5 Ways to Celebrate the National Day of Encouragement
October 22, 2018
By: Danny Bradbury
In 2007, a group of teenagers changed a single day forever. Saddened by the memories of September 11, young participants in a leadership forum at Arkansas’s Harding University wanted to give people a day of renewed hope and positivity. They suggested making September 12 the Day of Encouragement.
The idea tapped a nerve across the country, and in 2011, the US Senate officially designated September 12 as the National Day of Encouragement. It urged people "to encourage others, whether through an act of service, a thoughtful letter, or words of kindness and inspiration, and by that encouragement to boost the morale of all people of the United States."
That is good advice for managers and business owners alike. A survey of 600 employed adults, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, showed that 65 percent of them considered respectful treatment very important, outweighing even salary levels in the mix. Yet, just 38 percent of the respondents were satisfied with how they were treated at work. American businesses still have some work to do.
Luckily, employee engagement is one of the easiest things to foster in the workplace, and requires little investment other than time. Here are five ways to motivate employees:
Letting your employees know that they’ve done a great job can be as simple as high-fiving them in the corridor and commenting on something positive they achieved recently. It can go further, though. Acknowledging individuals' achievements to everyone in a team meeting can be a major morale booster.
If you have time, and a small enough office, you can write brief personal cards to everyone and leave them on their desks. Try to acknowledge each person’s unique achievement, and try not to leave anyone out!
According to the proverb, the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Bringing in treats can help to unite a team and show them that you care. It could be as simple as donuts from the local store, but if you really want to wow them, try to make it personal. Consider baking a cake yourself with a meaningful message for your team.
Be warned, though: taking the culinary route means accommodating everyone’s dietary needs. A creamy cake could isolate Annie in accounting, who has a lactose intolerance and can't eat gluten. Try to ensure that you know what everyone can eat before breaking out the treats, and show extra consideration by providing alternatives.
Take a break
Try to acknowledge your team’s hard work by taking a meaningful break. Taking an hour out for coffee with your crew could be enough, but a team-building event would be even better. A bike ride, an escape room, happy hour activities or even a simple ball game in the park are all healthy, community-building options to honor your employees.
Let the world know
Social media is a good tool for showing your tribe how much you appreciate them. You can tag your team photos and stories of achievement with the hashtags to let the world know what your employees mean to you.
Be a mentor
Encouragement shouldn’t happen just once a year. Try to make employee engagement part of your ethos by creating a mentorship program at work. You can find out each employees’ professional goals and give them regular feedback and advice on how to achieve them. Try to show them every day that you believe in their potential.
Armed with these techniques, you can encourage and engage employees. Freshly inspired, they can take your business to new heights - but more importantly, you’ll have a happier, healthier workplace, and will have made a difference in their lives.
About the Author
Danny Bradbury has been writing about technology and business since 1989. His clients have included the Financial Times, the Guardian, and Canada's National Post.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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