As we all know, Accounts Payable is an indispensable component of a successful real estate business. This team safeguards your financial stability and reputation. Keeping them organized and optimized is therefore of central importance. Ensuring they’re happy and energized should factor in as well. So, we’re exploring 10 ways to do just that during 2018 Accounts Payable Week, coming up October 8-12.
- Make everyone a morning person - Kick the week off with a “Welcome to Work” station with coffee, juice, donuts, cinnamon rolls, bagels, and other breakfast treats. Decorate with signs detailing why your employees merit such an occasion, calling out specific metrics and employees if possible. Allow the team some extra time to mingle, absorb, and relish this shindig before starting their work day.
- Wondrous workspace - Find an open office and equip it with any upgrade and amenity you can think of - a comfy couch, extra computer monitors, captivating wall art, an ergonomic chair and/or standing desk, a treadmill desk, fully stocked mini refrigerator, etc. Starting with October, give a deserving AP team member the office to use for a month, and then re-assign it to a new person each subsequent month.
- Handwritten wins - Think of how infrequently we communicate on a personal level these days. Writing a thoughtful, handwritten thank you note to your employee can often mean as much as a financial bonus or gift. Include specific things they’ve done to contribute and show that you’ve taken note of them throughout the year.
- Get out of the office - During AP week, hold meetings at a local coffee shop or bakery so they have a more casual and relaxed feel. Pay for your employees’ drinks and snacks. If you have the opportunity to walk to the offsite spot, even better!
- Designate a mascot - Find a symbolic mascot that represents your company in physical form and bestow it upon different employees when they help the company reach a milestone or perform particularly well. The communications firm, Duarte, chose a giraffe as their mascot once they learned that a herd of giraffes was called a “tower” and thought this perfectly represented how standing together made them stronger. Breakthrough (an online therapy resource) chose a duck as their company mascot as the animal seems calm at first glance but is constantly working diligently below the surface. Rotating a mascot between deserving employees is an easy and fun way to express gratitude that also happens to be meaningful and visible.
- Incorporate mindfulness - Give employees the time and space for mindfulness and meditation to alleviate the effects of feeling overworked and stressed. Mindfulness allows people to take purposeful breaks where they step away from the day to day to become more focused and concentrated. Like many other skills, it often requires training and practice, as people need to acclimate their minds to ‘turning-off’. Integrating mindfulness has been shown to increase productivity, creativity, and tolerance to stress, and help employees hone their personal aspirations. Get something setup for your employees for AP week and consider a place for mindfulness in your business year round.
- Host a Hackathon - Hackathons aren’t just for computer programmers and developers - they can be great for any team. Create an opportunity for your staff to come together to brainstorm new ideas that challenge ingrained habits and SOPs. This development session can generate innovative new models for your department or even your company as a whole.
- Professional Development Opportunities - Reward employees with a chance to attend a class, workshop, seminar, conference, or leadership training that will help them in their career. This shows you’re invested in them, their trajectory and, moreover, their long term happiness. If you have a large team and want to reward them all, consider bringing the professional development opportunity in house so everyone can benefit and nurture their skills.
- Games over lunch - Designate a new in-office day where your team can put down their phones, gather together, enjoy a catered lunch, and play a fun and interactive game. Board games have recently undergone somewhat of a renaissance and there are a plethora of engaging and engrossing games to choose from. Two Rooms and a Boom (a game of hidden roles and the process of deduction) and Pandemic (save the world before deadly diseases take hold) are 2 great options to get your game collection started.
- Keep them guessing! - Deliver unexpected surprises all week. Randomly tape gift cards under chairs before a meeting, gift the team personalized bobbleheads, bring in a smoothie maker for lunch, establish and announce a quarterly work from home day, or serve up some awesome AP-centric cookies.
The ideas above for celebrating the hard-working employees on your AP Team are just a start. You may actually find this to be an ideal time to put a formal employee recognition plan in place if you don't already have one. Chart your long-term strategy for rewarding and thanking the people at your organization, ensuring that it’s realistic, executable, and genuine. Your blueprint should include what you’ll be doing, when, with what frequency, what your budget is, etc. One great feature you may want to include is planning for shows of appreciation during particularly busy periods, such as month or year end.