10 More Simple Ways to Thank Your Team

A few months ago, I posted an article entitled “10 Simple Ways to Thank Your Team.” Based on the response, I would say the article struck a cord with many people. Let’s look at additional ways to recognize and reward your team members and why a simple thank you is so powerful.


Award Recognition Board

“The first job of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” -Max de Pree

Give Your Team Members the Greatest Gift

I had a great boss and mentor years ago. He not only provided constructive criticism, but he had a great habit of saying thanks.

I remember times when I completed a challenging project. During a one-on-one meeting, my boss would look me in the eye, rehearse the project’s chronology, highlight the challenges, finally…with a pause…he would say, “You did a great job. Thank you for your hard work.”

He would stand, shake my hand, and say, “Congratulations. Why don’t you take off the rest of today.”

My wife would hear me say over and over, “I love my job.” Money was important (I had to feed the family and pay the mortgage), but the greatest reward was the gift of appreciation.

Optimizing Your Programs and Projects

A few years ago, I helped manage a large, complex program, called the OPTIMUM Program, that involved more than 100 people and more than 40 projects. Early in the program, we created an awards and recognition program.


Parking Spot Sign

At our monthly program meetings, we recognized a top performer as the OPTIMUM Award Winner. The winner received the following:

  • Traveling Trophy
  • Parking Spot near the President and General Manager
  • Certificate of Appreciation
  • Engraved plate with their name was added to the OPTIMUM Recognition Board
  • Picture with an executive was placed in our OPTIMUM newsletter

Later in the program, we implemented awards for teams.

10 More Ways to Say Thanks

Consider the OPTIMUM Program. You may use these reward ideas separately or in combination. The awards may be presented to individuals and/or teams.

  1. Traveling Trophy. The winner of the Alabama and Auburn college football game wins the traveling James E. Foy Trophy. The traveling trophy concept works well for a Project Management Office or program. Decide on a trophy, the selection criteria, and how often the trophy will be awarded.
  2. Special parking spaces. Designate a privileged parking space that provides the employee convenience and provides them visibility.
  3. Recognition Board. Consider creating and placing a recognition board in a high-traffic area of your office. The winner’s names are added to the board.
  4. Certificates of appreciation. Give the winners a framed certificate of appreciation.
  5. Order a pizza or subs for the team. Here’s a simple but fun idea. When your team has gone the extra mile, order pizza or subs.
  6. Cookout. It helps to have some informal, casual time. Invite the team to a cookout. These activities allow team members to relax and get to know one another.
  7. Photo session with company CEO or president. For special occasions or milestones, do a photo session with the company CEO or president. Include a photo in your company newsletter.
  8. Tickets to a movie theater, sporting event, or musical event. Find out your team member’s preferences for personal activities. Provide them with tickets.
  9. Day off, half day off, Friday off. Give the team member time off. If a team member reports to functional manager, work with the manager to arrange the time off.
  10. Cover team member’s desk with balloons. Surprise a team member with streamers and balloons. They will never forget it.

Question: What other ideas do you have for saying thanks?