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How to Demonstrate Gratitude: Celebrating & Rewarding Your Team Remotely

Download this week’s activation guide, 25 Simple Ways to Recognize Remote Employees – a tip sheet that we’ve curated to give you creative ways to show employee appreciation remotely. This list will help you get a jumpstart on your journey to building a culture that highlights the wins and heroes in your organization.

 

Bonus tip: A great way to bring your teams together virtually this holiday season is to gift them a virtual cooking demo from Lawry’s At Home. Check out their website to browse more ways to make moments more memorable with your team!

 

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About This Episode

Andy Stanley says, “Unexpressed gratitude feels like ingratitude to the ones for whom you are grateful.” I don’t think most of us are ungrateful for our teams. However, it’s common for leaders to struggle with remembering to show appreciation for their team when they see them every day. 

 

This episode is one of our all-time favorites on the subject of communicating your appreciation for your team even if you’re working remotely. What gets rewarded gets repeated in any organization, and remote teams are no different. Now more than ever, team members need to know their hard work is seen and valued.

1. Understand the languages of appreciation.

Showing gratitude might not look the same from one team member to the next. One might appreciate a gift. Another might enjoy a free lunch. And for some, a simple “thank you” note will be enough. Also, don’t assume the way you see gratitude is the same way your team will. Take the time to interact and get to know each team member so you’ll be better prepared to show them gratitude when the time comes.

2. What gets scheduled gets done.

In other words, be intentional about your gratitude. As busy as we are as leaders, it’s easy to go through a day, a week and even a month without stopping and reflecting on how your team is performing and who is really getting things done. Use calendar reminders to set aside specific times regularly to show appreciation. Don’t let your day-to-day busyness cause you to forget some of the daily awesomeness your team is doing.

3. Even as a remote team, you can use events and in-person gatherings to show gratitude.

If you’re fully remote, you can still get together on occasion to celebrate what the company, and each other, is doing. Depending on your budget, get together quarterly, or at least annually, and throw a party! This isn’t about work. It’s about appreciation. Invite a guest speaker, give out gifts, provide amazing food, and just celebrate your team. Go over the top as much as your budget will allow. Christmas parties are a great opportunity to do this, but also try to get together during the year “just because.”

 

What is the most significant way someone at work has shown gratitude to you? What about that was so special?
Think of five specific team members. What do you believe is each one’s language of appreciation? What is a specific way you could show gratitude to them?
Lisa and Tricia mentioned creating a gratitude guide to help you identify your team’s different languages of appreciation. What could this look like for you? 
Think through a way you could use in-person gatherings or events to help show your team gratitude. If you’re fully remote, how would that work and what would it look like for your company?

Investing in your employee’s satisfaction is critical to producing better results and better profits.

Tricia Sciortino

Learn the ways your team likes to receive gratitude, because gratitude isn’t one size fits all.

Lisa Zeeveld

When gratitude starts with the leader, it’s woven into the culture of the team & shows up in beautiful ways.

Tricia Sciortino

Gratitude is Contagious

Tricia Sciortino

You work harder when you feel recognized and appreciated for the hard work you’re putting in.

Lisa Zeeveld

Tricia Sciortino on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lisa Zeeveld on Instagram and LinkedIn

BELAY Solutions 

Skittles

(1:34) How to recognize opportunities to show gratitude, even when you aren’t working next to someone every day. 

(3:03) How allowing peers to praise each other is a great way to show gratitude.

(5:05) Understanding the languages of appreciation to different team members.

(6:53) Engaged and appreciated employees perform better. 

(10:20) The “hows” of showing appreciation to a remote team

(12:05) BELAY’s “Frugal Wow” program – where leaders have a small, discretionary budget each month to do something for team members.

(14:25) Team members who understand the vision and they “why” will love company “swag.”

(15:07) How to use in-person gatherings and events to express gratitude when you’re a remote company. 

(19:25) Find a tool that helps show you what type of gratitude your team is looking for. 

(20:33) “What gets scheduled gets done.” – Being intentional about gratitude. 

(23:08) This week’s One Next Step a tip sheet called 25 Simple Ways to Recognize Remote Employees. This list will give you creative ways to show employee appreciation remotely and jumpstart your journey to building a culture that highlights the wins and heroes in your organization.

Tricia Sciortino:

Engaged and appreciated employees perform better. If you want a high performing team which will produce better results and better profits, then investing in your team’s satisfaction will be critical and a priority.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to One Next Step, the most practical business podcast in the world. Helping you get more done, grow your business, and lead your team with confidence with tips and tools you didn’t get in business school. Here are your hosts, Tricia Sciortino and Lisa Zeeveld.

Tricia Sciortino:

Welcome to One Next Step, the practical business podcast that helps you run your business so it stops running you. I’m Tricia. We are so excited you’re with us today. Can you believe it’s December already? This year has flown by and the gifting season is in full swing. Today we are gifting you with one of our favorite episodes from the past year, all about demonstrating gratitude to your remote teams through gifting. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Tricia Sciortino:

Okay, L.Z, let’s talk about our employees and expressing gratitude, which we know is so important here at BELAY. So, let’s talk about recognizing employees when we are not in an office and we are remote. Is it the same? Is it different? What is different?

Lisa Zeeveld:

Oh, it’s different. It’s different. Well, I say that, but it is the same, right? I mean, everybody wants to be recognized and that’s the same and the intentionality behind it needs to be the same too, there are some major differences. Let’s start out by kind of the obvious. It’s actually hard sometimes to recognize when you should express your gratitude if you’re not next to somebody day in and day out, right? So you can’t just walk by their desk, see that maybe they’ve stayed a little later than they should be staying working harder on a project. So there definitely has to be a lot more intentionality, about recognizing the opportunities to be grateful and to show that gratitude. That’s where I think we definitely need to start, is how to recognize opportunities to show gratitude.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes. And I think to your point, the biggest challenge is with working remotely not being able to see it. So what are the things that you can kind of build into your leadership of style maybe if you will, to make sure that you’re doing it with frequency, whether you see or don’t see?

Lisa Zeeveld:

Exactly. I think one-on-ones are great opportunities to check in, see kind of probing for how someone is doing at their job. That’s a really easy one. If we’re not just thinking about holidays, if we’re just thinking about routine gratitude, one-on-ones are a great opportunity to be like, “Hey, how’s that project going? What are you doing?” Watch for and how they are working. I talked about if you were in a physical office, you could see if somebody’s working maybe a little more overtime than they should be.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So watch when emails are coming through, watch if maybe they say something in passing, or lean into their peers. Here at BELAY, I think we’re pretty good at gratitude. We definitely do this thing where we call snaps and during our weekly staff meetings, which is an opportunity for peers to recognize each other, whether that’s just a great kickoff call, maybe it’s feedback from a client, or maybe again, they’re helping forth a project. And so I think leaning into peers is a great way to start recognizing and kind of farming out the opportunities to be gracious and offer some gratitude.

Tricia Sciortino:

I love that. And to your point, it’s something that we’ve been very intentional to build into the culture of BELAY. We actually have a core value here and one of our core values is gratitude. So it’s up to us from the top down to ensure we’re expressing gratitude frequently and it’s actually expected of our team, and gratitude is contagious. So if it starts with us, it starts trickling and weaving its way into the culture of the team and it begins to show up in beautiful ways.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And it’s quite crazy. In our weekly staff meetings, we usually allow about three to four minutes for those snaps. And recently, I’ve kind of had to call it quit. That’s enough because it is so contagious.

Tricia Sciortino:

That’s a lot of snapping.

Lisa Zeeveld:

It is a lot of snapping. But our team gets so excited about it and I love it. I love it when someone says, “Oh, you stole my snap. I wanted to recognize so and so for a job well done.” And so it really is just this incredible vein of gratitude that runs through our business. And so that makes it really easy in a remote environment to kind of intentionality build that into your meetings, whether it’s one-on-ones or weekly staff meetings. And hopefully you are able to see each other, when things loosen up or maybe you’ve got a small enough team, or even now you schedule maybe a coffee or lunches, or if you have regularly scheduled in-person meetings to kind of really watch for those opportunities.

Tricia Sciortino:

And I think we would be remiss to not mention also understanding your languages of appreciation for your team members as well.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right.

Tricia Sciortino:

So some team members, they just need words of affirmation and they just want to hear you say, “You did a great job. Thank you.” [crosstalk 00:05:25] Some people love gifts. And so gratitude might look like sending them flowers or candies or a gift card. Some people like acts of service or quality time. So quality time might mean they want you to take them to lunch, because they enjoy your time and they feel like that’s an investment that you’re giving them. And that to them is a gift. So I think just kind of adding in there, know the ways with which your team like to receive gratitude is also important to be intentional as well.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And I think too that we make it a requirement of our leaders to really seek out opportunities for gratitude. Like you said, it’s part of our core values, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. As leaders, we are encouraged to send Thank You notes quite often. And so when you’re looking for ways to show appreciation, it could just be A Thank you note. “Hey, thanks so much. I just enjoy working with you. You’re just really awesome to work with”. That sometimes goes far enough on its own. You don’t actually have to look for a specific reason other than you’re just a great person and thank you.

Tricia Sciortino:

Thanks for being you.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Right.

Tricia Sciortino:

Thanks for showing up and being awesome.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Totally, totally. I think that’s a great way. I also think that we need to talk about the other side of the coin, right? So we talked about we definitely need to show gratitude. You’re looking for ways to find gratitude, but what happens if you’re seeing opportunities where people are showing up and being awesome, they’re being an awesome person and then you don’t do anything about it?

Tricia Sciortino:

So I think that’s a good leadership fail honestly. I think that we have learned over the years that engaged and appreciated employees perform better. If you want a high performing, engaged team, which will produce better results and better profits and all the things you want as a business owner, then investing in your team’s satisfaction will be critical and a priority for you. So if you’re able to connect those dots, and understand that team engagement and team connection and team appreciation build healthy teams, which then turn into healthy organizations, well-run organizations, people who want to work harder and go further with you, then you will grow your organization, grow your profits and you get to the end result you’re looking for.

Tricia Sciortino:

So I think failure to do those things actually give you the opposite result. Is that you could have a disconnected team, disengaged, not willing to go the extra mile for you because they don’t feel fulfilled or appreciated, and then you wind up with turnover, attrition and replacing employees is a hard, timely, costly, work nobody wants to do. So just being an encouraging leader at the end of the day finds itself at the bottom line.

Tricia Sciortino:

If you are anything like me, then keeping up with the daily tasks of AR, AP, and account reconciliation are not your favorite things, but you also know how necessary and important it is. The good news is it doesn’t have to be your thing anymore. BELAY can help.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Numbers are totally my thing, Tricia. And thankfully, numbers are BELAY Bookkeepers thing too. Our sponsor, BELAY, believes you deserve topnotch bookkeepers to produce balance sheets, pay bills, reconcile bank and credit card statements and monthly reports to keep you up to date on the numbers of your organization. Whether you’re a church, nonprofit, or a business, they have the right people ready to help. Talk to their team today and never lose sleep over your financials again. Get started by visiting belaysolutions.com/services/bookkeepers today.

Lisa Zeeveld:

It’s the old adage they say, right? The old phrase that people leave their bosses, they actually don’t leave their jobs. So I think that if you were to go back, I know for me in my prior jobs, if I were to think about the times that I worked extra hard and I did really well at a job and I loved a job, it’s because I had a leader who recognized the hard work that I was putting in. And it didn’t have to be this big recognition thing, but that they saw something in me and that they were appreciative. And I think that, just like you said, speaks volumes.

Tricia Sciortino:

So I feel like we’ve clearly stated the case why [crosstalk 00:09:58].

Lisa Zeeveld:

You should express gratitude, right? Like team morale, team satisfaction, great results. The opposite if you don’t, right? So let’s talk a little bit about “The How” now. So let’s say we have listeners who are going, “Okay, I’m convinced I need to do a better job about showing appreciation to my team.” We do a great job here at BELAY and you do a great job as a leader.

Tricia Sciortino:

Thank you.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So let’s talk about how we can get this done.

Tricia Sciortino:

Take a look at your budget. I’m going to throw that out there again, the finance gal, I’m going to talk money, but it doesn’t have to only be about money. Like we said, if you are looking for ways with the remote team, a little bit different. You have to be more creative, you have to be more intentional. When you find ways, I always like to say kind of weigh it with the type of gratitude that you want to show. So if this is a “Thank you for being you”, then you can definitely start out with just a note card or maybe even an email, although I will say a handwritten note is so nice.

Lisa Zeeveld:

It far exceeds an email. I’m just saying. It totally does. It totally does. All this great technology. Text messages are good too and there’s a time and a place for all that. But a real handwritten note goes a really long, long way to receive. I know that when I’ve first started working for BELAY, to get a card from Brian or Shannon that just said, “Hey, you did an awesome job. Thanks for being you.” I was over the moon. I actually still keep them today because they kind of feel like little treasures to me. So I think that’s a really easy way depending upon the type of gratitude that you want to show for an individual. If it’s a larger project, we have a budget for those things. And so we’re able to send flowers, we’re able to send gift cards. I know that we’ve talked about it before on the podcast, but we actually have Frugal Wow. So why don’t you share a little bit about that?

Tricia Sciortino:

So Frugal Wow was a program we started many years ago which basically gives leaders kind of a small, little discretionary budget every month, but we are giving the opportunity to Frugal Wow team member, which means you’re going to send them a Wow little gift and you’re going to be Frugal. And so what some of those things look like for BELAY is… I’ve received a Frugal Wow a few times, but I love Skittles. So I had a team member send me a bag of Skittles and tell me I did a great job.

Tricia Sciortino:

So the intent is to surprise somebody with a Wow moment, but do it in a way that doesn’t break the bank, right? So you can really show gratitude with a 99 cent bag of Skittles in my case. That a little bit can go a long way, and we encourage using those budgets and those dollars. We want that to be spent. We want our teams and our managers to really express and show gratitude to each other, so that’s kind of one of the programs we have in place that makes it fun.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And we also recognize we have a budget for birthdays and anniversaries. So we have a small budget to make sure everybody gets a gift on their birthday. Now that’s easy. That’s a gratitude of “Hey, thanks for joining our business” and “Hey, thanks for being born. We’re happy you’re alive and we’re happy that you’re here and…”.

Tricia Sciortino:

It’s a great excuse to honor somebody.

Lisa Zeeveld:

It is.

Tricia Sciortino:

Not only do we send gifts to our employees on their birthdays, but we also recognize them in our public chatter forum that we use so that the entire company can kind of chime in and wish them a happy birthday. And we really publicly want to acknowledge them and thank them for being born and working at BELAY in a public fashion. And it’s so easy to do.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So, so easy. And the other thing we like to do is maybe a little selfish, but we do offer some pretty nice swag. We really like to swag out our team. And so we’re really thoughtful in the type of swag. We do have this cult thing with a certain pin. So we love our pins. So I kind of say that jokingly, we just don’t offer pins. But around here, the pin is a pretty big deal for some reason. But it could be a pin that we leave for a meeting or sweatshirts, we’ve offered nice Yetis and we’ve had jackets embroidered. It’s just all those things. Again, it kind of goes back to their anniversary of saying “Hey, for being a part of our team”. And there’s something really to being a member of a team, everybody wants to belong. And if they’re a part of an organization where they understand the vision and they understand the Why, then they want to wear it, they want to be branded. And so really nice swag is an easy way to recognize your team and to offer that at gratitude.

Tricia Sciortino:

And I would also say, and you can talk to this as you lead events for belay is that we view our events, which would be our in person team time, which is few and far between because we are a 100% remote organization, but we do get together three or four times a year as with our entire organization. We view that time as a gift. So talk a little bit about how we use our events to really express gratitude and gift our team if you will.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So we kind of have this mantra that, for each event we want our team members to know that they’ve been thought of long before they ever showed up. So there’s a lot of intentionality that goes behind the events. We plan them months, sometimes years in advance. So a lot of intentionality, there’s a lot of thought that goes into the agenda. You and I wrestle with the agenda. We go back and forth. We pay for beautiful venues. This is not your just kind of cheap hotel room conference room.

Tricia Sciortino:

No, it has to have windows. Windows. I have a pet peeve when there needs to be a window in the room.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So they are beautifully curated events. So we have windows, not a stuffy just conference room. There’s lots of swag, great food. So again, we don’t cheapen out on the food. We also look for great speakers and we did this really cool thing a few years ago where it was almost like a values exercise, but personal values for our team. And so we found out that they want to grow professionally, but they want to grow personally. And there were certain areas that they focused on. And so we always make sure that when we bring in a speaker that it focuses on how to make them better people, not just better employees, because if they’re better people, that’s soft skills. That’s around emotional intelligence and all those things. They become great team members too. So we find great speakers.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And then we throw in a little bit of fun, we have a good party, usually one or two where we have a DJ brought in again, great food. We share some beverages, we have some entertainment, but it truly is a gift. And if you were to ask the majority of our team, they will tell you that they really view some of those events as true compensation. To their pay.

Tricia Sciortino:

Absolutely.

Lisa Zeeveld:

They’re like “Wow”. Sometimes we used to put people up in hotel rooms. We haven’t this year because of the pandemic, but they get a really nice hotel room and fed really great food and gifts. I mean, shoot. That’s awesome.

Tricia Sciortino:

It’s an investment in them as individuals. And you also do a really great job at making sure the environment is decorated beautifully or themed out. So themes [inaudible 00:17:18] Elsie does a great job with it, it sounds so silly, centerpieces’ decor. I mean, you really walk into our events and you feel like you are at a party, a wedding, a something that, that it has been thoughtfully and curated. And we really view those events as our time to invest in our employees, almost like a conference. So we want our team to leave feeling encouraged, empowered, breathed into as people and connected. So when they leave our days together as an organization, they are just even more grateful to be part of belay.

Lisa Zeeveld:

I mean, if you think about it, we’re spending eight or more hours in a conference room together or a conference type environment, when they’ve been used to being able to get up and in a remote environment, there is definitely a little bit more freedom where you’re able to get up, go to your kitchen, maybe you step outside. And so part of the idea between behind the theme, is it does make it a little bit easier for gifting and for guest speakers, we always choose one of our values to kind of focus on, but at the same time, really thinking of it as a gift. We want it to be a beautiful environment with fresh flowers and things of that nature. So there’s a lot of information they’re taking into. They’re being spoken into that if you don’t have the right environment, that can almost feel a little suffocating or not the right outcome that we are hoping for. So, you mentioned events and I want to say, I mean our, our Christmas parties are one heck of a gift to show gratitude.

Tricia Sciortino:

They’re a big one. We love them. Those are super special times for us. So major gifting.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Okay. Because we’re the most practical business podcast, let’s talk about what is the one thing that somebody can go do right now to kind of up their game on expressing gratitude? What would be maybe one suggestion you would give somebody right now or leader right now on how to better express gratitude?

Lisa Zeeveld:

If I think back to our early days, I think a really good catalyst was that languages of appreciation. I think because gifting is not a one size fits all. And especially now in the pandemic, when things are a little unusual, we have the holidays coming up and people are like: “Great, you mentioned a holiday party. We can’t have one. It’s great that you mentioned gifts or Thank You cards, but what do I do?”. And I think for us, starting with that, that tool really did help us create a gifting guide for our organization because we were able to see by the masses. Do people enjoy more of a physical gift or do they enjoy more time? And how to then create a plan off of that. So I think my practical advice would be, find a tool really helps show you what type of gratitude your team is looking for. Cause gratitude is never a bad thing. You should show gratitude. That’s not even to question. Yes. Right?

Tricia Sciortino:

And I would say, my tip would be, which you will laugh when I say this because you know me so well, what gets scheduled gets done.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Okay.

Tricia Sciortino:

It is really easy leaders. I know you’re listening to me and you will get this. It is really easy for the day to go by, the week to go by, the month to go by and you were just so busy with life that you just forgot to stop and take a minute to send that note, to send those flowers, to acknowledge somebody. So what I would say to you is it sounds trite, but put it on your calendar. I have it on mine because the busyness of the day can easily sweep me away. And I don’t want to forget. So put those reminders in place for yourself, whether it’s once a month or once a week, I just block a little thing on my calendar that says show gratitude. And to your point, sometimes that’s just let me write a handwritten note to somebody, let me send an email to somebody. I need to let me order those flowers. So what gets scheduled gets done, even sometimes when it comes to expressing gratitude.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Totally. And I’m going to just piggyback off of that really quick, because I will say that also using your calendar to set reminders for just big events that are happening in your team’s life, is also really important. I know we’ve had some team members who said: “Hey, my husband is having surgery on X date”. If I just go right in my calendar, like the day before and say: “Hey, so so’s husband’s having surgery tomorrow”. And that really does give me a reminder to reach out because there’s a lot on our plates as leaders. We’re trying to remember everything. And it’s not that we intentionally don’t want to be sensitive or to offer that gratitude, but it can just be overlooked. So use your calendar. Your calendar really is your friend.

Tricia Sciortino:

Praise to that. I love it. So use the calendar. What gets scheduled gets done. All right. This has been awesome. I hope that our listeners out there took some great nuggets away from this conversation. Thank you for sharing Elsie.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Well thank you for the conversation. Hopefully our listeners feel this valuable and as they go into this holiday season, really find creative ways to offer gratitude for their team. For a very, very hard year for all of us. So no doubt, everybody deserves a little extra something this year.

Speaker 3:

All right. You know what time it is? It is time for the One Next Step. As the most practical business podcast, we want to make sure that taking action isn’t overwhelming to you. So each episode we’re going to offer you One Next Step to propel you and your business forward. Today’s next step is to download this week’s activation guide, which is a tip sheet called 25 Simple Ways To Recognize Remote Employees. We’ve curated a list of creative ways to show employee appreciation remotely. Use this list to help you get a jump start on your journey to building a culture that highlights the wins and heroes within your organization.

Tricia Sciortino:

I love that so much. To download it now, text the phrase One Next Step to 31996, or visit onenextsteppodcast.com. When you request today’s guide, you’ll also receive a summary of today’s episode, which includes key quotes and takeaways and links to resources mentioned in the episode.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for listening to this episode of One Next Step. We hope you enjoyed it and that you will join us next time, for more practical tips and actionable tools to advance your business. One step at a time.

Tricia Sciortino:

Until next time, own your journey. It’s your life and your business. It’s up to you to create the life and organization you want.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Start by making today count.

Amy Appleton:

Next week, we’ll be joined by our good friend Sangram Vajre, co-founder and chief evangelist of Terminus. He’s an expert on go to market strategies and he’ll be sharing his four questions to improve how you launch new products, reach ideal customers and create a competitive advantage. Here’s a quick sneak peek of our talk with Sangram.

Sangram Vajre:

Somebody, I’m sure had an idea for Uber before Uber got built. Somebody had an idea for Belay before Belay got built, but there are only a few people who actually take the stand and become intentional about it so much that they take action. So as a younger self, I was like: “Oh, I’m going to try this and this, this and this”. And I wish I would’ve been more intentional early on. The more I am now, the better it gets.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for listening to One Next Step. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or follow us on Spotify. Then join us next time for more practical business tips and tools to help you get more done, grow your business and lead your team with con confidence. For more episodes, show notes and helpful resources visit onenextsteppodcast.com.

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