The months of November and December are always full of heartfelt articles of gratitude, the latest blog, Facebook challenges, and year-end appeals. Yes, definitely, the focus on gratitude throughout this time is important to all of us. It helps people think about regular people serving the homeless on Thanksgiving, women baking cookies for the firemen and police officers, and maybe being that person who volunteers at a local toy drive.
It puts a priority on thanking our loyal association members and volunteers for their role in supporting our organization. It helps remind each of us individually that while the year goes by so quickly, we need to take time to be grateful in all aspects of our life.
The thing though about a season so focused on gratitude, is that often, those feelings of gratitude are quieter or fewer and farther between during the other months of the year. Yes, you may send your required thank you letter after receiving a check from a local attorney, but other activities of gratitude may then wait on the back burner until November and December when gratitude is the focus for all. However, in all fairness to this season, I ask you to instead think about how to spread your gratitude and expressions of sincere gratitude for your business clients and the independent contractors across the entire next year (and every year).
Everyone always appreciates heartfelt gratitude at any time, so absolutely, continue on with your current plans for Thanksgiving, but I encourage you to use this holiday season as a springboard for challenging yourself over the next 12 months to expand your expressions of gratitude to everyone.
Consider some of these other methods of expressing gratitude to clients and independent contractors throughout the year and how you can adapt them to your own firm, whether large or small:
- Write a handwritten note to a client or judge thanking them for placing their trust in you for all of their transcription needs. Maybe use the blank notecards that you can decorate yourself, if you are feeling very creative.
- Write a handwritten note to a legal secretary that took time to offer the “prep material” you needed for their deposition, enabling you to give them a fabulous realtime feed or at least make your 400-page deposition a bit easier to complete.
- Write a handwritten note to all of the reporters, scopists, proofreaders who work for you, whether full time, part-time, or just filling in on those days when you are scrambling to get that 8:00 a.m. depo covered or a 1000-page transcript completed and out the door.
- My personal favorite it to “Say it with flowers.” Reward top employees by bringing in flowers from your garden (or neighbors’ garden once you ask) and arranging them in a spectacular crystal vase on the employee’s desks or take them to their home for an even more spectacular THANK YOU! Whether an office environment or your business website, recognition of having the custody of the flowers meant that person did an outstanding job, and you might find surprisingly, even the men will compete fiercely for custody of the flowers. In the winter, substitute a showpiece glass display of your favorite flower.
- Publicize your employees and your IC’s successes. Recognize them so that everyone can share in their accomplishments. Did someone get a 500-page transcript out in 24 hours? Did you get a compliment on the professionalism of your reporter when you sent them to the “hard-to-handle” client you have? Create an “award” for quarterly recognition. Even the nominations on a “wall of fame,” even a Facebook “wall of fame” are a way to recognize your professional staff members who have come through for you in supporting your firm. When you share your appreciation, be specific about what you really liked, so they not only feel appreciated, but also can do it again.
- Offer a continuing education class to your employees or IC’s that encourages them to perfect their realtime. Nothing says how much you value your staff as furthering their education. Ultimately they will be able to produce the transcript in a fraction of the time they are spending now and that gives them something very valuable these days, TIME…
Now as a fellow reporter and for the record, I am not encouraging anyone to purchase a costly gift for their legal clients (lawyers, insurance companies, etc.), as even the look of impropriety is not recommended. But a hand written thank you note is valuable in the fact that you took the time to write it and it truly came from your heart. I also believe that if you have other work for you in any fashion, reporters, scopists, proofreaders, they are the ones you should focus on. They are the ones who make you a success and because of them, you have those clients.
I hope this season finds you with many things for which you are thankful. I know I am thankful to have met you, working with and for you, in person at a seminar, as a student at Brown College, or just chatting with you on Facebook. Truly, the chance to serve you makes my work all the more pleasurable. I must also personally thank Lynette Mueller of Omega Reporting for this beautiful turkey that she painted with watercolor. Court reporters are indeed multitalented, and I so appreciate her allowing GCCRA to use it on our website and in this letter to our members. I also want to give my heartfelt thanks to our Virtual Assistant, Robin Hill. She is a wonderful addition to our team a FANTABULOUSLY great admin! (Yes, I did say that, GCCRA members; good reason to make a brief – one never knows what will be said).
Here’s wishing you and yours a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving. We could go on all day with this, but you have turkey to prepare and eat and family and friends to enjoy. Enjoy this special holiday season and be thankful.