy my own!

We should never assume what our team would like and what’s important to them. If we’ve never had the discussion, it’s high time we did!

So start by doing a little bit of homework to find out what’s likely to bring a smile to their face which they’re sure to pass on to your customers.

Here are some six things you might consider .…

 

1. Say thank you

I know I’m always talking about showing your customers your appreciation, but it’s just as important to demonstrate to your team that you appreciate their contribution.

The simplest thing you can do is to say thank you. Recognise and reward good performance, achievements and a job well-done. For many, that is all they need to feel encouraged.

Yes, they work for pay, but it always helps to know that their work is recognised. Not just as a routine passing comment, go out of your way to thank individuals when you spot them doing something that will delight your customers. Bring the team together at the end of a hectic day, busy shift or demanding project when everybody has pulled their weight to make sure everything went smoothly.

If you are genuine in your appreciation, and choose it for the right moment, it can work wonders. A simple but honest appreciative remark can go a very long way.

Give feedback; what have they done well and how it has contribute. Don’t dilute the message by homing in on shortfalls (but you can still ask them how this can be improved upon for next time, just as long as you don’t start nit picking).

Celebrate and share successes. And if you are going to praise an individual, don’t just leave it till you are on your own with them. Find an opportunity when they are with their colleagues, and your praise will create a buzz! Make sure it’s genuine and specific for the task carried out, or the person might be seen by their colleagues as ‘teacher’s pet’.

 

2. Token gestures

Become aware of what hobbies and interests your employees have. Then when you are out and about and see something that has to do with that particular interest, pick it up for them.

Coming into the business and saying  “I really appreciate what you do, and I got this for you as a small token of my appreciation”,  will make them feel they are recognised for a great job.

It doesn’t have to cost the earth; just a token. But the thought it evokes will make a real difference.

 

3. A treat

Give people the occasional treat. No need to be a lavish; look at ways to reward that create a win-win:

For example maybe a visit to a sister business or somewhere where they will be on the receiving end of outstanding service and are motivated to bring back more ideas that can be implemented in your business.

When your team have worked long or unsociable hours that had an impact on their personal life, extending the treat to be shared with their loved one not only makes your team member feel good but shows your appreciation of the support given by their friends and family. This paves the way for future good deeds too!

 

4. Time Off

For some people a little free time could be the most valuable gift you can give them.

Allowing flexibility to go home early to attend their kid’s sports’ day, have a lie in or the evening off on their birthday, or take an hour out to attend to a personal matter.

Allow the freedom for having fun too; this doesn’t mean being unprofessional, but looking for opportunities that create a relaxed and enjoyable place to work.

Simply a rest or just have a bit of fun can work wonders to their state of mind.

 

5. Awards

For those with a competitive spirit: Awards, competitions, even a league table. 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 recognition for the whole team. Keep your eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. Just being nominated an award is a great booster. I remember when I worked in the corporate world and took over responsibility for sales training. Our new sales director was so impressed with what I had achieved he put me forward for the Institute of Marketing Sales Trainer of the year award. I didn’t win but I was one of the finalists, which gave me a great boost, and an opportunity to invite my colleagues along to the awards dinner which was great for my profile and for the business.

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.

 

6. Opportunities for personal development

We so often think of development as solely grooming somebody for promotion. This might be one intention or outcome but even when we know that a member of our team has probably reached their peak, that doesn’t mean to say that we just let them stagnate.

Development should have the intention of making people the best they can be at their jobs, and this might lead to making the job easier, more rewarding or simply getting the job done in less time.

Identify and utilise people’s strengths, providing further development when needed to bring out the best in these areas. Delegate and give some control and ownership, such as making people champions for specific areas. This gives them pride in what they do and they will appreciate that you’ve recognised where they do a good job, providing of course you’re careful not to overburden or just dump these tasks on them.

Grow from within where possible, and give people the opportunity for career progression as well as enhancing skills to do their existing job. Think also about life skills; for example offering English lessons for migrant workers.

You may not be able to accommodate everyone’s aspirations particularly if you’re a small business, but having some kind of succession plan in place that gives people something to work towards.

However, take time to discuss people’s aspirations; don’t just assume that if someone shows potential that they want more responsibility or to be groomed into a specific position. And be careful not to make promises on career moves that you’re unable to keep.

 

Once we understand what’s important and a little bit of creativity there are plenty of ways we can say “I love you” and find the things they’ll love.  And your customers will feel that love too!