GREAT Recognition: 5 Key Ingredients to Events that Delight and Energize Teams
Recognition events! Regardless of your industry, you can probably agree that your staff and leaders are your most valuable asset. So why not let them know just how much they mean to you through an appreciation event!
Recognition events are a great way to show, actually better yet, to prove how appreciated and respected they are by their organization, peers, and the people they serve. (When done poorly though, there can be unintended consequences and the opposite impression be left.)
The key to success is finding the right balance between an event that’s both fun and practical – one that creates memorable experiences while also giving staff and leaders the tools and resources they need to grow and succeed. How do you leverage the best of both worlds? How do you ensure that all the time, energy and resources invested into this event are worthwhile? We have some tips for you! Check out our list of GREAT ways to get this appreciation party started!
An appreciation event is a perfect way to communicate just how much your people matter. The key is to make sure that those who are being appreciated actually hear and see the gratitude expressed by those closest to them. If you’re hosting an event for healthcare workers, for example, gather those stories of gratitude from patients and showcase those during recognition events. People want to hear how their own actions have impacted others. People don’t often take the time to step back and see just how much they’re valued and how important their work is – so let them see it!
When it comes to celebrating your staff, you want to make sure you’re doing it with their best interests in mind. While a theme can be fun, don’t get carried away with the small details that take away from the core idea behind the celebration itself – what the people you’re celebrating need most right now. For example, during our Nurses Week event, we focused on resiliency as that’s what nurses needed most; from education content to celebrity videos to the prizes, it was all about self-care, busting burnout and resiliency rebooting. Themes, decorations and swag can all be fun additions to your event, but remember, it is not the focus. Listen to what the people you’re celebrating need most, and make sure that’s at the centre of your event.
Hosting a fun and enjoyable event is, of course, the goal, but in order to make it worthwhile for attendees, you need to give them something concrete to walk away with. You want people to leave feeling energized and inspired. You want to give people tools, strategies or resources they can use following the event to help kickstart some sort of change. Habits are formed slowly with one small change. Rah-rah is temporary; real is relevant long-term. Let your event give your people this one thing they need to help them take that small step forward.
Planning an event can be challenging. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the big things – the speeches, the logistics, marketing, which of course all matter, but it is often the small micro-moments of appreciation that people remember most. It’s things like the fun T-shirts that were handed out or the compliment cards that were being passed around that people most appreciate and remember the event by. It’s fine to have a certain vision of the event but remember; there’s a bigger picture to consider – why you’re doing this and who it’s for. In other words, don’t lose sight of the big picture and plan accordingly based on what really matters: the people!
T: Team Oriented
When planning focused appreciation events, we often worry about making others feel left out. One simple way to make sure everyone feels included? Be inclusive! Make your promotional messages a “we” and “us” kind of thing that indicates you’re all in this together. For example, during our Nurses Week appreciation event, we focused on inclusive messaging like “Come celebrate with your nurses” or “We are celebrating our nurses, and we can’t do it without you.” It maybe was during nurses’ week, but it was for everyone! By pushing a team-oriented message throughout all your planning, communications, and flow of the event, you can ensure everyone feels welcomed and included. Please consider this when deciding how to include part-time and casual folks or remote workers when you have on-site events; those you don’t include may get the message they are less important. And we know everyone is important to you! Most of the time, not everyone can come; however, everyone needs to feel they matter.
Done well, recognition events can be a wise investment; in our turnover tsunami, one might argue you can’t afford NOT to host recognition events. Appreciating and recognizing employees while giving them tools and strategies to move forward are great ways to increase satisfaction and retention. With GREAT tips, you’ll be one step closer to an appreciation event that will leave people feeling satisfied and valued.
Psst… healthcare friends – have you started planning your appreciation event for Nurses Week yet? Feel free to follow the GREAT formula above, or let us take planning off your plate. Reach out to [email protected] to learn more.
Last week I shared a conversation that I had about why bullying is even possible in professional environments with Renee Thompson, an internationally renowned expert in bullying and incivility. Renee has a course that could be helpful if bullying is out of control where you work. Check it out here.