Ten Ways To Appreciate…

How to Appreciate Staff

Ten Ways to Appreciate…

Appreciate who?  You have to fill in the blank.

Your Boss?
The Facilities Department?

From time to time, we all need a little love at work.  We need to appreciate others.  And when we give this kind of love, we are more open to receive it.  Appreciating members of your staff or those folks who work alongside every day takes very little money, but it does take some creativity and planning.

Now I’m going to admit a little cheating here – I come from a Residence Life and Housing background.  I was an RA, a Hall Director, and club advisor.  So I did this shit all the time.  It comes easy to me.  But the sentiment is still the same, and every now and then it does help to just do something fun and frivolous with your co-workers or for your team or your supervisor.

And these days, you even have some Hallmark Holidays that you can use to appreciate staff and supervisors.

Boss’ Day

Administrative Professionals Day

Employee Appreciation Day

National Nurses Day

Check out this website to find more of these days to recognize and appreciate.

Alright, let’s get this party started!

1.  Give them a “You Rock” Award

Get an index card.  Or some card stock.  And go find a rock.  I’m serious.  Just a small rock.  Glue the rock to the middle of the card.  Now get some Mr. Sketch Markers and draw, decorate, write around the rock.  At some point, you’ll get a thin sharpie or a ballpoint pen and write, “Kris, You Rock!”  The last “You Rock” award I received was November 22, 1999.  Yeah, I know, that was a long time ago.  But I’ve kept it.  Most noteworthy here – I remember exactly who gave it to me.  And it sits on my desk with some of my other goodies that make me remember how great a work life I am having.  Want to give these away?  Here are some FREE samples you can use!

Top Ten Ways to Appreciate Staff

2.  Decorate their Door

First of all, you have to be a little crafty here – either staying late or coming in early.  But you can make streamers with old magazines or newspaper, print out colored letters that spell out their name, or make a big banner to put over their door with that “Congratulations” or the “Happy Boss’ Day” line on it.  You and your co-workers can sign it – you can put the date on it, you can blow up a picture of your supervisor and glue it to the banner or the door.  Make it fun, make it colorful, make it unforgettable.

3.  Create a “Hang In There” trophy

This is best done as a group award that can be circulated at weekly staff meetings or social occasion.  Get a hanger.  Seriously.  Get some cardstock that you can cut and place around the top of the hanger and have it say “Hang In There”.  At every meeting, present the trophy.  Perhaps this was the team member who worked through the weekend to finish a presentation.  Maybe it’s the staff member whose dad was just admitted into the hospital.  The staff member is awarded the Hanger, and then he or she must decorate it with one personal thing before it’s handed over to the next person at the next meeting.  By the end of the calendar year or quarter or whatever, you’ve got a fancy hanger that had graced the offices of all of your teammates at the time they needed it the most.

4.  Make them a personalized card for whatever the occasion

I got a really great birthday card last year from my co-workers.  They all know my fondness (obsession?) with Peyton Manning, so they made me this card and presented it with cake and ice cream.  When you can do something personal – when the teammate understands that you really know them well and can appreciate their hobbies and, LOL, obsessions – it shows the care and appreciation all the more.  And it would have been a total bummer if Tom Brady had been on that card.  I would have had to quit.

top ten ways to appreciate staff top ten ways to appreciate staff

5.  Bring them a little “Pick Me Up” Gift

More than six years ago, I was having a particularly tough week at work.  One of my staff members called me on it.  “What’s up, McPeak?”  I responded, “you know what, I just can’t seem to find my center this week.”  The next afternoon, he had left me a cold Diet Coke and a full bag of Red Vines on my desk.   The note attached to it said, “Just a little something to help you find your center.  Remember, even Madonna has her off days.”

That note stays taped to my computer monitor, even six years later, because it helps remind me that I’m going to have an off day every once in a while.  And it’s okay.  Because even Madonna has them.

That gift probably cost no more than $5.  And it STILL makes a difference for me.  I really appreciate that this staff member went out of his way to make me feel special.

Top Ten Ways to Appreciate Staff

6.  Email them and thank them for a very specific task that they did very well.

I have two letters from administrators during my time at Webster University in Saint Louis.  One was from the Dean of Students, thanking me for a great redesign of the RA training manual.   The second one was from the President of the University, thanking me for my assistance on a very difficult Town Hall Meeting that he attended with students.  Right, these weren’t emails, but email wasn’t as accessible in “those days” as it is now.  Regardless, when someone on your team really hits it out of the park on a special project, show him how much you appreciate the effort.

7.   Make an announcement at a staff development session or a big meeting with lots of people!

Sometimes it’s just the verbal recognition that your team members need.  So maybe after you write that really nice thank-you email, make sure you take time at an event to announce your gratitude for that job well done or project deftly handled.  Let their colleagues and other managers know how much you appreciate them.  It’s awesome to hear your name called when you are attending a meeting with your peers.

8.  Take them out for coffee

Seems like this is actually more of something you could do to appreciate a supervisor – if you have a big team and you eventually take all of your team members out for coffee, that could be expensive.  But it’s a great gesture either way.  I have been blessed to be walking distance from a coffee shop at my last three offices – making this super easy for me.  Who doesn’t like to go out for coffee every now and then?  I know I definitely do.

9.  Challenge them.

Most of all, this is an appreciation concept because it shows your team member/employee that you know they are capable of doing more and raising the bar.  So when someone has done an exceptional job on a project, give them something a little harder next time and let them know that you have confidence in them.  Give them the opportunity to continue impressing you.

10.  Bake (or buy) Cupcakes

Almost nothing says “You Rock” better than some homemade cupcakes from the boss!  Or from the team!  Or from the colleague.  And sincerely, you can make cupcakes at home with just a box and a bunch of cupcake liners.  You don’t have to make them from scratch.  I said “homemade cupcakes” not “from-scratch cupcakes”.  But if you absolutely can’t bake for crap, then buying donuts or cupcakes from the store is just as appreciative.

BONUS – Just.  Say.  Thank.  You.

Since it sucks to do a ton of hard work and get crickets from your co-workers, you need to make the little effort.  When an employee has gone above and beyond – or when your boss has really gone out of her way to help you with an assignment or deadline – give them appreciation and say Thank You.  Even just the simple expression of thanks with a smile and a “you did a really great job and I am very grateful” can be enough.

In conclusion, appreciation isn’t hard.  But you do have to let it become a habit.  And you do need to let it be across the board.  Ensure that even the tricky employees and supervisors get appreciation as well.  Not everyone is happy in their work or feels like they are making a difference.  Most of all, when everyone in the workplace knows that you are paying attention and thanking them is a really big deal.

Here – I’ll role model for you…

Hey reader!  I am so grateful that you are here reading my post today.  Nothing makes me happier than knowing I could make a difference in your world, even if just for a few minutes.  Thank You!

–Kris McPeak

P.S.  Thanks to The Muse and The Balance for motivating me with this article.

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