We spend nearly 40 hours in and around the office during a normal workweek. Add in the time spent working at home or staying late, because finding an ideal work-life balance can be hard, and some team members work closer to 50 or 60 hours a week.
When people spend this much in the office, it’s important to make sure they feel appreciated; in fact, it’s absolutely necessary. A survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that feeling valued at work is a key indicator in job performance and engagement. It’s an essential part of staying motivated to accomplish work.
But between client meetings, travel and the daily humdrum of routine, it can be hard to make appreciation a priority on your to-do list. Introducing . . . the Kudos Board.
Your mode of appreciation doesn’t have to be a board. It can be a wall, a corner, the chalkboard in your lobby, or the fridge in your break room. Wherever it is, designate a space in your office to display notes of gratitude.
One my clients, Tom Turner, CEO of Nashville-based DSi, created the Applause Board, a space for team members to fill out cards thanking fellow coworkers. The board is located in the company’s kitchen where everyone can see it and participate.
For your Kudos Board to work, people have to know it’s there. Share the news with your team about the new initiative. Need an example? Be the first to recognize someone.
Start with, “I appreciate you because…” Then use a specific example. Avoid being cheesy or using clichés like “being a team player” or “giving 100 percent.” Your note should thank or recognize someone for a specific action that taught the team a lesson or moved the company forward.
Your kudos could sound like this:
“I appreciate you for working overtime to help coordinate the company outing. The event was a success and we all realize that it didn’t plan itself! Thanks for the help (and the fun)!”
Or . . .
“You killed it last Monday when you arrived an hour early to meet with a client who had no other time open. Your commitment to providing an excellent customer experience and being available really left a great impression on the client and the team! Way to live out the company values!”
The notes can be casual, fun, and full of your company’s culture.
Each quarter at DSi, company leaders collect kudos from the Applause Board and select four that best represent each of the company’s four core values. Then, caricatures of the chosen team members are displayed on the company’s “Wall of Fame” for the entire quarter. At the end of the year, team members vote on an overall winner for each core value and these individuals spin a “Wheel of Destiny” for additional prizes.
While not every company has recognition as deeply engrained into its culture as DSi, that’s not to say that it shouldn’t be. You can start small by rewarding one team member from the Kudos Board each quarter. Buy him or her lunch, or send them out on a nice date with his or her spouse. Show up at work with a bottle of wine or a gift card to their favorite ice cream place.
Showing gratitude isn’t difficult, and oftentimes can end up providing the most fun you’ll have all week. Start an appreciation board today and let your team members know that their work is valued.