Skip the pink frosted cupcakes and awkward “Be Mine” valentines. Contrary to popular belief, these don’t make employees happy nor do they contribute to making a great company culture.
Instead, here’s how to show your team some real deal love.
1) Gather your team for 30 minutes. Have them draw a vertical line down a piece of paper. Have them write “Work” on the top of one column and “Personal” on the top of the other.
2) Then ask them – if they had two foot-loose and fancy-free hours to do whatever they wanted to experience loving their lives more – either in the work realm or the personal realm – what would they do? Have them think about all the times they said, “If I just had more time, I would love to…”
3) Give them a few minutes to come up with at least three things on each side. Then have them circle the #1 item on each list and briefly share. Capture these on a flipchart/whiteboard (or some shared document.)
(Note: Don’t judge. Someone might say “sleep” or “watch cat videos.” Or simply have “breathing room with no commitments.” Honor every idea as valid, knowing that what would have you love your life is different than what others would choose.)
4) Then, give them two magical hours off* (You can choose to do a “your choice” day or give everyone time off early on one specific day, or have them come in late one day) Make sure they understand that these two hours are to be used to accomplish or experience their Number One item (No, they may not do laundry or clean out their e-mail inbox – unless, of course, this is their Number One item!) To add a bit more significance to each person’s itemm, “star” or “heart” the ONE item (personal or professional) that each person listed as their Number One.
*Unexpected time off is one of the few powerful gifts you can give to tangibly make employees happy and another step towards building great company culture.
5) Plan and schedule these two hours before the end of February. When Friday, March 1st rolls around get everyone back together and share experiences.
To protect against letting this magical time get sucked up by the “whirlwind” of life and work, recommend each person set a timer and honor their Number One by only doing that one activity during that time period.
Keep in mind, some people might want to sleep on it. Simply ask them to come back the following day (or by this Friday) with what they’re committed to taking on/trying on in those two hours and update the shared document.
To create a great company culture, steer clear of the trite roses and sugar-crashing heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Instead, invest in empowering your team to experience a life they love