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A New Approach to Employee Appreciation

Bringing the Emotion Back to Business with Heartfelt Recognition

At ShoreTel, “Actively Help” is a core corporate value and teamwork is our foundationWhen looking for a way to recognize employees for putting the “we” before the “I,” our Director of Customer Service, Sally Loughry, came across a video by Corey Cormier of Legal Monkeys.  In the video Corey explains the very simple, yet powerful approach Legal Monkeys has taken toward employee recognition.

The Appreciation Board

The Appreciation Board is a simple 8x10 picture frame.  A note about why an individual is appreciated is written in dry erase marker on the glass.   When someone receives the board, the person who wrote the note looks them in the eye and reads it.  The recipient is then free to keep the board on their desk until they are ready to erase it and appreciate someone else.  Each time the board is passed on; a photo is taken and posted to Facebook so that friends and family can see it and the appreciation can live on from there.  There are no rules and no timeframe, just sincere, heartfelt gratitude for the work and camaraderie of a peer.

I spoke to Corey and he explained the genius of the idea.  “We have always believed in giving credit for great work where it is due, but traditional employee appreciation programs, like “employee of the month” type stuff tend to loose impact when they are forced.  At a training session, a business coach encouraged us to share with the group why we appreciated three other members of the team.  After the session, an employee came to me and said, ‘I want you to know that I come to work every day because of you.’  Wow!  That had such an emotional impact on me.  It was worth more than any prize.  This same person was key to developing our Employee Appreciation Board approach.”

Simply Brilliant!

So Easy To Do, Yet So Powerful

The idea was so good that Sally implemented it right away.   She said, “I encourage others who lead teams to adopt this program - all it takes is a 8x10 picture frame, dry erase markers and employees who 'own' the process.  It is easy and extremely meaningful as peers recognize each other for deeds of all types. The positive energy that comes out of a sincere gesture of authentic appreciation is priceless!  It also helps promote an excellent work environment that can be pretty stressful at times.”

The inaugural appreciation went to Jon Bunch, he told me, “I was very honored to receive the award that recognized the efforts I put forward when supporting our customers.  I enjoy being able to provide an experience that our customers love and look forward to continue to do so.  I think that this award is a great way to demonstrate how we appreciate each other in support and by our management.  My experience with ShoreTel has enhanced my customer service and technical troubleshooting skills and I am thankful to be part of this team.”  Jon has since passed it on to Kenneth Hertzog and Kenneth to Mike DiBenedetto.

It’s About Passing It On

We spend a lot of time trying to take the emotion out of business.  We are, rightfully, driven by data and move with the numbers.   However, behind every great company are great people who enjoy working together and a culture that encourages people to reach higher. When it comes to building a team that reflects our core values and works hard to delight our customers, perhaps a little emotion is just what we need.  Relationships and connections are important.  Creating positive connections will encourage our employees - and our customers - to stay with us for a long time.  Remember, people buy the Why, not the What.  Please take a minute to watch the Legal Monkey video and let's start an "Appreciation Board" movement!”

How do you recognize great teamwork?