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I ponder how best to say ‘thanks for playing’ as the financial year draws to a close. Leadership teams are frantically putting the finishing touches on the strategic plan for the year to come, employees and managers are getting ready for performance reviews, the sales and marketing bods are giving one last big push to get sales in the door.

I’ve no doubt that comes 1 July most of us will breathe a sigh of relief and return to work fresh for a new game –  I know I will.

It is so, so important to say ‘thank-you’ to those who are working hard despite the current state of the nation (though Australia is not in a recession) – salary raises and bonuses are looking pretty scarce however more than ever we need people to ‘give’ their discretionary effort. So we too simply must ‘give’ acknowledgement.

I visited a client recently who said ‘So glad to see you, Naomi, I have an edict from our European head office – salary freezes and no bonuses, yet the team have never worked so hard. RedBalloon vouchers I can get away with, it’s not expensive, yet at least they will know that we do appreciate their individual and team efforts.’ Music to my ears of course.

Now we don’t mind being the consolation prize – in fact, we think it is a good idea, people are unlikely to talk about cash but they are far more likely to share the story of what they did when they went on their experience. At least this will support the employer brand.

The last thing any business needs during uncertain times is for the best people or customers to be looking elsewhere. Now is the time to focus them and keep them close to the business, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Whether it is a week of free coffee or a personal thank you card from the CEO, it’s important that some time and effort is taken.

At RedBalloon we will be having a full fun day – every one horse riding, bush lunch, then abseiling and a very decadent experience to finish off. RedBallooners know that we are in this together – perhaps that is part of why they voted us in the top ten Best Places to Work.

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