How to show your staff you really care…Tips on Staff Appreciation Events
One of the most common requests I get is to speak at staff appreciation events (volunteers, staff, leadership, alumni, you name it!), There are a number of powerful ways in which we can acknowledge the people who contribute so much to our organizations and associations.
There are however some hesitations that people have when hosting appreciation events..
- Will people show up?
- Will people feel “forced” to come (hense negating the intention of it being a positive experience for them)?
- What should our budget be for the appreciation event?
- How much effort is enough so they feel valued and appreciated?
- What should we do at the events? What types of activities should we include?
Before I share my tips and strategies, let me first acknowledge the fact that just by having an appreciation event is in itself winning half the battle because you’re demonstrating that your people matter and that you value them. I can honestly tell you that a lot of organizations and associations don’t do events like this at all or instead they will use tokenism. A popular form of tokenism is to hand out awards which don’t truly reflect the appreciation or sentiment of how the organization feels about that person. Most awards are normally given out during staff meetings and are given fairly quickly but have little to no impact on the person receiving them.
Appreciation events are a positive way of communicating to someone that they are not only a valued member of the team but also that they are an asset to your organization and you want their employee experience to be the best it can be. Whether it’s your first appreciation event or you’re a veteran at putting these events together, everything is a learning experience and it gives you an opportunity to see what’s working and what has a positive impact.
Here are three hacks to make the most of your appreciation events:
For off-site appreciation events, have someone at the door greet each person that walks in so that they feel welcomed and your event has that personal touch. Additionally you can also put up welcome signs so that there is no feeling of “being lost and not knowing where to go, which can frustrate people.” Make them feel like the most important people in the world, from the invite to the clarity of how to get there to the greeting they get when they arrive.
For example, the City of Lloydminster handed out branded tuques, gloves and all kinds of fun things with members of senior team greeting everyone as they arrived. Some attendees were even spotted wearing their toques at the event!
- Fun Factor
Remember that having fun is paramount for any event. Make the event enjoyable and think of creative ways to create a positive experience for people so that they walk away from the event with a memorable experience. Consider giving a swag bag as a surprise at the end so that the event not only begins but also ends in a fun and positive way.
Community Living Haldimand amped up the fun by giving out popcorn with gummy worms. Who didn’t love those treats as a kid and we don’t usually have them as an adult. And they packaged it up in a really fun whimsical way. Very noticeable for sure!
Have people do something with what you’re teaching them so that they can have the longevity of that event. It’s not just a nice thing to attend, but there’s actually something they can incorporate into their work life, their personal life, their community and which can improve things on the whole.
An incredible sponsor at the Spark Women’s Leadership Conference decided to not only sponsor my keynote, but put a book in everyone’s hands to fuel sustainability of the message. And they didn’t just put it in their bag. At the end of my keynote, the Surerus folks and planning committee started coming in from all sides, like on an Oprah show “and you get a book and you get a book!” It brought huge laughter and greater gratitude than if it was simply sitting in everyone’s swag bags.
These are just a few ideas, however (as you can probably tell) I LOVE this topic. Have an event coming up? Let’s brainstorm how it can be beyond amazing at any budget! Jump into my calendar anytime here.
Want to check out more resources about how you can recognize other’s greatness? Check out these articles: