The Best Way to Show Your Employees the Love on Valentines Day- And Every Day

Ahh, Valentine’s Day. The day of love and all things chocolate. Is it a special day for you at the office or just another work day? I hope you place a special emphasis today, and really any working day for that matter, on loving your employees and coworkers in the agape love kind of way. That servant leadership kind of love (not the sappy romantic kind that could lead to a sexual harassment complaint) that helps you achieve positive organizational results.

As I think about the best way to show employees love, I’m reminded of the high of my work week last week. Well maybe it was my 2nd high given that I spent two days in sunny and warm San Diego for work last week, but I digress….

We’ve been working with a fabulous company to help them form company values and then drive all of their talent management initiatives out of these values.  Well last week, I got to watch the owner give out two of the first three values awards from the company. We found out from the award recipients’ managers and themselves what their favorite things are, and each value award was customized to that individual.   One girl, on top of several things she got for award, got the biggest jar of pickles the owner of the company could find.  Pickle lover she is.

Watching the smiles on the faces of both the giver and receivers of this was divine. After they received the award, I watched one shuffle through his loot and mumble to himself softly, “Man this is great.”

The price tag on the gifts wasn’t much but here are the things that stood out to matter:

  1. Find out what the person likes and give it.
  2. The giver matters. What added so much value to the personalized gifts was that the company owner picked them out (I offered to, but he wanted to) and drove over two hours to deliver both of them.
  3. Both 1 and 2 emphasize that giving of your time matters. It takes longer to personalize gifts and it takes time to personally deliver gifts.  Both of these facts may offer more meaning than the gift itself.
  4. The gift should connect or speak to some deeper meaning. In this case, the gifts spoke to these employees’ performance related to the core values of the company. They weren’t being given gifts just because (although I think just because gifts are also needed at times), they were being given gifts because they model the performance that drives company success. And that is appreciated.

So whether you are giving gifts to your employees today or to your significant other, make sure the gift actually shows your agape love by taking the time to personalize it in a way that makes an impact. You never know, performance might increase in your relationship because you do…

Which brings me back to my San Diego work trip.  Maybe I didn’t digress earlier. My husband went with me, and although he isn’t prone to like fancy dinners (he was most excited about a trip to In and Out Burger- his Milo’s of the west Coast) this the view is where he took me for our early Valentine’s dinner on the trip. Personalization at it’s finest.

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Mary Ila Ward

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