Recognize Staff

Very difficult jobs and the people who do them well should be recognized. This area offers ideas on how to celebrate the hard work done in community corrections each day. Most of these ideas are low-cost and very easy to carry out, so try a few this year!

Employee Recognition Ideas

Recognition can increase employee retention and morale. Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Volunteer to babysit for children of colleagues so parents can have a night out.
  • Organize staff to sponsor a local charity and collect for the group’s wish-list throughout the year to be donated during the Week or during the holiday season.
  • Recognize a colleague or staff member by posting a "tweet" or a note on facebook about the great job they have done.
  • Have your agency "adopt" a local charity and take up a collection of needed items during the Week to be presented at the charity. Don't forget to take photos and place on your agency website or in your newsletter.
  • Host a luncheon, coffee, reception, or provide doughnuts or pizza for the staff sometime during the week.
  • Send a personal letter of thanks from the CPO or agency director to the staff recognizing their work, dedication and efforts.
  • Hold a drawing for a paid individual membership to a professional association such as APPA or others as appropriate.
  • Have a raffle to give away a paid registration fee to attend an APPA conference or to a training being held in your area.
  • Select one day during the Week to have a pot luck lunch. Then have everyone vote for the best dish with a certificate presented to the winner. Or, spray a spatula with gold paint to present as the "Golden Spatula Award."
  • There are probably several gardeners on staff. See if they would like to organize a "plant swap" during the Week to exchange plants and ideas with those afraid to try gardening before.
  • Organize an agency speaker's bureau through which designated officers make presentations to community groups or schools. Often times, groups simply don't know how or who to contact for speaking engagements. Make sure the info is on your website and easy to find.
  • Give employees time off to give blood.
  • If you have a department newsletter, publish a “congrats” area and ask for nominations throughout the department or agency to recognize achievements.
  • For those agencies that are armed, hold a shooting range target practice and tournament with small prizes or gift certificates for the winners.
  • Check with a local gym to see if they would be willing to donate a month’s (or more!) worth of visits. If they’re game, hold a drawing for the prize.
  • Gather a group of volunteers from your office to spend a couple of hours serving food at a homeless shelter or ask if your local women’s shelter needs some sprucing up. Most communities never have enough volunteers and your efforts will be welcomed. Try having some t-shirts with your agency name printed to wear while you’re helping out.
  • If your agency is near a college or university, ask instructors to bring a group of students interested in entering the field of community corrections into the office to see what really happens day-to-day. APPA gets numerous information requests each year from students looking to go into community corrections and who ask what the work is really like.
  • Honor deceased and/or injured officers by observing a moment of silence.
  • At a breakfast or a luncheon, recognize your staff with the longest years of service, newest staff person, and create other ways to recognize each of your staff.

Office Staff/Volunteer Recognition Ideas

Imagine how your office would work if there were no assistants to answer phones, sort mail, file, order office supplies, fix your computer when you break it, help find a lost file, assist when you can't get online, or unjam the copier. Probation and parole agencies get through each day with help from office staff and many times volunteers who give their time to enable officers and agents to have more time in the field.

Here are a few ideas on how to thank these important individuals:

  • Start a chip-in box for spare change and use it to purchase fresh fruit for the office.
  • Start a walking group to take a 10-minute walk during the busy work day—this will be healthy and stress reducing.
  • Create a suggestion box for support staff to submit ideas on how to improve efficiency and give gift certificates to local restaurants for the ideas that improve the office work. Just because it has always been done a certain way doesn't mean that's the best way to do it!
  • When possible, get staff involved in decorating the office with plants. Live plants are a great way to bring extra oxygen into a room and the watering, pruning, or cleaning of plants can be a nice stress reducer.
  • Designate one day during Pretrial, Probation, Parole, and Community Supervision Week as "Staff Appreciation Day."
  • Look into whether your local library offers classes in new computer software applications; many times, these classes are free or very low cost. Then, give staff time off during the day to attend if classes are only offered then.
  • Send your assistant an e-card to thank him/her for a job well done or whenever they have to stay late to help finish a report for you.
  • Buy some nice certificate paper and create awards for special recognition or efforts, i.e., "Beyond the Call of Duty" Award.
  • Just say "Thank You"!

And… don’t forget to have new posters printed for this year’s Week! Post them in your office, at the Courthouse, or the District Attorney’s office and ask for permission to post them in the windows of local merchants who greatly benefit from the work of community corrections professionals and the actions they take to keep the neighborhood safe.