Celebrating Your Corporate Family®

Can you imagine spending an entire lifetime with your parents and siblings—yet rarely celebrating anything together?  How about gathering as a family for a holiday once every fifty years? Or maybe there’s a special achievement—but why not wait a few decades to recognize it?

This sounds completely ridiculous, right?  After all, what family would ever postpone acknowledging important milestones or accomplishments?  How about many—far too many—companies, or what LEADon calls the Corporate Family®!

Recently LEADon team members had an executive, who is retiring after five decades with the same company, describe his disappointment over his departure.  While he’s pleased a final celebration is being planned, he lamented, “I just wish they had recognized my achievements while I was actually with the company rather than waiting until now.”

Sad? You bet.  Shameful that an organization would have any employee—let alone a long-term, faithful one—ever feel this unappreciated? Absolutely!

The good news is that more and more companies are recognizing the importance of creating a true Culture of Appreciation within their organizations.  Indeed, LEADon has been a proponent of this essential aspect of the Corporate Family® experience for many years and has expressed the importance of developing these kinds of cultures in both of our leadership books, The Leading Edge (2010) and Corporate Family Matters (2010).

While business is important, it is also about being personal in the process.  Most employees want to be valued as well as connected to like people—not just personnel.  And you should want to appreciate your talent too.  Why?  Because it pays off in productivity.  Actually, one study revealed that “consistent performers of great work—the very best employees—are 20% more likely to work at organizations with excellent recognition or promotion practices” (see the March 2015 article in Entrepreneurs entitled “Employee Appreciation Day: 5 Last-Minute Ideas, and 1 Essential Message” by David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom).

So how can you add more appreciation to your culture that will be meaningful to members of your Corporate Family?  Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Start some unique award programs, for instance, “Random Acts of Kindness,” “Goes Above and Beyond,” or even “Most Generous Employee” awards.
  • Establish a Flexible Schedule Day where once a month employees can choose to take an hour or two to go to the gym, have an extra-long lunch, or come in late/leave early.
  • Bring in a masseuse or manicurist to treat your team members while at work.
  • Give “Just Because” gift cards (coffee, tea, lunch, movie, etc.) for your employees to enjoy.  These don’t have to be pricey—remember, it’s the thought that counts!
  • Have a Fun Food Day every now and then for your company.  Try a “Sundae Monday,” “Taco Tuesday,” “Waffle Wednesday”—you get the idea!
  • Put up a “Thank You” Board where everyone can see it, and be the first one each week to add a note about someone in your company.  Let others join in with their words of praise for team members too.
  • Ask for input from your team about what would make them feel appreciated.  You can design a survey for employees to fill out, with or without names, and then start implementing their ideas as soon as possible.

Creating opportunities to celebrate simply cannot be a once in a lifetime experience.  You and your team need to show appreciation for one another—regularly and consistently—just like you would in your personal families.  Your employees will be happier and more productive, and your organization should become far more profitable.  Now that’s something for everyone to celebrate!

photo credit: http://blog.bagsandbowsonline.com