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Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Work Without Spending Money

Many organizations spend more money than they have to on employee recognition gifts and appreciation programs that often involve bonuses, paid time off, contests, gifts, and other expensive forms of compensation. What employees want most is to know they’re doing a good job.

Giving feedback in the workplace is the cheapest, most effective, and often overlooked form of employee recognition. Employees want to know how they’re performing, and most employees get little to no positive or negative feedback at work. They may not want to hear negative feedback, but employees want to know if they aren’t meeting expectations.

In several of Candid Culture’s training programs, I give participants a box of questions to help coworkers set expectations and improve workplace communication.  Some of the questions include:

  • Do you prefer to receive information via email, voicemail, or text message?
  • Are you a big picture or a detail-oriented person?
  • What are your pet peeves at work?
  • What type of work do you like to do the most? What type of work do you like to do the least?
  • What do you wish I would start, stop, and continue doing?

Participants use the questions during the training, and I am consistently amazed at how often training participants ask what their coworkers wish they would start, stop and continue doing. I assume employees will be hesitant to ask for feedback in front of a group of peers. But training participants consistently tell me that they get almost no feedback at work, and they’re desperate for the information.

Here’s How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Work Without Spending Money:

  1. Give clear, specific, and timely positive and negative feedback. Employees want to know how they’re performing.
  2. Ask what type of work employees really want to do, and let them do that work most of the time.
  3. Ask what skills employees want to learn, and give them a chance to attain those skills.
  4. Write handwritten notes of appreciation.

Employees at Candid Culture get their birthdays off paid. We often buy employees lunch, give bonuses, and have a generous time-off policy. Those perks are important and do help retain employees. But monetary rewards never replace or supersede the value of being aware of employees’ performance and caring enough to tell employees the truth.


Tell your coworkers you appreciate them – Valentines for coworkers

Today I’m having lunch with people I worked with twenty years ago. Twenty years. I have long forgotten the projects we worked on, the deadlines, and deliverables that were important at the time. What I do remember, are Jim and Siobhan. Some of my closest friends and the people most important to me in the world, are the people I’ve worked with.

It makes sense that we make friends at work, it’s where we spend a lot of time.  And the people we work with make work fun or miserable.

There is a considerable amount of research citing the connection between having good business relationships and employee engagement, retention, and performance. When we feel we belong and have good relationships at work, we are happier and do better work. It makes perfect sense.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about my coworkers who I traveled with for weeks on end, who endured a CEO who made us practice and re-write presentations until 1:00 am for a meeting the next morning, and the coworkers I worked with at the World Trade Center. As much as I appreciated and cared about the people I worked with, I’m not sure how often I told them that they made my work world better.

Valentine’s Day is a day we express appreciation for the people closest to us. Don’t limit your appreciation to your loved ones at home; include your coworkers who make your work fun and who help you get things done. Of course, I hope you’ll express appreciation more than once a year, but Valentine’s Day is an occasion not to miss.

Write the people you work with, who matter most to you, a handwritten note that they’ll keep for a long, long time. You can see our assortment of greeting cards for the workplace here. I’ll admit that I collect stationery and love giving and receiving handwritten notes. I suspect the people you work with will appreciate receiving a handwritten note too.

CLICK HERE to see all of our greeting cards.


Say Thank You to Employees

Say Thank You to EmployeesIf a friend asked you to do something, you did it, and she didn’t say thank you, you’d probably think twice the next time she asked you for something. The people you work with are not different.

If you don’t say thank you to employees, they too will stop doing things you think are important. Human beings thrive on recognition and relationships. We need both to survive. And when we don’t feel connected or appreciated, we find appreciation elsewhere.

If you think saying “thank you” to the people you work with is unnecessary, consider this example. An overwhelmed employee feels strapped for time. She produces a 30-page report every month that takes hours of her time. No one has ever talked with her about how the report is used and why it’s important. So when she is overwhelmed and decides that something needs to go, she stops doing work that appears not to add value—the 30-page report. It turns out the report reflects her department’s results and is reviewed by the CEO, CIO, CFO, and COO. Oops.

There are managers who think that a paycheck is enough of a thank you to employees (old school) and that any other thank you to employees is unnecessary (this doesn’t work). Human beings want to make a difference.We don’t like doing tasks we perceive as not being impactful. So tell the people you work with that their work matters by saying thank you, and how you say thank you matters. Saying, “Thanks for doing such a great job on that project” doesn’t go nearly as far as saying, “Thank you for taking over the Briggs proposal. You shepherded the proposal from beginning to end and made sure no detail was overlooked. You made all of us look good and we would not have won the business without you.” Like all feedback, specific feedback is meaningful and drives future behavior. Vague feedback feels inauthentic and doesn’t tell the recipient what to replicate in the future.

Onto why it’s important to say “I’m sorry.” Some people think that saying you’re sorry puts you in a weak position and that you will lose employees’ respect. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Strong people admit when they’re wrong. Weak people can’t admit mistakes.Admitting fault ingratiates you to other people. Refusing to take responsibility alienates you.

It’s very frustrating to work hard and never be told “thank you.” Likewise, it’s upsetting when people don’t apologize for dropping the ball and making mistakes. It’s so easy to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry,” and it costs nothing. The more you demonstrate appreciation for the people you work with and take responsibility for your mistakes, the harder people will work on your behalf.

Say Thank You to Employees


Tell your coworkers you appreciate them – Valentines for coworkers

valentines for coworkersWhenever I leave a job, the thing I take with me are the relationships. The projects and deliverables quickly become distant memories, but the people and the experiences we shared together stay with me. Some of my closet friends and the people most important to me in the world are the people I’ve worked with. It makes sense that we make friends at work; it’s where we spend a lot of time.  And the people we work with make work fun or miserable.

There is a considerable amount of research citing the connection between having good business relationships and employee engagement, retention, and high performance. When we feel we belong and have good relationships at work, we are happier and do better work. It makes perfect sense.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about my coworkers with whom I spent weeks on the road, who endured a presentation, practice session for an upcoming town hall meeting that lasted until 1:00 am, and the coworkers I worked with in the World Trade Center. As much as I appreciated and cared about the people I worked with, I not sure how often I told them that they made my work world better.

Valentine’s Day is a day we express appreciation for the people closest to us. Don’t limit your appreciation to your loved ones at home; include your coworkers who make your work fun and who help you get things done. Of course, I hope you’ll tell express appreciation more than once a year, but Valentine’s Day is an occasion not to miss.

Write the people you work with, who matter most to you, a handwritten note that they’ll keep for a long, long time. You can see our assortment of greeting cards for the workplace here. I’ll admit that I collect stationary and love giving and receiving handwritten notes. I suspect the people you work with will appreciate receiving a handwritten note too.

Click here to see all of our greeting cards:

Write handwritten notes and tell the people you work with (who you like) that each day is better because of them.


Thank You Notes For Employees – Engage & Retain Employees

When I was 27 my boss gave me a yellow sticky note that said “thanks” for something I had done well at work.  When I was 29 he gave me a card when I broke up with a long term boyfriend. I still have both. And I’m way past 27 and 29.

He is the only manager in my entire career who wrote me a personal note. And it meant everything to me. He took the time to do something others didn’t. The notes were personal and thus they meant something to me – they still do.  And the notes took him only seconds to write and cost almost nothing.

When is the last time you received a handwritten note? Not a note from Send Out Cards, that is made to look handwritten, or a note written by someone’s assistant, or a note that was typed and then hand signed? Rather, a real handwritten note, with a message, just for you? My guess is not in a long time.

Your employees like perks – paid time off, gift cards, bonuses, onsite yoga classes, concierge service, etc. But perks are not what result in engaged and retained employees.  There is a lot of research on what results in employees doing their best work and being loyal to both their manager and to the organization.

Here’s a snap shot of some of the research on engaging and retaining employees.

Employees:

  • Need to trust senior management
  • Want to work for someone who cares about them, is invested in their success, and with whom they have a good relationship

I won’t tell you not to give bonuses or gift cards, but I will tell you to give each bonus and gift card with a handwritten note. The handwritten note will mean more and last longer. I promise you.

I admit I love stationery.  In fact, I collect it. I always have a stash of cards, ready to go for any occasion. And if you know me long and well enough, you will receive a handwritten note from me.

Because I love stationery so much, I’ve always wanted to create a line of greeting cards, and now we have. Today we’re launching Candor Cards.  Thank you notes for employees designed to help you say what you want to say.

Use the cards at work and at home to:Thank you notes for employees

  • Say thank you
  • Provide encouragement
  • Give positive feedback
  • Say you’re sorry
  • Reinforce training

I hope you like and use our thank you notes for employees! Enjoy!

Spend less. Say more.

Thank you notes for employees


Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Work without Spending Money

Valentine’s Day at WorkMany organizations spend more money than they have to on employee recognition gifts and appreciation programs that often involve bonuses, paid time off, contests, gifts, and other expensive forms of compensation. What employees want most is to know they’re doing a good job.

Giving feedback in the workplace is the cheapest, most effective, and often overlooked form of employee recognition. Employees want to know how they’re performing, and most employees get little to no positive or constructive feedback at work. They may not want to hear negative feedback, but employees want to know if they aren’t meeting expectations.

In one of Candid Culture’s training programs, I give participants a box of questions to help coworkers set expectations and improve workplace communication.  Some of the questions include:

  • Do you prefer to receive information via email, voicemail, or text message?
  • Are you a big picture or a detail person?
  • What are your pet peeves at work?
  • What type of work do you like to do most? What type of work do you like to do least?
  • What do you wish I would start, stop, and continue doing?

I am consistently amazed at how often training participants ask what their coworkers wish they would start, stop and continue doing. I assume employees will be hesitant to ask for constructive feedback in front of a group of peers. But training participants consistently tell me that they get almost no positive or constructive feedback at work, and they’re desperate for the information.

Here’s How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Work Without Spending Money:

  1. Give clear, specific, and timely positive and negative feedback. Employees want to know how they’re performing.
  2. Ask what type of work employees really want to do, and let them do that work most of the time.
  3. Ask what skills employees want to learn, and give them a chance to attain those skills.
  4. Write hand written notes of appreciation.

Employees at Candid Culture get their birthdays off paid. We often buy employees lunch, give bonuses, and have a generous time off policy. Those perks are important and do help retain employees. But monetary rewards never replace or supersede the value of being aware of employees’ performance and caring enough to tell employees the truth.


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