Tag Archives: recognition

Take the time to say thank you.

It’s pretty simple. Just two words.light-sign-typography-lighting

Thank you.

And we fail to realize how much of a difference it can make to take the time to say thank you to our friends, family, and to our colleagues.

In the typical workplace, we work in teams. When we are collaborating with our fellow teammates, we help each other along to achieve a common goal. We need to remember to take the time to say thank you.

I was reminded of this simple concept in a blog post I read yesterday entitled Did You Say Thank You Today?

Gratitude goes a long way.

If someone has assisted you with a project, and their contribution and time meant a difference to you, take the time to thank them graciously. Even better, and this may feel awkward at first, make eye contact when saying thanks. It will be sincere. If you didn’t get a chance to thank them in person, put it in writing and make sure to send a quick email of thanks.

The best recognition you can give a colleague to thank them for their contribution, is to do so in front of their peers, at a team meeting for example.  At the weekly staff meeting in our office, we have a chance to recognize our colleagues’ efforts from the previous week; our appreciation is rewarded with a ‘kudos’.

Take the time to say thank you.

Say Thank You

thank you image

Today I received an early Birthday card from my team as they knew I would be away on my birthday. Wow, I thought, how thoughtful was that! I am thankful to have such a caring group to work with. I then emailed my gratitude to them all.

I really never thought about the benefits to my company by expressing gratitude openly. However, recently I read an article on the “Importance of Appreciation in the Workplace” and it cited the online career site, Glassdoor that stated “more than 80 percent of employees say they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation of their work.”

The article also lists a few ways you can show thanks and appreciation for employees’ work besides just using money. There are some suggestions such as an impromptu treat, lunch and even just thanking people by using their name.

Over the years, I have tried to show my appreciation by doing such things as remembering birthdays, treating the team to gelato etc.  However, one of the main ways to show appreciation was to tie the Thanks to the action in a timely manner. In the past, I would think of it, but failed to express it. I do not do this anymore or at least I try not to delay saying thanks or showing appreciation.

I hear ‘Thanks’ a lot in the office from all of us. In fact, each week we give the floor to the team in order for them to have the chance to recognize their colleagues’ efforts from the previous week; our appreciation is rewarded with a  “kudos”. To date, I believe I have a happier, appreciated team who all support each other.


When Hard Work Goes Unnoticed

I just got off the phone with my brother, whom I have not talked to in a few weeks. I know that he has been really busy at work the past few months. I’ve been getting updates from his wife on what long days, nights and weeks he has been working.

Today is my brother’s birthday. It felt right to hear his voice, and let him know that I am thinking of him. He needed a little light in his day.

He works in film production, and this particular feature film is running him ragged. The past 2 weekends he has had to fly to another city to work on the process of setting up production there, only to find out recently that the production company doesn’t have the proper permits in place. That is two weekends of hard work wasted, and away from his wife and 3 young kids.

Last night was the official wrap party with cast and crew, and this morning as he was on his way to work, his colleague called, and it was evident that the colleague was still celebrating, and would not make it to set today. My brother says to me, “So, all day today, I’ve done his job, plus my job, and on my birthday…not the way I really want to be spending it”.

My brother is a hard worker. He is not a complainer. He is reliable, gets the job done, and for the past 20+ years has an outstanding reputation in his industry. The long days, no weekends off, and hard work is part of the film business. He did say that he is looking forward to this particular project to be over, and looks forward to the next one in January.

cupcakeHe appreciated the call, and I told him that we would properly celebrate his birthday once the films wraps. I told him that even if all his hard work goes unnoticed now, that good karma must be coming his way.

Happy Birthday, big brother.

Perks at Work

Yes, we’ve heard about company perks that big employers like Google and Facebook can offer their employees. But, what can smaller companies do? With limited budgets, it can be challenging, but offering attractive low-cost perks encourages creative ideas that will keep employees engaged and happy.

Some good perks to many employees are flexible schedules, telecommuting, and extra vacation days. Depending on the environment and culture, some employees enjoy the benefits of Take Your Dog to Work Day. There is also job sharing for new parents, or a paid day off per year to volunteer for a favourite charity. These are just some of the benefits that enable employees to work well and live well.

Many years ago, I worked at a company where the Director of our branch office did a lot of corporate travel. He racked up the air miles points, enough to be rewarded a long haul flight, and every year at the staff holiday party he drew a name out of a hat. I remember one year, the winning staff member was our long time receptionist who used the air miles to go on her honeymoon to the Caribbean. Although only one person really benefited from this perk, we all felt great about it.  It did wonders for morale.

A tricky thing about introducing a new perk, is the sustainability of it. When financial times are tough, sometimes it’s those little perks that go away first. It can be awfully hard to take back those pizza Fridays that everybody enjoyed for the past year. Outrage may occur, and companies don’t like being the bad guy.

That being said, it can be fun to change things up a bit. Replace one perk with another one. A great morale booster is a peer-led recognition system, whereas the staff nominates one of their fellow co-workers as a star employee for going above and beyond their regular work.  The company provides the prize – anything from a paid day off or gift cards. With a values-driven culture, the company should be in tune to their employees’ interests, and the awards can be highly personalized.

While going above and beyond the standard benefits can help boost moral and create a loyal workforce, keep in mind that it is not the dollar amount that matters. Taking a philosophical approach to values and culture, and the thought you put into it will create a culture of happiness and fun in the long run.

Office party etiquette

We discovered from the results of last week’s poll, that over 90% of you are going out after office hours, to celebrate the season with your coworkers. This is great news to us, as we believe that strong relationships amongst company employees leads to a strong and unifying team. Parties are ideal morale boosters, and the perfect way to put the office walls behind you, and enjoy the company of your peers outside the office setting.

A few tips to keep in mind:

Drink moderately. Granted, the party is a social function, but it is still  a professional event first and foremost. A good rule to stick by – for every alcoholic beverage, make sure you drink a tall glass of water as well.

Mingle. Now is your chance to speak with those individuals you might not normally work with and meet the larger team, so be sure to make a good impression. Use the party as a way to strengthen existing relationships or make new ones.

Have fun! Take this time to blow off some steam and have a good time with your co-workers. Laughter is an equalizer.

Don’t forget your manners. Remember to thank your boss at the end of the evening.  Hey, they’re paying the bill. Let them know how much you appreciate the party they’re throwing for the company. And if one of your co-workers organized the event, make sure you give a special thank you for the hard work they put into planning the evening.

~ Jessica Rozitis

Keeping Momentum

With summer behind us, and while that time was totally enjoyable, I can honestly say that I love Fall. To me Fall is about planning (perhaps the highly intensive juggle of school schedules ignites this!). I also like to use Fall for imagining, dreaming and looking to the future.

With the team back in full strength it is easy to bring our momentum back into its optimal groove to capitalize on the inspirations Fall brings us. Done correctly company meetings and recognition programs can do a lot for team spirit and engagement. The trick is knowing what components make up the right recipe for each team.

One of my favourite ways to keep momentum is through spontaneous meetings. Some of our best breakthroughs have come from them. The free form nature of these catch ups can weigh strongly in favour of keeping momentum ticking along and the wheel turning. As everyone knows, people tend to spark off of each other. And most of the time innovation emerges from groups. The art of spontaneity can co-exist quite nicely with structured meetings as the ‘x’ factor found in spontaneity breaks the doldrums of routine.

I can already hear the wheels in motion! Gotta run! Momentum calls!

~ Sarah McNeill

photo credit: stefanweihs

A lesson in Politeness

My Mom always taught me to write a thank you note right after someone has given me a gift.  It was good manners.  It was polite.

Canadians, in general are polite.  International media regularly reports this about us.  When NBC descended upon our city for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the reporters and newscasters got to see us up close and personal, we hoped that our Canadian politeness rubbed off on them a bit.  It looks like it did.   Brian Williams from NBC wrote a very kind thank you note.  This is a tribute to Canada’s culture.

Brian, we’re happy that you had a great experience in Vancouver.  Please come back anytime.

Oh, and…”you’re welcome”.

~ Jessica Rozitis

Hire for attitude

One of McNak’s favourite models of the ultimate service experience is the Four Seasons Hotels. It has, after almost fifty years, stayed true to founder Isadore Sharp’s vision to create a second to none service culture. If only more companies could translate their style into their own businesses. 

“We hire for attitude, then we train for skill” – Ellen du Bellay, vice president of learning and development, Four Seasons Hotels

A lot of us wonder about respect, especially when it comes to workplace culture. As any follower of our blog knows, McNak is all about finding the cultural fit in an organization, and respect is an integral part of that. Respect is essential to the success of McNak’s business – how we interact with our candidates, how we develop relationships with our clients, and how every member of Team McNak works together to ensure a truly respectful workplace. If respect is core to a company’s belief system then the bond is almost unbreakable and is a powerful tool for personal and corporate success.

Respect in the workplace starts with the individual – whether it’s a management position, a junior administrator, or the CEO. This is the core of the message in Erica Pinsky’s ‘Road to Respect: Path to Profit’. Pinsky, a local author, speaker and consultant, recently took the time to discuss her insights at the BC HRMA book group.

The economic realities of the last year have had a tremendous impact on workplace behaviour – the stress that comes with an uncertain economy can push people to unkind behaviours. The fear of losing a job (or not being able to find another one) can compel individuals to stay in jobs where they are not being treated with respect, putting up with unacceptable behaviour.

Surprisingly, bullying is one of the greatest concerns in Canadian workplaces, causing severe damage at both a personal level, as well as to corporate profitability. Unfortunately, while Canadian Labour Law protects individuals from discrimination, it has yet to deal with workplace bullying. While it may be impossible to legislate respect, corporations that deeply believe in it find themselves with a truly competitive edge.  A healthy company can’t be all shiny on the outside and tarnished and bruised on the inside. It just doesn’t work any other way.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have employers truly committed to developing a respectful workplace. Aretha Franklin nailed it with her lyrics ‘ ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T – find out what it means to me…’

~ Bradley Cuzen

Volunteering 101

volunteerMany people think of volunteering as ‘the thing you just do’ when you are passionate about something. And while this is true, volunteering can unlock some incredible opportunities for your career.

Participating in a local community endeavour not only helps your resume by showing your commitment to and support for an organization above and beyond paid employment, but can actually expand your business network. Sharing a common philanthropy or not-for-profit initiative is a great conversation starter. Most volunteering does not require that you have a specific degree or work experience. With such a variety of potential new people in your network, your horizons in the job search arena can quickly expand. People are also more willing and readily able to support people who are passionate about the same cause.

Volunteering and your brand: As you become more and more ‘fluent’ in the organization(s) you support, your knowledge and involvement add to your personal brand. The more well known you become, the more you will find yourself with a greater network to draw upon. People will start asking for you.

Community building is an excellent initiative that should not just be left up to the individual. Corporations are also deeply responsible for the success of our community. McNeill Nakamoto has been very actively involved with Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland for over five years. We believe that without commitment to community, our success as a company is meaningless.  McNeill Nakamoto Recruitment Group was created over twelve years ago, and our focus is the same as when we began – to make a difference.  And what a tremendous surprise it was to be commended with the Big Sisters Big Heart award! This award is given annually to the company that has made the most significant difference to the Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland. We are so very proud.

Everyone can make a difference. Every hour spent thinking about, and then actually participating in, something you believe needs your support, is time well spent. Think of it as a long-term investment in yourself and in others – every hour donated adds value to your career bank. It’s not always about the money.

~ Sarah McNeill

photo credit:  timparkinson

Got Heart?

Yesterday McNeill Nakamoto Recruitment Group had the great honour of receiving the Big Heart Award from Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland at the Big Sisters Spring Lunch.  We truly believe that mentorship for young women strengthens our community.   Sarah McNeill comments, ‘Every young girl deserves to be inspired to their own future greatness. Big Sisters truly offers this opportunity to these young girls.  As both mothers and business owners, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland is the most natural choice for our company’.

McNeill Nakamoto is proud of its involvement with Big Sisters and thrilled to have raised over $50,000 for Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland.  We find ways to involve our staff, our clients, the community and especially the Little Sisters themselves.   We do this by raising funds and awareness:

  • through  silver  sponsorship of the Big Sisters Divas Gala
  • ‘McNak Jeans for Big Sisters’ – individual donations by McNeill Nakamoto staff members in exchange for wearing jeans to work
  • Grape Juice, the fun and very successful Wine Auction created and  hosted by Team McNak
  • ‘McNak Career Launcher’ for Little Sisters – a workshop on assisting teenage ‘Littles’ with resume and interview tips
  • Sarah McNeill chairs the Big Sisters Gala, and with her influence and network has created a broad awareness in the community, as well as broken fund raising records for this annual event.

The Big Sisters Big Heart Award is given annually to a business for outstanding support of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland.

~ Jessica Rozitis

Cheryl Nakamoto and Sarah McNeill receiving Big Heart Award

Cheryl Nakamoto and Sarah McNeill receiving Big Heart Award