9 Creative Ways First-Time Managers Can Show Appreciation For Their Staff, Even If You Work Remote
Creative Ways to Appreciate Your to Staff
We all want to be valued for our contributions to the team and recognized for hard work and success.
But are you aware that we feel the same happiness from receiving gratitude from others and when we show appreciation towards others?
Actually, depending on the research, results show that you may even feel better giving than receiving!
I don’t suggest this list of ideas as a checklist for you to use; rather consider it a way to start brainstorming your own ideas.
The biggest piece of advice I could share around gratitude would be to make it genuine.
People will always be able to spot insincere or manipulative acts, and it will only harm your reputation and relationships, not build them up. If you build habits around how frequently you show appreciation (only around the holidays or after someone has put in their notice and is leaving the company) it may cheapen the value of what you have to say.
So take a cautionary look at this list, see what resonates with you (which may change over time or with different relationships) and give gratitude a try – I bet you’ll be surprised the impact you’ll have on yourself and on others.
I also suggest that you adapt your ideas to how your receiver will see the value, not just what you think is valuable.
Knowing personality types can be helpful, but sometimes after working with someone you will be able to gauge what’s important to them and be able to tailor ways you show appreciation to them accordingly.
For example, a physical gift may carry more significance to your peer who you’ve known for many years, but a handwritten note could give your introvert staff a smile a mile wide.
Just because something does not arrive with a bow for you to unwrap, doesn’t mean the gift is any less significant.
Sometimes these are more meaningful gifts, when it comes 5o showing your gratitude or appreciation toward a colleague.
1. Schedule One-on-One Time Just to Catch Up and Shoot the Breeze
As simple as this sounds, we often get all tied up in the day-to-day tasks of our jobs. We are fixated on the work, which naturally means time for other non-essential tasks tend to fall away.
Simply setting time to focus on casual conversation - without distractions - can be enjoyable and appreciated by you both. The gift of your time can speak volumes!
2. Encourage them to take PTO… and mean it!
The joy and relief of a nice vacation can be so appreciated.
Plan ahead to let them know you are serious – train up on critical tasks, so they aren’t overwhelmed when they get back from vacation or feel they have to constantly be tapped into email.
Block out their first day back so they can catch up on emails without the interruption of meetings.
3. Slow Down Long Enough to Give Public Praise If you are in a constant barrage of meetings, consider taking some time to give compliments to your team members.
This could be a formal time dedicated at the beginning of meetings, or could come naturally throughout the agenda.
You don’t need to wait until there is an earth-shattering success to highlight someone; it could be as simple as thinking differently to automate a process that’s been a pain point for months, or just having a consistently positive attitude.
You’d be surprised what a contagious habit this can become to give shoutouts to others.
4. Compliment Someone Who Isn’t Present
Almost as good as group recognition is talking about someone without them present.
I’ve heard this referred to as gushing (opposite of gossiping) where you frequently brag about team members to others. It will generally make its way back to them and allow you to foster a team culture of building others up.
If giving out verbal compliments makes you clam up, consider sending written compliments to someone’s manager in an email, especially if you don’t work or interact with them frequently.
I especially enjoy doing this if I’ve had a particularly positive interaction with a check-out clerk or customer service at a store; I will call and ask to speak with their manager and rave about them.
5. Send a Spontaneous Text or Memes Sending someone an encouraging text, image, or just something to let them know you were thinking of them can be super powerful.
I’m always surprised by how a challenging day can be flipped completely upside down just by text or Slack me to say ‘I’ve noticed you hustling, keep up the hard work!’
Just because you’re not in the office together doesn’t mean you need to let your team think they are alone on an island.
Sure, you might not be able to do the same team lunches or happy hour events. But consider sending something to let them know you are thinking of them and appreciate them.
You don’t need to break the bank and this doesn’t have to be all the time.
Think about dedicating a certain amount in your monthly budget, the way you would invest in yourself and your professional development, in investing in your team and relationships.
6. Something Green
Consider shopping local or sending their favorite flower or color if you happen to know. If you’re extra crafty, maybe assemble your own bouquet and drop off to them.
Flowers can last a good while and bring some color into a remote working environment. Groupon offers lots of deals and there are even shops that offer same-day delivery if you really want to boost someone’s mood quickly.
And if you are a frequent flower sender, consider loyalty programs. I am fond of Blooms Today because their prices include shipping (instead of surprising you at the end of checkout) and they even offer next day delivery usually without a fee. Flower delivery will usually run upwards of $50, so plan accordingly.
7. Drop a Postcard in the Mail Am I the only one that still gets excited when there’s something in the mail for me that isn’t a bill or a catalog? I enjoy sending (and receiving) mail, but to show your gratitude keep it simple. Be specific about highlighting a characteristic or recent accomplishment by jotting down a quick note to your colleague.
I used to enjoy dropping notes of encouragement off at folks’ desks, but since I now work remotely I’ve taken to encouraging and funny postcards. Your message doesn’t have to be long to have lasting impact. There are lots of great postcard books on Amazon – whether you’re looking to share inspirational quotes, beautiful scenery, or funny cartoons there’s something for everyone.
Added bonus – my mail lady always gets a kick out of seeing some of the designs when she picks them up, so you might spread a little joy out into the world while you’re at it!
8. Gift Your Discounted Trial
I bet you couldn’t name a product that didn’t have a “box-of-the-month” dedicated to it.
Show how much you appreciate (and know) someone on your team by sending them some of their favorite treats – it could be as simple as their favorite candy, a new brand of coffee beans, or perhaps they love jerky.
Maybe you aren’t sure but want to send a self-care box to indulge their senses and encourage them to relax. There’s a box for everyone (even yourself!) and many times they offer the first month at a discounted rate so you don’t break your budget. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve found:
$10 for a half-dozen individually wrapped Cheryl’s Cookies shipping included
$35 for a self-care box with 6-8 surprise wellness goodies
9. Send a Gift Card
You can always send a gift card for someone’s favorite restaurant or meal delivery service – on you.
This is a nice option if you’re just not sure exactly what they’ll appreciate or if you don’t know them as well to choose a more creative gift.
Especially if you decide to share a virtual coffee or lunch together just to catch up – no ulterior motive, no work talk, just talking about life and how things are going.
Pro Tip: You can have the impact of sending a handwritten note with your gift card, without having to worry about how legible your penmanship is or having to remember to buy postage. Use Phoenix's very own HandWrytten to send handwritten notes accompanied by a gift card to your colleagues in time it would take to write them an email.
Creative Ways First-Time Managers Can Show Appreciation For Their Staff Without Breaking the Bank
You don’t need to invest much time or money, and you can use this list of ideas whether you are a young professional getting started in the workforce, a first-time manager, or a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience.
The old adage is true, it’s the thought that counts. Showing gratitude consistently and genuinely can have an amazing impact!
So whichever ideas you choose to build into your routine, remember to keep it genuine and true to you. Gifts from the heart are always cherished and appreciated.
When in doubt, think about a time when a teammate showed their gratitude for you – how did they express their appreciation, how did it make you feel, and how can you take what you’ve learned and share it with others?
Start there and let that guide you towards ideas on how you can show appreciation and gratitude for your team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marissa Graves is the Director of Accounting & Finance at Sportiqe Apparel Co. a global, lifestyle apparel company, that is committed to delivering elevated basics using high-quality fabrics, innovative designs and on-trend fit that not only look and feel good, but provide superior comfort no matter the occasion.