I settle in at my desk and hold my hands up to the portable heater resting on the floor to my left. This polar vortex reminds me of my first boyfriend back in the eleventh grade; it just won’t let up. It takes me a solid 30 minutes to get my body to heat up every morning after my cold and windy commute. Today feels no different.
Between the head congestion and the roar of my little old heater I don’t hear the knock at my door. My boss, Aditi, lets out a muffled cough. I look up to see her tight blonde curls peeking through the doorway. “Have a minute?” She asks.
“Of course.” I turn the heater down a few settings to soften the hum and swipe the pile of Kleenex off my desk and into the garbage bin.
She walks over and takes a seat across from me. “I’d like to try something new this year to motivate our team,” she says.
I nod, unsure of where this is going. My mind flashes to the last “team outing” we had back in the fall, when we went rock climbing at The Pad just two blocks from the office. I’ll never forget the panicked look on Andy’s face as his footing slipped and suddenly he was hanging upside down. Who knew that was even possible, what with the harness and ropes and all the safety precautions? Only Andy.
“I’d like to figure out some sort of approach for employee recognition,” Aditi says. “We’re working on some exciting projects right now and I foresee some impressive success stories.”
I wait for her to continue, but am greeted only with a long pause – a clear indication she’s anticipating my response.
Caught off guard, I grab this month’s Office Plus flyer sitting beside my keyboard. “Ah good idea,” I tell her. I nonchalantly flip through the pages, suddenly craving a second coffee to help thaw my brain. Then I get to page 4 and something catches my eye.
“What if we offered a subtle incentive?” I say, the warm rush of ideas suddenly flushing through. “We could make a little announcement and present the employee with a certificate recognizing his or her success.”
Aditi locks eyes with me and I suddenly worry it sounds too third grade. Then I remember a conversation with Marsha about a recent study she read.
“Not like a gold star or anything,” I continue, “just something tangible – representing what the employee and the company have achieved together. I think it could have a really positive impact. It’s important to help employees see their hard work is meaningful and that it contributes to our overall success.”
“That’s fantastic,” she says. “I could throw in a gift card too – to a local restaurant or something.”
I let out a small smile, silently thanking the Office Plus flyer for coming to the rescue once again. “That sounds lovely.”
Aditi gets up to leave, wearing an excited grin on her face.
I roll my chair back over to the heater and hit the off switch. Warm ups are over. Feeling motivated, I open the big client project with the crazy deadline I’ve been working on. I have a St. James Company Certificate to earn.