April 11, 2019
Did you know the last full week of each April is Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week? Of course, it’s never too early or too late to recognize 21st CCLC staff members for their efforts and contributions. There are all kinds of creative ways to say “You rock!” Use these tips to boost energy, confidence and morale year-round.
Be specific. It’s good to hear “Thanks for all you do.” It’s even better to hear “I’m so glad you agreed to mentor our newest staff member. Alyson has really grown professionally in the three months since she joined us, and she told me she’s very grateful for your support. You have a knack for encouraging people to grow.”
Take notice when staff members…
- Learn a new skill.
- Offer a new idea.
- Solve a problem.
- Do something for the first time.
- Do something well, and consistently, over time.
- Make a positive difference for a colleague, student, family or the community.
Whether you recognize someone in public or in private, verbally or in writing, use stories and examples. This shows you were paying attention, and it signals that their actions were memorable and noteworthy.
Find creative ways to say “thank you.”
- Feature staff members’ good work in a newsletter, newspaper, website, blog, bulletin board or another public place.
- Spotlight their contributions at a staff meeting or program event.
- Treat the team to breakfast.
- Surprise them (e.g., with an act of service, a treat or words of affirmation).
- Provide an opportunity (e.g., to try something new, or to learn something new).
- Share the mic (e.g., provide a forum for staff to hear directly from students, families, colleagues and others).
Acknowledge individual and team accomplishments. Did a staff member earn a professional certificate, or wow the local school board with a presentation about your program? Recognize these accomplishments at your next staff meeting! Teamwork is equally important. When staff members team with colleagues, families, partners, school-day teachers or community members, cheer for their success, and acknowledge what they accomplish.
Don’t wait! Year-end awards are great, but people need encouragement along the way.
When you catch someone doing good work, let them know right away. As Leslie coaches students in slapstick comedy, or as Jim lets his students teach him some dance moves, maybe you can snap a photo and send it in a text message: “Those kids are having a great time, thanks to you!” Hint: Action shots are also great for bulletin boards and newsletters, which are ways to provide public recognition.