November is a popular month for expressing gratitude. Do your expressions of gratitude take place at home AND at work? Most people spend at least half of their waking hours with co-workers and colleagues. If you are “the boss”, it’s more important than ever to show your gratitude. Studies show that job satisfaction is declining (The Conference Board reports only 45% of Americans were satisfied with their jobs in 2010 as compared to 61% satisfied in 1987), and as we head out of the recession your most talented team members will be presented with options to jump to greener pastures. Even if you’re not in a position of authority at your company, expressing your gratitude to those around you can still have a very positive impact.
One important thing to consider when recognizing employees is how each employee wants to be recognized. For some people cash is king, but others may crave different symbols of gratitude. Some people thrive on being challenged – offer those people the opportunity to run point on a new initiative. But while doing this, it’s also important to make sure you’re giving those people some projects with a reasonable chance of success. While it’s flattering for a while to always be asked to “lead the team in a new direction”, eventually even the most challenge-hearty employees want to have success to show for it.
Some people prefer public recognition. This doesn’t mean you have to call a company meeting to pat Joe on the back. I once worked at a company where we had a traveling trophy of sorts – it was a Dennis Rodman doll. He came complete with a wedding dress. It was passed amongst the sales team to the person who had made the most significant contribution over a certain period of time. It was a public reward, but it was also fun and fit perfectly within our company culture.
Some employees don’t like to be singled out, and prefer the shared sense of accomplishment that comes with achieving a team goal. We use casual Fridays as a reward at our office for that very reason.
These are just some examples of rewards that don’t require a large investment or even a well-thought-out plan to implement. However, if you’re looking for something more formal, we have a wide variety of solutions. In doing research for this blog post, I set out to find the most unique recognition gift that I could on our website (you can find a direct link to our promotional products website here: http://rogards.espwebsite.com/). I was stunned at the variety that I found. Do you have a group of employees who love to tailgate? We have a tailgate grill. Really. And even a collapsible tailgating couch. What more could you ask for?
You don’t have to go over the top to give unique, fitting gifts though. Multi-tools make great gifts for those who love the outdoors. Your tech-savvy employees would love this 5-in-1 Charge Buddy or the Grid-It Organizer for their laptop bags. Thank the people who are organized enough to keep everyone else on track with this “Neat” desk organizer. Frequent travelers would get a lot of use out of a dashboard phone holder that lets them safely follow their smartphone’s driving directions as they drive. Touchscreen gloves are a useful gift for anyone, especially as it gets cold.
You don’t need a big budget to say thank you. Small gifts can be just as meaningful. This maze pen is a great way to thank an employee that helped find a solution to a difficult problem. The “swanky” pen’s bright colors and goofy grin makes it perfect for recognizing employees whose positive attitudes bring smiles to their co-workers’ faces. Another idea – have travel mugs or coffee cups made up with your company logo and a positive praise message (“You’re awesome”, “Good Job!”, or “Team Player”) and give them out throughout the year when someone goes above and beyond. It will make it easier to make showing your gratitude a year-round practice.