Sunday, May 08, 2011

Little Things - Showing Appreciation for Your Staff

One of the trophies
It's amazing how much the littlest things can have such a big impact on student volunteers. Two years now at WHWS I've given our student volunteers...the ones who have done more than "just" been an on-air DJ...little trophies. I've meant to get around to holding real "superlative" contests where all the students can vote on fake titles for each trophy, but never really did. Still, I just make up silly titles, run them past a few folks for input, and order up the trophies from an online custom trophy maker. I won't name it because you can Google it and find a dozen that'll work.

The trophies aren't terribly fancy; they just have a little plastic microphone or a clear plastic "star" with a mic logo. They cost about $3 or $4 each, and the name plate is fully customized. You can use real titles but I thought "Ambulance Chaser (Newscaster)" and "Master of All She Surveys (Program Director)" added the appropriate level of cheekiness and so far all the recipients have agreed.

What's really remarkable is the impact they have. To a one, all the recipients (and there's about 15 to 20 each year) have LOVED the trophies and thanked us profusely. Perhaps they're just all really good actors, but I prefer to believe that little gestures of appreciation can go a long way.

One of the trophies, as
modeled by WHWS PD
Vienna Farlow
It also helps a great deal because, at a volunteer radio station, the primary driving factor for most of your station's volunteers is ego. They're feeding their ego by "ruling the airwaves", and little recognitions of that feed it even more. This is a good thing! It confirms that they should remain involved and sets an example for others.

It doesn't have to be big, although big is certainly good...going for an MTV "Woodie" award is something that your station and its volunteers can be proud of, but it's also a nice line on a resume for your graduating seniors, too! But even little things like trophies, certificates of recognition, custom t-shirts/hats, and like, are all good...and can be done quickly and cheaply!