In November, I got to thinking about the end of the calendar year and how hard my own work team has been pulling to keep our program going, supporting end users, and picking up the slack when others have left the group.
They are a resilient little team (I mean little in numbers) and I’m proud of them.
I asked the Boss of my Boss if we had some sort of recognition program. He said, “oh yes, we do spot bonuses. Talk to so-in-so and they can provide you with some gift cards to hand your employees.”
I was pretty stoked. I figured these gift cards might be $100. Or maybe, you know, $50. Not much, but enough to make a difference.
So I contacted so-in-so and wrote up my justification and was handed some gift cards.
They are $25 each.
Ok, I know $25 is still better than a kick in the shins, but I worried that handing out $25 would be less of a thank you and more of a “why bother”? Given how hard this crew has been working and the success they saw last year, would a $25 gift card be an insult?
Unfortunately for me, it turned out to be all I could do for my employees under “official” program at of my very
cheap frugal cost-conscious company.
This week, with everyone back in the office after the holiday break, I decided to hand out the gift cards along with a hearty thank you.
I went to each person on my team and I talked to them about how hard they worked and said “I’d like to give you this. I’m sorry it’s not very much, but it’s the best I can do under the official auspices.”
Every member of my team was incredibly grateful and dare I say excited to get an “official” bit of recognition for a job well done.
As one woman leapt from her chair to hug me and thank me over and over, I was stunned.
How could she be so thrilled over a puny $25 gift card?
I puzzled over it and thought about it and pondered.
Today, on my afternoon walk around the lake, I figured it out.
These wonderful, hardworking, amazing people are simply happy to be recognized.
This is the power of saying (and meaning) the words Thank You.
I knew this mattered, I really did. I try very hard as a manager to remember to say thank you and mean it. But even I forget.
My very humble team gave me a good lesson. They took me back to Management 101, and for that I’m filled with gratitude.
(Should I remind my own manager that I also tend to work harder with a few “thank yous” along the way?)
Image via Abstruse Goose.