How To Celebrate Your Amazing Employees During the COVID-19 Crisis

In a recent recommendations list for dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, I mentioned the need to “remember to celebrate” your many new employees working from home. Whether birthdays, career milestones, or going above and beyond, along with the display of incredible resiliency of so many employees, there’s always so much to celebrate with our employees. And remember to thank and recognize others who assist you in your daily work and life in general.

How to celebrate employees effectively from a distance and those around you is not always easy, but it is always possible. To stimulate some celebration ideas for you, consider the following list.

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Top 10 Positive Actions to Take with the COVID-19 Crisis

While many companies have moved to a work from home way of life for the immediate future, we still have companies that are proceeding with business. These helpful actions are a good way to keep your employees healthy and your business running strong during a health crisis, no matter where they are working from.  

  1. Keep employees more informed. Update employees through your company’s intranet website—it’s a single place to find important organizational information.
  2. Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Since health authorities think the virus mainly spreads person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people, encourage sick employees to stay at home and consult their doctor, no matter how minor the symptoms are.
  3. Go virtual for your meetings. To lessen the number of close contact meetings, consider going more virtual with on-line or teleconference meetings. Many leading tech companies are providing free access to their software so people can connect during this time.
  4. Create telecommute options, where possible. If work functions fit and circumstances such as high geographic incidence rates raise a high risk for contracting COVID-19, offer employees the option to work from home.
  5. Practice healthy living. Promote healthy habits by encouraging employees to follow guidelines from the CDC, WHO, and local health authorities, etc.
  6. Purchase supplies. Try to keep your facilities stocked with tissues, soap, and anti-bacterial cleansers to help employees practice healthy living and reduce spread.
  7. Use regular email communications. Send out email communications reminding employees of the right and wrong things to be doing like avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth to prevent spread of germs.  
  8. If someone should get the Coronavirus. Be prepared to have the communication channels available and use managers to inform your entire workforce immediately on how to mitigate risk.  
  9. Show caring concern. Send a get-well card and/or gift basket to your ill employee to let them know you care since no one plans on catching the flu.
  10. Signs for the times. Post signs in restrooms, throughout office or common areas reminding all to wash their hands and wiping down their workstations frequently. 

Trying to accept this new “normal” is difficult. However, businesses that have a strategy, keep the lines of communication open, and understand the ever-changing impacts of positive actions, will weather this storm.

Recognition Reflection: What special steps are you taking for dealing with the COVID-19 virus and helping your employees?

How Saying Thank You Can Be Meaningful or Empty

Saying thank you to someone should be a wonderful expression and witness of our sincere appreciation and gratitude for a person and/or something they have done for us or others.

But what if the speaker of thanks is being manipulative with those two words that many of us long to hear? How do you know if they spoke the words with authenticity? Are they meaningful?

Let’s first examine what the words “thank you” mean. 

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How To Gain Greater Confidence With Giving Recognition

Nathaniel Branden, author of The Power of Self-Esteem, defined confidence as, “our ability to think and to cope with the basic challenges of life.” He said that “confidence is our right to be happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants and to enjoy the fruits of our efforts.”

Often a lack of confidence comes from low self-esteem, insecurity, and self-doubt.

In the work setting, a lack of confidence can affect us in many ways. And in recognizing employees, it can stop you in your tracks from not giving recognition to deserving colleagues and employees.

Let’s look at various ways to improve the level of confidence with giving effective and meaningful recognition.

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Let Me Explain Recognition and Rewards One More Time

What do you do when you want to recognize people? What’s the right reward for employees when you feel they need one?

Recognition, as I have shared before, is mostly an intangible expression of acknowledgment and valuing of a person’s positive behaviors, personal effort, and the great contributions they have made. Recognition is your personal communication and feedback stating how you admire and appreciate someone for what they are doing. Recognition is a gift, not a right.

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How Do You Know When to Recognize or Reward Someone?

The question of when to recognize a person, or whether what they have done merits being rewarded, is a common issue especially for managers.

I believe you must start with defining what you mean by recognition and what rewards are first. Once there is agreement throughout the organization on these two definitions, you will be in much better shape to guide and prescribe when to use each of them appropriately.

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Make Sure You Thank Someone This Month

It’s January and welcome to National Thank You month.

While etiquette professionals and books promote the idea of sending out Thank You Notes, don’t neglect the behavior of saying thank you too.

They have designated January as National Thank You Month. This might have originated from the greeting card industry because of receiving gifts following the Christmas holidays and they want you to buy their printed cards. I know my wife and I dutifully sat down on the last Sunday in December and wrote our Thank You notes to our children. It is a lovely reflective time to treasure and remember what we have received.

Learn to make saying or expressing thanks to those around you more a way of life beyond this designated month.

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Who Is The Hardest Person To Recognize?

Some of us have a hard time recognizing those around us and especially people we associate with at work.

Historically, people have viewed recognition as a top-down behavior where managers and leaders started recognizing employees who reported to them. This likely originated from the military where senior officers presented medals as awards for specific service or achievement in military campaigns. 

With the reduced hierarchy in organizations leading to a reduction in middle managers along with online recognition programs accessible by all employees, they have emancipated the source of who gives recognition.

Recognition is no longer constrained by a person’s position or title and should be multi-directional. 

But there can still be a bias or perception of who should give recognition. So besides considering who should give recognition, what about in the other direction? This raises the question whether some people at different levels of position are harder to recognize that others are.

Who Is the hardest person to recognize?

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Top 10 Ways to Create Thanksgiving at Work

As far as work and Thanksgiving is concerned, everyone will be more excited to leave work to be with family and friends than be thankful for work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be more grateful for the jobs and careers we have. Our challenge is knowing what we each can do to create a more Thanksgiving attitude at work. Check out these Top 10 ideas to shed some light on this idea.

1. Create meaningful work opportunities. In a recent American Management Association (AMA) survey they asked what people are thankful for at work and the highest ranked item is “the professional satisfaction it provides me.” Check in regularly with employees to learn what could make their work more energizing.

2. Encourage positive work relationships. Next on the AMA list was, understandably, one’s coworkers. Often we stop people from communicating and forming friendships at work. Even the Gallup Q12 measures having a best friend at work. Orchestrate opportunities to have fun, break bread, exercise, play and celebrate together.

3. Make sure each “Boss” is a good one. Never take this for granted because a great boss appreciates and values employees. A bad boss can kill them. Working for an uncivil, toxic boss increases the risk of a heart attack by 17% and increases the likelihood of a stroke by 33%. Stop bad boss behavior immediately.

4. Gratitude is even good for you. Well-deserved thanks and expressions of appreciation make an impact on people’s health. The Institute of Heart Math found Individuals who received appreciation and gratitude had greater harmony in their heart rhythms. Don’t think they are just doing their jobs – THANK THEM!

5. Cut out saying negative things to people – period. In high performing teams researchers found the ratio of positive to negative statements directed from manager to team members was 5.6 to 1.These managers gave 5 times more positive statements than negative. Watch your mouth and be more positive!

6. Develop relationships versus “engaging” employees. When we get romantically involved with someone we build a relationship first before popping the engagement question. Same thing at work – focus on the relationships between people. Look at building a person up and connecting with them.

7. Use emails and social media to be social. We are becoming a cryptic, impersonal society in how we communicate in any form of written text. Use the polite social graces of writing “please” and “Thank you so much! I am really grateful.” Not only will you make people feel good they will more likely help you.

8. When you have a good boss, thank them. Here’s an interesting thought from the John Templeton Foundation Study on Gratitude. They found 74% of people never or rarely express gratitude to their boss.  Yet they want their boss to express gratitude to them. Start emulating the actions you want given to you.

9. Never give a gift or an award alone. No matter what tangible form of appreciation you might give someone, always add a card or note to share your feelings and thoughts for the person. Specifically acknowledge the employee for what they have done and share your heartfelt appreciation for their contributions.

10. Start things right with giving thanks. Begin each day with sending out an email of gratitude to someone who has made a difference to you. Put praise and acknowledgments at the beginning of each meeting agenda and have people share the great things happening. If you start right, you will end right.

Choose Your Words with Extra Care When Recognizing People

Giving people recognition is not hard to do. But recognizing those you meet and work with should not be treated so glibly that it is thoughtlessly done.

The words you use to verbally express your appreciation or use in your written or digital thank you notes, need to be done with care and consideration. Put more time into thinking about what you will say and realize the impact it will have on people.

Examine the following ideas closely to pick up on ways your vocabulary choice and phrasing of recognition could change.

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