Make us your home page
Career Q&A | By Liz Reyer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Even in hard times, managers should find time to thank staff

QWhat advice do you have for showing appreciation to my team for a strong year despite hard business times? I don't have a lot of budget but want them to know that they are appreciated.

A: Match the form of appreciation to fit the individuals' preferences to make the strongest statement.

What, exactly, do you appreciate? Is it the team's performance as a whole? The way one person steps up to help meet a deadline while another finds more efficient ways to do the work and another takes the time to train co-workers on new skills? To go beyond a generic "nice job" and acknowledge the specific contributions that each individual has made, take the time to think this through for each person before you take outward action.

Then consider the ways in which people like to be acknowledged. Begin by understanding what you prefer. Then set that aside, because it's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking everyone would like what you prefer. Instead, ask each person what they'd like in terms of acknowledgment and — very importantly — what they would not like. Not everyone wants to be called up on stage for a round of applause, and missing the mark can backfire.

Finally, get concrete about your budget parameters. Does "don't have a lot of budget" really mean no money? If you do have some budget, think about how far it can go if allocated per person. If your organization has vague policies, ask your boss for specific amounts so you can make an appropriate plan.

Appreciation is best as a year-round approach, so build an appreciation plan that you can launch now and continue into 2011.

The elements of the plan should include a variety of ways to show appreciation: time, money, tangible items, public praise, private praise and shared experiences. What do these mean in practice? Ask your team for ideas, and try these:

• Note cards for quick thank-you notes.

• Small gift cards.

• One-hour "get out of work free" certificates.

• Time in staff meetings for public acknowledgment.

• Team events during the workday. If no budget is available, it could include a potluck or trip to a park or other public place.

Think twice before you schedule events outside of working hours. While these may seem like a fun "perk" for employees, they can be seen as an extension of work time that cuts into personal time, especially around the busy holiday season.

Put all this together and create a plan that will help you stay on track. Have a goal for expressing appreciation, breaking it down into weekly and/or monthly steps. For example, four notes each month, semi-annual workday events, etc. To get started — and for immediate impact — have an event where you provide general appreciation for all of your team members' contributions. Then, without fanfare, begin to implement your ongoing appreciation activities.

People like to have their contributions acknowledged, but one size does not fit all. Even with a small budget, you can find ways to build your team through appropriate praise and rewards.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes.

Even in hard times, managers should find time to thank staff 12/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  2. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  3. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  4. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]
  5. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]