Ho, Ho, Happy Holidays. As we roll into December, most of us are thinking about how we are going to say thank you to our customers, vendors and employees. We’re figuring out gifts and bonuses while simultaneously trying to squeeze the last few drops out of the year. In all the fervor of the season, don’t miss out on an opportunity to give the greatest holiday gift ever…to yourself!
That’s right, I’m urging you to be selfish while the rest of the world is talking about selflessness. Bear with me, you’ll understand.
You see, there is a missed opportunity that, if you seize it, will pay huge dividends down the road. It comes in the form of the bonuses, gifts or recognition we give our employees. We all understand that we have to acknowledge their contributions to the mission. Without them, we would not have reached our current state but don’t miss out on optimizing this opportunity.
We are all aware of the work of Ivan Pavlov on Classical Conditioning (remember his dogs) or BF Skinner on Operant Conditioning. In both cases, behavior that are reinforced become repeated. In my post, Are You Providing LASR Precision Praise, I urged you to find one thing each employee does right every day. If you managed to do that, now is the time to capitalize. If not, now is a great time to start. Here is how to maximize your return and give yourself the greatest gift.
The following steps should be done by the highest-level manager that interacts with team members.
The 5 Steps to Giving Yourself the Best Gift Ever
- Take some time and write down some highlights of each of your team member’s year. Think of something they did that is extraordinary. The trick is to not compare them to each other but rather find a behavior, event or something they did over the course of the year where they stretched and reached beyond themselves, where they exceeded their own, self-perceived capacity.
- Assign to this act, behavior or event one or more of your organization’s core values that were demonstrated or highlighted by this event.
- Write a handwritten note to your team member thanking them for their contribution over the last year and mention the event and how it demonstrated the core value(s) you have assigned to the event.
- Personally hand the team member your gift or bonus, with the note, and mention the noteworthy (literally, see how I did that) event and thank them verbally.
- Watch their eyes light up like a Christmas tree!
The real trick is not to make this the only time you recognize your team members. If you have been recognizing them continuously, their engagement will grow. If, however, this is the only time you recognize their contribution then you will get a brief “bump” followed by a backslide towards disengagement as your team realizes that your gratitude was insincere.If, however, recognition is a regular practice, your gift to yourself will be a team that covers your six, steps up when needed and relieves your stress and lower stress is the greatest gift there is.
Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and a Smashing Samhain.