Your project team has just completed a major project or hit a significant milestone. The team members have worked hard and put in the extra hours to bring in another successful project. So, how do you thank your project team? What ways will you let them know you care?
1. Send a hand written thank-you note. I recently saw a Thank-You card pinned to someone’s cubicle wall. The card was dated five years earlier. Why would someone keep a card that long? Hand-written notes are a rare commodity in our digital age. Furthermore, tangible notes may be displayed and savored.
2. Send a thank-you photo card. Take a photo or two, create a photo card, and mail the cards to your team members.
3. Take your team to lunch. If your project budget allows, take your team out for lunch after the completion of a major milestone or completion of the project. During lunch, share your thoughts and acknowledge each team member’s contributions. Additionally, reinforce the project’s significance to the company’s strategic vision.
“What I have discovered is that as I do the work of personalizing recognitions into the work of my team, I become a more empathic and involved leader in the process.” –Claire Jenkins
4. Send a gift card to a spouse. Send a gift card to a spouse with a thank-you note for his or her support during the project (use discretion on this one).
5. Praise individuals one-on-one. Great leaders understand the power of the spoken word. When individuals complete significant work on time, make a point to visit them. Look the person in the eye and tell them why their work matters. And don't forget to call the virtual members to say thanks.
6. Praise individuals before their peers. “I can live two months on a good compliment,” said Mark Twain. Make time in your project meetings to recognize your team members before their peers.
7. Put a picture and article in the company newsletter. Highlight your team’s accomplishments in your company’s newsletter.
8. Post a picture in the office. Take a picture and print a large copy for a company bulletin board. If your company has hall TV monitors, share a picture with appropriate text.
9. Give a gift certificate for a car wash. When team members are working overtime, things outside of work can slip. Think of one way you can help.
10. Bake cookies. I am not the greatest cook, but I can slice cookie dough, put it on a cooking pan, and turn on the oven. If you don’t cook, pick up cookies from a local bakery.
Some managers are afraid to reward team members for fear individuals will expect the same reward for similar tasks in the future. Reduce this pattern by rewarding team members after the fact. Vary the rewards. Make it fun. Be creative. Build a strong project culture.