As a small business owner, you may need to give an employee appreciation speech at some point. This may happen at the company holiday party or at the completion of a major project. There are a few best practices for giving this speech that you can follow to make it a success.
1. Focus on Creating a Healthy Company Culture
Motivational speeches are a great way to highlight the hard work that your team members do. They can show what the future holds and give you space to reflect on any past challenges that your staff members had to overcome.
As you develop your speech, identify how your company culture made the team achievements possible. Which character traits helped your staff pull through? This could be your company's value of teamwork where everyone chipped in or the culture of innovation that you developed. Tying this celebration back to your core values will show how the company thrives when everyone works at their best.
2. Define the Company Values and Goals
Your speech will serve two parts: it will give employees time to reflect on the work they did while inspiring them to work harder in the coming months. For example, an appreciation speech at a holiday party will reflect on the previous year and paint a picture of what is to come in January and beyond.
Along with listing these future opportunities, define the goals for the coming term and show how your company values will make them a reality. A good speech will help your staff see how their day-to-day work will make the big-picture ideas of leadership a reality.
3. Practice Your Speech
Employee appreciation speeches should not come off-the-cuff. If you need to thank specific people or share ideas for the future, write them down. This will help you remember what you have to say and make sure no one gets left out. Throughout your practice speech, focus on your eye contact and facial expressions. Consider your tone and try to remember to smile. Even if you are not the best public speaker, you can make a positive impact by speaking clearly and looking directly at your audience.
4. Recognize Your Top Employees
If you are celebrating the hard work of your staff, make sure you recognize the team members who worked to pull off a project or idea. Add a few basic recognition phrases to your speech, like saying thank you to your team members and acknowledging their hard work. You can also use this time to give out any awards or certificates of thanks to your top-performers.
Try to avoid giving compliments in your speech unless they relate directly to the work your team members did. By focusing on recognition for their efforts, you can motivate your team members to do more moving forward.
5. Share Your Plan for the Future
It is okay to be ideological in your appreciation speeches. You want to show that you have a plan to make the current work processes better and create room for growth. For example, if your team is understaffed, you can talk about how you plan to hire more people. If the company overcame a major hurdle, show how the future will have fewer problems.
Depending on the length of your speech, this can be as short or long as you need. Some presentations provide concrete steps for the future, while others list a few highlights that team members can look forward to.
6. Maintain a Positive Attitude
Whether you are giving an employee appreciation speech because you hit your goals or because you are celebrating the end of an era, maintain a positive attitude. Do not dwell on the problems that cropped up during the project or any bad news you need to address. At best, your speech needs to be uplifting and celebratory. If you need to deliver bad news, keep your tone hopeful and confident. Your employees are turning to you for insight on the future, so it's up to you to make that future seem bright.
Throughout this whole speech, make sure you are genuine. Speak from the heart and show how you care for your team. How you make your speech says just as much as what you actually say.