How to appreciate your team members, how to achieve joint successes?
Imagine an ideal company in which everything is just like you dreamt of. Your company has worked out values that you follow and they are the main pillars creating your work culture. Employees are happy, smiling, motivated, willing to continuously improve, solve problems together, and appreciate their work. You’re sitting comfortably in your seat, you are discussing plans for another week with your team and thank them for a well-executed project. Sounds beautiful? The realization of this vision is in your hands.
There are plenty of articles about appreciating employees. Today I will tell from my perspective, that is, from a perspective of an employee, how to get closer to achieving the above mentioned vision, focusing on valuing people in the team.
As I previously worked in different companies (corporation, startup, small business, and now the Agency), I have a wide view on the appreciation of people on the team. Valuing employees for a job well done is not always favourably perceived by business owners.
Sometimes employers worry that after being praised, workers will no longer try – you start to think: “When I tell him, he/she will become lazy”. Others avoid praise for fear of employee’s demanding approach, for example: “Praise will only make his head bigger and he will start asking for a bump”. Sometimes employers do not know what to praise a team member for, they assume that if they are not criticized, they know that they do their job well. Often, this approach is also the cause of employee’s decision to leave, which the employer is not aware of. Therefore, let me explain to you why appreciation is key.
From my backyard
On my example, I know the importance of appreciating employees and the form of sending the message to the other person.
In my earlier work, my bosses told me “great job”. Sounds very generally, right? There is nothing wrong in this praise, but it is not specific and as such it affects the well-being of the employee less. Working in Project: People, I have noticed a certain magic. You will see the difference for yourselves.
In the company where I work now, we thank one another after we complete a task, or after we give a piece of advice or assistance. This is also a form of respect and appreciation of the other person’s time. This way, we know right away, what exactly we have been praised for. This is a great solution, because when we praise a person after a while, we can easily forget what we wanted it to appreciate this person for.
Personally and materially
We appreciate a person for a specific task, for a specific work, for example: “Thank you Paulina for preparing the workshop, you were a great help in the organization especially when distributing the cards, great job!” Do you see the difference? Definitely Yes. As I mentioned above, everything depends on the way we speak to another person, and feedback and the intent behind it. It is important that it is expressed in a natural and sincere way, so that the employee knows that we appreciate their effort, which in turn will lead to their greater involvement.
“Cigarette”, not so harmful
You can appreciate people in the team in a variety of ways for example, with word or gesture. In our company we use a couple of tools and techniques that work well. At the end of 2018 in Project: People, Tomasz ran a workshop on our plans and areas in which we want to develop. In the first part, we focused on appreciating each person and the progress they made.
“Cigarette” is a technique that aims to motivate the employee and an indicate the strengths, and the values they bring to the team.
You can use this tool during a meeting with the team or integration. The whole exercise should take about 20 minutes in a group of 10 people. You’ll need white A4 sheets which you will give away to your team.
- Ask each team member to take two cards. On the first sheet of paper, at the bottom, ask them to write vertically their name and “how you’ve changed”, and on the other sheet, their name “What I appreciate about you?”
- Then each person should pass their sheet to a neighbor on the left.
- The person who received the cards from a colleague should write how this person has changed in their opinion, how they have improved, what they appreciate in them, then they fold it and pass it to the next person on the left.
- All team members should get each set of cards, and at the end they should go back to the sender.
Once the exercise is complete, ask participants how they felt in the course of the task and what emotions they felt. You can ask also if anyone wants to read their card. Asking these questions will make participants reflect on them. This exercise gives you a great dose of motivation for further action which in turn boosts productivity and greater employee involvement in developing their skills.
“Advantages for all”
The second good exercise is “Advantages for all”. This is an exercise in which we evaluate what supported our cooperation, what made it good. You can carry it out in a variety of ways. In our company, this worked in the presentation during a team workshop. A photo of each person appeared on a slide, and then each team member presented strengths to this person.
How can you conduct this exercise?
List all the team members and assign 3 facts to each person which you want to appreciate them for. These can include areas which this person has developed in, which they are doing well in and at the end what you value in their work. After your comment, ask the team if they would like to add something. The exercise can be carried out by a team leader and it can be moderated at their sole discretion.
This idea has been with us for a long time. Kudos is a tool to increase motivation among team members. Kudos is a way to say thank you, to pay a compliment, express admiration for the person concerned. It is usually expressed/gifted in public, i.e. in the presence of the team during our weekly meeting. Kudos is given by each team member. In our company we have tested different ways of rewarding. It may be just a card or a gift for work performed or help provided, or it could be both? One way that worked for us was a piece of paper on which we write what we are thanking a given person for. And after receiving the kudos, you can exchange it for a gift (a cinema ticket or a book).
Kudos is given at a weekly standup. It may be anonymous or explicit which means that a person who writes thank you on a card may sign it or remain anonymous. You may also choose whether you want the kudos to be read by all, or only read by the person it was addressed to.
To the point
To summarize the article, is there anything more valuable than a motivated, loyal and efficient employee? It is really up to you how you will manage your team.
You know why we wanted to write this article? Because my team continually inspired me that I could write it, they appreciated my work and effort and thanks to that I constantly develop and it gives me great satisfaction that I can do more. I am proud that I have been working in this company and with such people.
This is the first article that I wrote and I was considering the topic to discuss for a very long time. After giving it some thought and search for valuable knowledge supported by facts, I thought I’d write about valuing employees/team, because it will be authentic. Hence the idea to share my point of view with you that will help you better understand and take care of employee needs. I hope that you will introduce at least one of the motivation techniques to your companies, to reduce the rotation of staff and increase their self-esteem which in turn will allow them to develop on many levels. This is a good tip for employers, bosses, managers and all team managers.
Remember, that your team’s mood and what their day will look like is in your hands, gestures and words.