When I was growing up, Valentine’s Day was a big deal. At school, we’d make paper bag mail boxes, decorated with our favorite designs and colors. Every kid would get a class list to take home because everybody was to write a card for everybody. Then my mom would take me to the store to pick out a pack of Valentine’s.
I’d always get up extra early on Valentine’s Day, too excited to sleep. Most of the cards were pretty generic, but sometimes there’d be an extra sticker added or a Hershey’s kiss (always open to interpretation). The point is, though, we all felt valued. We’d go home with a bag of 30 valentines with our names hand-written on them. They meant something. There was a sense of genuine connection.
In a time of e-mails, texts, What’s Apps, and screens, we often forego connection for convenience. But by taking an old school tradition from the past and bringing it to your workplace, you might turn Valentine’s Day into an opportunity to foster employee engagement and make genuine connections with your team.
Now, should you run to the grocery store for a pack of Star Wars valentines? You might, and your team would probably get a kick out of it. But it can go beyond the $2.00 box of cards.
Valentine’s month is the perfect excuse to humanize your organization. Kick start a random acts of kindness (RAK) campaign in the workplace. In a world that can be so inhuman and cold, creating an environment where kindness and connections happen is a great way to boost employee engagement.
What RAKs can you implement?
1. Hand write notes to members of your team when they do a good job.
2. Talk up someone on the team to his boss.
3. Bring in coffee and muffins for your team.
4. Create a book swap area with a comfortable chair for reading.
5. Help someone before they have to ask. (Even if it isn’t in your job description).
6. Know everyone’s name – from the security guard to the top CEO.
7. Ask someone how her family is doing. Listen.
8. Organize a blood drive, a book drive, a food drive or clothing drive at your workplace.
9. Connect colleagues to people in your network. Be a bridge, not a wall.
10. On Valentine’s Day, get to work early and leave a little Star Wars valentine on everyone’s desk, with a piece of candy. Why not? Watch the smiles.
We often confuse professionalism with being cold. Kindness is contagious! Brainstorm, with your team, other ideas to not only celebrate kindness in February but year ‘round. Make connections and boost employee engagement.
Happy Valentine’s Day!