5 Great Ideas for Rewarding Your Team

via MarthaStewart.com,  Photography:  Annie Schlechter

via MarthaStewart.com, Photography: Annie Schlechter

In our previous post, we talked about the different personalities you need on your team to put together a great event. Now that everything went off without a hitch (of course it did) and you’re elated, exhausted, or a healthy mix of both, there’s still one more step. You need to find a heartfelt way to thank all the helpers, hustlers, the volunteers and staff that played such a huge part in your success. It’s important to build these relationships because, let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to do it without them. These 5 ideas for rewarding your team members are thoughtful, won’t break the bank, and will make sure they answer your calls when the busy season comes around again.

Nothing says “Thanks” Like a Note

The written word isn’t dead! Sure, you could send someone a shout out on Twitter or tag them in a blanket “thanks” statement on Facebook, but these are people who helped you out big time. Let’s get personal. Writing out a note takes a little more effort than hitting “send”, and the gesture rarely goes unnoticed. Be specific. Tell them a moment where they went above and beyond what you needed them to do, and don’t forget to tell them you’d like to work with them again.  

PRO TIP: Enclose a gift card or some other token of appreciation with your note. Those $5 Starbucks gift cards are PERFECT for these kinds of things. And who doesn’t like coffee? Seriously.

Give A Little Gift

Size isn't the most important thing when it comes to gifts--it’s all about the thought. Think about your team’s likes and send them a token of your appreciation. Your assistant loves music. The audio guy loves monster trucks. A member of your street team swears by the cupcakes at her local bakery. Put this knowledge to work and let them know that, not only are they great, but you were listening.

PRO TIP: Use this template as a team building exercise. Get all your team members to fill out what they would buy with $5-$100 and then share it with the team. Not only will you learn a lot about everyone, but you now have a custom wish list for each team member.

Long Live Happy Hour

Never underestimate the healing powers of a stiff drink, as our mothers always said...well, my mother always said. Invite everyone to a happy hour for a job well done.  

PRO TIP: Happy hour doesn’t have to be a fancy affair. You can host a low-key one at your home, invite everyone to a casual neighborhood spot, or even beers in the park will work. Play to the crowd.

Spread the Praise

This idea is perfect for the freelancers and contractors in your life, but can work great for your full-time team too. Reviews and recommendations make a huge impact in their livelihoods--so don’t be selfish, let them know you liked their work so much that you want other people to hire them, too. Write reviews online (if you see they have profiles), offer to write a testimonial for their website, or send a recommendation letter for their portfolio. And if they’re a member of your full-time staff, don’t be afraid to brag about your team in public.   

PRO TIP: The review and recommendation train goes both ways here. Once you’ve sent in your recommendation/online review/testimonial, you may receive one back.

Hire Them Again

You may file this away in the “duh” category of your brain, but it may not be so clear to those you worked with on your team. As soon as you can, talk to them about future projects or events coming up and gauge their availability. Make it clear that you have them in mind for other events.  If you know your needs well enough in advance, tell them, “I’d really like to use you for _____.”  

PRO TIP: If you feel that working together again soon is implied, either through a contract or a full time position, talk to them about ways they would like to expand their role, or offer to put them in charge. And there’s always a raise to consider.

Every big idea needs a team to see it through. Showing your appreciation to the team that makes it happen goes a long way. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work.