How to appreciate team members in order to be successful together?

Jak doceniać członków zespołu, aby odnosić wspólne sukcesy?

Imagine a perfect company where everything is as you dreamed it would be. Your company has developed the values that guide you and they are the main pillars that create the culture of work. Employees walk satisfied, smiling, motivated, willing to constantly improve themselves, solve problems together and value their work. You sit comfortably in a chair, discuss the plan for the next week with your team and thank them for a well-implemented project. Does it sound beautiful? It is in your hands to realize this vision.

There are a lot of articles about appreciating employees in the company. Today I will tell you from my own perspective, that is from the employee’s point of view, how to get closer to achieving the aforementioned vision, focusing on appreciating people in the team.

More advantages

Sometimes employers worry that after being praised, workers will no longer try – you start to think: “When I tell him, he/she will become lazy”. Others avoid praise for fear of employee’s demanding approach, for example: “Praise will only make his head bigger and he will start asking for a bump”. Sometimes employers do not know what to praise a team member for, they assume that if they are not criticized, they know that they do their job well. Often, this approach is also the cause of employee’s decision to leave, which the employer is not aware of. Therefore, let me explain to you why appreciation is key.

Having previously worked for various companies (a corporation, a startup, a small company, and now an agency), I have a broad overview of how people in a team are appreciated. Appreciation of employees for a job well done is not always perceived favourably by company owners.

From my own backyard

I learnt through me how important it is to appreciate an employee and how important the form of communicating with the other person is.

In my earlier jobs I heard from my bosses “Well done”. It sounds very general, doesn’t it? There is nothing wrong with this praise, but it is not very specific, so it has less impact on the employee’s well-being. Working at Project: People, I noticed some magic. See for yourself the difference.

Action – Reaction

In the company in which I am currently working, we thank each other immediately after the task is completed, or after giving advice or assistance. It is also a form of respecting and appreciating each other’s time. That way, we know exactly what we’ve been praised for. This is a great solution, because by praising the other person after a certain time, we can easily forget what we wanted to praise them for.

Personally and materially

We appreciate each other for a specific task, for a specific job we have done, such as “Thank you Paulina for preparing the workshop, you helped me a lot with the organization, especially with distributing the sheets, great job!” Do you see the difference? Definitely. As mentioned above, everything depends on the form in which we address the other person, the feedback and the intention behind it. It is important that it is natural and sincere, that the employee knows that we appreciate his efforts, which in turn will translate into their greater involvement.

“Cigarette”, not so harmful

You can appreciate people in a team in different ways, e.g. with a word or a gesture. In our company we use a few tools and techniques that work well. At the end of 2018, in Project: People Tomasz conducted a workshop on our plans and the areas in which we want to develop. In the first part we focused on appreciating each person and the progress they have made.

“Cigarette” is a technique that aims to motivate the employee and indicate the strengths and values he or she brings to the team.

You can use this tool for team meetings or integration. The whole exercise should take about 20 minutes in a group of 10 people. You will need white A4 sheets of paper to give to your team.

  • Ask the team to take two sheets each. On the first sheet they should write their name at the bottom, vertically, along with the phrase “How did you change”, and on the second sheet their name and “What do I appreciate about you?”
  • Then each person passes their sheet to the neighbour on the left.
  • A person who has received the sheet from a colleague writes to that person how they’ve changed in his/her opinion, what they’ve improved, what they’ve developed and what he/she appreciates about them, then folds the sheet and passes on to the next person on the left.
  • All team members should receive each set of sheets, and at the end the sheets should return to the sender.

After the exercise, ask the participants how they felt during the task and what emotions accompanied them. You can also ask if anyone wants to read their card. Asking these questions will make the participants reflect. This exercise gives a great dose of motivation for further actions, which in turn translates into effective work and greater involvement of the employee in the development of their skills.

“Pluses for Everyone”

The second good exercise is called “Pluses for Everyone”. This is an exercise during which we evaluate what supported our cooperation, what made it good. You can do this in many ways. In our company it worked well, when we used a presentation during a team workshop. A photo of each person was displayed on a slide, and each team member recalled the person’s strengths.

How can you conduct this exercise?

List all the team members and assign 3 facts to each person for which you want to appreciate them. These events may include areas where the person has developed, is doing well and, finally, what you value in their work. After your speech, ask the team if they would like to add anything. The exercise may be carried out by the team leader and moderated at his/her own discretion.

Kudos

his idea has been with us for a long time. Kudos is a tool to increase the motivation of people in a team. Kudos is a form of thanks, praise and admiration for a person. It is usually presented in public, i.e. on the forum of the team during our weekly meeting. Kudos are handed out by each member of the team. In our company we have tested various ways of awarding prizes. Is it supposed to be just a card or a gift for work well done or for help, or maybe both? For us, a card on which we write to the person concerned what we thank them for was a great success. And when you receive a Kudos, you can exchange it for a gift (a cinema ticket or a book).

Kudos are handed out at our weekly Standup. They are either anonymous or open in form, i.e. a person who writes thanks on a piece of paper, can sign it or remain anonymous. He/she can also indicate whether they want their kudos to be read in front of everyone or just by the person to whom they addressed the card.

To the point

To summarize the article, is there anything more valuable than a motivated, loyal and efficient employee? It is really up to you how you will manage your team.

You know why we wanted to write this article? Because my team continually inspired me that I could write it, they appreciated my work and effort and thanks to that I constantly develop and it gives me great satisfaction that I can do more. I am proud that I have been working in this company and with such people.

This is the first article I have written and I’ve been wondering for a long time about the subject I’m going to address. After thinking and searching for valuable factual knowledge for you, I thought I would write about appreciating the employees/team because it would be authentic. Hence the idea to share with you my point of view, which will help you better understand the needs of the employee and take care of them. I hope that you will implement at least one of the motivational techniques presented to your companies in order to reduce employee turnover and increase their self-esteem, which in turn will allow them to develop on many levels. This is a good guide for employers, bosses, managers and all the people who manage their teams. 

Remember that it is in your hands, gestures and words what the team feels like and what their whole day will look like.

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Paulina Ostafin
She works mainly in the field of social media, content marketing and PR. She gained her experience on previous positions in various companies (startups, small companies, and now, Project: People) and continuous to develope. She loves people, creative solutions, and coming out of her comfort zone. She eagerly undertakes every task and likes to set the bar high. She is passionate about all kinds of running, starting with Runmageddon, 100m sprints and Project: People sprints.

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