Datotel revamps its workplace gifting program to make it more meaningful. Learn how you can too!
In “Building a Culture of Appreciation”, Nadine Heintz, a New York University faculty member and senior editor at Inc. Magazine, details how IT firm Datotel overhauled its employee appreciation, recognition and incentive programs:
“David Brown thinks it’s important to make his employees feel valued. So Brown, founder and president of Datotel, an IT services and data storage business in St. Louis with 38 employees, was dismayed when he realized his employee-of-the-month program wasn’t helping morale.
It seems like a simple concept: Make employees feel appreciated, and they will work harder and be more loyal. But there’s often a disconnect between the type of appreciation employees want and what their managers think they want.”
Create a Culture of Thank You
Heintz notes: Though a decent bonus will always be a highly coveted form of recognition, employers often underestimate the degree to which workers value kind words delivered face to face.
That may sound like good news for companies looking for inexpensive ways to show appreciation to employees. In many ways, though, it’s easier to hand out a bonus than to create a culture in which saying thank you is a regular occurrence, she opines.
Though Brown started the employee-of-the-month program as an easy way to ensure staff felt appreciated, he learned from employees during informal conversations that a less formal, more personal approach would be more effective.
Regularly Recognize Employees’ Accomplishments
To encourage his management team to regularly report employees’ accomplishments, Brown:
- Made time during his daily morning executives’ phone call to discuss exemplary work
- Designated 15 minutes of each weekly management meeting to do the same.
- Encouraged managers to thank employees from other departments — in person — for extra efforts.
- Set an example by thanking employees several times a week, often through handwritten, mailed notes.
“At a tech company, it’s all too easy to just write emails,” he tells Heintz. “It takes time to sit down and write out a note, but it goes a long way.”
A Handwritten Note Resonates
Last June, Brown mailed a handwritten note on Datotel stationery to engineer Stephanie Lewis’s home. He thanked her for her hard work and mentioned that managers had praised her customer service efforts.
The personal, unique note from her CEO made her feel important and valued, Lewis reveals. All from a simple thank you.
How do you ensure your employees feel valued? How do you make your workplace gifting personal?
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