Team Building: Ways to Express Appreciation to Your Team - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: Ways to Express Appreciation to Your Team

You know you wouldn’t be where you are today without your team, but do they know you feel this way? It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and assume your staff understands how much you appreciate the hard work they put in every day.

However, leaders with strong company cultures will tell you it is important to express your gratitude to your employees often and in a manner of different ways.

“When people feel that their efforts are valued, they experience greater job satisfaction, have a stronger desire to show up for work every day and give it their all, push themselves to the next level and stay with an organization for the long haul,” says Courtney Pohlit, director of human resources for Ruppert Landscape, based in Laytonsville, Maryland.

Share Praise

It can seem simplistic, but do not overestimate the power of praising your team. You can do this by personally thanking employees or sharing positive customer feedback.

“When we have wins as a team, it’s important to recognize those who contributed to our success,” says Shayne Newman, president of YardScapes Landscape Professionals, based in New Milford, Connecticut. “As landscapers, we are driven by our love for the outdoors as well as our desire to please our clients. It feels good when we know we have made our clients happy. So, it’s important to recognize that our employees are motivated by knowing that they have made someone happy.”

You can also recognize your team for a job well done by giving out various company awards.

“Every month, we recognize the Gardner of the Month and Supervisor of the Month; each receives a gift card,” says Leigh Townsend, president of J.W. Townsend Landscapes, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. “We also recognize crew members by giving out two preferred parking spots. The gift cards and parking spots are given to staff who have delivered a high-quality product and/or customer experience.”

Provide Rewards

Another common way to show your appreciation to your team is with various rewards. This could be randomized as going out and treating your crews to ice cream on a hot day or more structured through profit sharing.

Even if profit sharing is a little too involved for your operations, providing end-of-the-year bonuses can show you acknowledge your team’s effort to the company’s overall success. Some companies use the holidays to gift their team members with turkeys for Thanksgiving and hams for Christmas.

 “The holiday giveaways also seem to hit the heart,” says Brian Mark, owner and president of CMS Landscape, based in Pocasset, Massachusetts. “I would never diminish the impact of the bonus program though, very powerful.”

Giving team members gift cards in recognition of various good practices, such as stepping up in the face of a challenge, demonstrating safe operations or constantly having a positive attitude can show you are paying attention.

Host Team Gatherings

Team gatherings can serve as a time to celebrate your company’s wins and your staff’s dedication. These can be as simple as monthly or quarterly cookouts or more elaborate holiday gatherings at a special location.

 “If you are going to host an event, do it right and make it fun,” says Julie Patronik, marketing and creative director at McHale Landscape Design, Inc., based in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. “Invest the time and money which ultimately help to build your corporate culture. Hire the band. Invite the families. Hire a photographer. Capture the memories.”

Not only do team members get to enjoy your appreciation, these types of events can also help with your overall camaraderie.

“We’ve made a practice of getting out our calendars at the beginning of each year and making a plan for a few fun, team-building activities so that we’re committed to them,” says Phil Key, CEO of Ruppert Landscape. “But we also take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves throughout the year for impromptu celebrations and thank yous. Life is too short to not have some fun!”

Offer Additional Time Off

Many team members value quality time with their families and gifting your team with additional time off as a thank you can be incredibly meaningful. Providing extra time off can also allow your team to recuperate after a demanding season.

This could be a formalized system where employees can earn points they can later cash in for more PTO or something more casual where you give the team a half day or a day off as you are able.

“How people show gratitude is, in my opinion, probably not going to be the same from company to company,” says Bret Achtenhagen, president of Bret Achtenhagen’s Seasonal Services based in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. “Your company has a culture, it has a personality, and your methods of showing gratitude should be consistent with that culture.”

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.