Kick Start Your Staff Morale with K-TECH (Part 5): Honor Staff Contributions

Topics: Education Policy, ESSA

Know | Trust | Empower | Connect | Honor

Recently a school leader posted a question on LinkedIn asking how to boost morale with staff during challenging times. My immediate response was to share the K-TECH framework because it helps build the foundation for a safe and purposeful classroom for everyone– students and staff. K-TECH is the acronym KnowledgeWorks uses for integrating characteristics of a safe and purposeful school environment into overall school improvement. K-TECH is aligned with major youth development initiatives including Josepshon Institute’s Six Pillars of Character and Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. K-TECH was originally created by Ohio’s Center for Essential School Reform as part of its Framework for Building Safe and Serious Schools. While we often talk about K-TECH in reference to improving school climate for students, these same strategies can be applied to building relationships with and effectively motivating staff.

In this five part blog, Michele Timmons shares ideas for implementing K-TECH as a strategy for building morale and creating a community of adult learners who can truly meet the needs of the children they serve.

Last month we highlighted C- Making Connections to Improve Morale and Performance.

Today’s focus is H- Honoring Staff Contributions

May is always the month when schools and districts across the nation honor teachers. So why would I wait until June to highlight the importance of honoring staff contributions? Because… honoring staff contributions (all staff) is critically important to the health and well-being of every organization. We shouldn’t only celebrate the work of administrative assistants in April or teachers in May. Instead we need to develop a system where we are continuing to honor everyone in our organization and thank them for being a part of the team.

School is out (whew!). Take some time to think about how you have honored your staff in the past and what you might do to systematize your approach and ensure every staff member knows she / he is a critical member of your team.

Here are 4 Cheap and Easy Tips for Honoring All Staff

  1. Birthdays are a big deal. Celebrate them!
    • Create calendar reminders for yourself (and your staff) to remind them of everyone’s birthday.
    • Send an email message or a quick note in their mailbox on their birthday.
    • Hold a monthly Birthday Pot Luck Luncheon to recognize that month’s birthday men and women.
  1. Catch staff being good! Most schools try to create positive recognition systems for the kids. This is just as important for the adults in your school.
    • A small candy (or fruit) treat is just as appreciated as a gift card to some restaurant they may never frequent.
    • Create pre-printed notecards (or post it notes) with a sentence starter recognizing something special that you or another staff member noticed. Anyone can tear off a card, write a quick note and drop it in their mailbox. Create them in house or purchase from places like Positive Promotions.
  1. Recognize professional and personal accomplishments!
    • Find out when a staff member completes a new certification, degree or important training.
    • Learn when a staff member’s church group finishes a mission project or a person competes in a race or marathon.
    • As part of your regular staff email, highlight these fun and important accomplishments that may have nothing to do with work.
    • Create a Wall of Fame where you post these recognitions for all to see.
  1. Make a drop in their buckets! This is one of the coolest and easiest ways to build staff morale and personal self-esteem. According to Strengths Finder 2.0, “Drops are a simple and effective way to act on the Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket. They are handwritten, personal messages of positive recognition. And they are a great way to share kind words, give unexpectedly and fill someone’s bucket. Drops have been used in businesses, schools and places of worship for more than three decades, and millions of people have sent and received them. Some people keep the drops they receive for many years as a reminder of their accomplishments. Anyone can give a drop as long as it is individual, specific, and deserved.”

I’d love to know what systems you have in place to continually honor your staff so everyone knows they are a critical member of your school team!  Please share.

Guest post by Michele Timmons, a former Manager of Partnership Development and Technical Assistance Coach for KnowledgeWorks.