#204 – Integrity Idea 036: Thank Your Temps

ESSENCE:  Integrity Ideas are specific actions a faithful leader can consider in leading faithfully through business a better way.

INTEGRITY IDEA: Thank Your Temps

COVERT-OVERT CONTINUUM (six Continuums for action):  Practices

COVERT-OVERT RATING (several levels from Highly Covert to Highly Overt): Highly Covert

STAKEHOLDERS SERVED: Employees

Most Integrity Ideas are practical actions toward implementing a bigger WHY for the organization.  “Thank Your Temps” is about acknowledging the contributions of, and thanking, your temporary and freelance workers at year-end.  It’s not complicated–theologically or practically.  “Thank Your Temps” recognizes that every person who contributes to the organization’s purpose deserves to be acknowledged for their contribution, whether or not they are “on the payroll”.  While “in the moment” recognition of temporary and freelance workers is hopefully integrated with an organization’s practices for worker recognition generally, “Thank Your Temps” is focused on that extra year-end “thank you” that is customary for regular employees but may be overlooked for temporary and freelance workers who have contributed throughout the year. It recognizes that it is humanizing for people to be “seen” and to know that their efforts have been appreciated.  “Thank Your Temps” recognizes the Imago Dei in others and lives out the Golden Rule and the commandment to love others as God has loved you.  It reinforces a business a better way culture that prioritizes relationships, community and human dignity and extends the Shalom of the culture. It is even an opportunity to help people who are not immersed in the organization’s culture to understand God’s greater purpose for their work–how their work contributed to the organization’s bigger WHY.  “Thank Your Temps” is just one way for faithful leaders to lead with faithful integrity toward Biblical flourishing.

Integrity Ideas are specific actions a leader can consider during the Re-Align step of Integriosity®–actions that will begin to Re-Align the organization with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities.  You can find more Integrity Ideas at Integrous | Integrity Ideas (integriosity.com)

Integrity Ideas are practical actions toward implementing a bigger WHY for the organization.  We believe some are critical (and necessary) steps in the RENEW/RE-ALIGN/RE-IMAGINE/RESTORE process.  Others are just ideas to be considered if they feel like a good fit based on what leaders prayerfully discern is best for stewarding the organization toward its WHY.

“Thank Your Temps” falls into the “if it fits” category.  It is a relatively simple and inexpensive practice that can be implemented in many different ways if it feels like a good fit.  Of course, “Thank Your Temps” assumes that you already have year-end practices in place to acknowledge the contributions of, and thank, your regular employees.

Unlike some other “Integrity Ideas”, leading faithfully through business a better way does not hinge on implementing “Thank Your Temps”.  While leading a business with faithful integrity through business a better way toward Biblical flourishing requires cultivating a culture that reflects and prioritizes Biblical concepts of relationships, community and human dignity, a “Thank Your Temps” initiative is just one idea for implementing that goal.

INTEGRITY IDEA: Thank Your Temps

“Thank Your Temps” is about acknowledging the contributions of, and thanking, your temporary and freelance workers at year-end.

While “in the moment” recognition of temporary and freelance workers is hopefully integrated with an organization’s practices for worker recognition generally, “Thank Your Temps” is focused on that extra year-end “thank you” that is customary for regular employees but may be overlooked for temporary and freelance workers who have contributed throughout the year (particularly those no longer working with the organization at year-end).

It’s not complicated–theologically or practically.  “Thank Your Temps” recognizes that every person who contributes to the organization’s purpose deserves to be acknowledged for their contribution, however small, whether or not they are “on the payroll”.  It recognizes that each temporary worker has used their God-given gifts to serve by helping the organization pursue its purpose.  It recognizes that it is humanizing for people to be “seen” and to know that their efforts had a bigger purpose and are appreciated.

“Thank Your Temps” recognizes the Imago Dei in others and lives out the Golden Rule (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 7:12) and the commandment to love others as God has loved you (John 13:34).  It reinforces a business a better way culture that prioritizes relationships, community and human dignity and extends the Shalom of the cuture. It is even an opportunity to help people who are not immersed in the organization’s culture to understand God’s greater purpose for their work–how their work contributed to the organization’s bigger WHY.

McKinsey recently estimated that 36% of U.S. workers fall into what they call “independent workers”:

A remarkable 36 percent of employed respondents—equivalent to 58 million Americans when extrapolated from the representative sample—identify as independent workers. This figure represents a notable increase since we estimated the US independent workforce in 2016 at 27 percent of the employed population.

They define an independent worker to include “anyone who identified as a contract, freelance, temporary, or gig worker”.

Temporary/freelance workers can provide organizations with critical flexibility, offering a fast and efficient way to address a need to fill existing positions (whether due to terminations, resignations or extended leaves), a need to staff a large project, a need to address seasonal fluctuations, a need for special skills, or a need to scale quickly.  Are they treated as important players on the team?

According to a Gallup-Workhuman study, only 23% of workers strongly agree they get the right amount of recognition for the work they do.  We are guessing that the number would be much lower for temporary workers, particularly at year-end.

The Roman philosopher Cicero reportedly said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”  Expressing gratitude to those who have served the organization is good for the recipient, good for the person expressing gratitude and good for the organization.

“Thank Your Temps” is just one way for faithful leaders to lead with faithful integrity toward Biblical flourishing.

Of course, “Thank Your Temps” assumes that the organization has in place year-end practices to recognize regular employees.  If that is not the case, it is the right place to start.

CONTINUUM: Practices

The Integriosity model organizes “heart change” along six Covert-Overt Continuums.  There is nothing magic about these categories, but we believe they are helpful in thinking about practical execution of a Re-Imagined Purpose, Re-Imagined Values and a Re-Imagined Culture.  The Continuums are Prayer, Proclamation, Policies, Practices, Products, People.

Each Continuum represents an area in which leaders can begin to think about, plan and institute Re-Alignment changes to the heart of the organization.

“Thank Your Temps” is on the Practices Continuum. It involves practices the organization can adopt to affirm its commitment to cultivating a culture that aligns with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities by valuing, promoting and prioritizing human dignity, relationships and flourishing.

COVERT-OVERT RATING: Highly Covert

The Integriosity model breaks the Covert-Overt Continuums into six gradations–from Highly Covert to Highly Overt–that we believe are helpful in beginning to pray and think about what is most appropriate for an organization at a particular moment in time.

Most Integrity Ideas will have one place on the scale.  Some can vary depending on how they are implemented.  We identify “Thank Your Temps” as Highly Covert (An action that would be taken by a secular company) because every organization could and should consider acknowledging the contributions of temporary workers.

“Thank Your Temps” can also be Overt (An overtly faith-based action known generally within the organization) if the leaders of the organization choose to explain the organization’s bigger WHY and share the Biblical significance of valuing every person and treating each person with dignity and respect because they were created in the image of God with unique gifts.  As “Thank Your Temps” is focused on year-end recognition, it could also easily be wrapped with a Biblically-themed seasonal message or gift.

STAKEHOLDERS SERVED: Employees

When we categorize faith-based actions, we also consider the stakeholders principally impacted by the action: Employees, Customers/Clients, Owners, Suppliers/Vendors, Community and Kingdom.

“Thank Your Temps” principally serves temporary and freelance employees by showing them how much they are valued. It also serves other employees by reinforcing the importance to the organization’s culture of relationships, community and human dignity and by reinforcing the importance of extending its culture of Shalom to all people touched by the organization.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. (Cicero)

IMPLEMENTATION

Implementing “Thank Your Temps” can be easy and relatively inexpensive.   At its core, it is about expressing a heartfelt “thank you” at year-end to those temporary and freelance workers who have contributed to the organization during the year.  The nature of the thank you should be guided by the way in which the organization expresses its gratitude to its regular employees at year-end.  We are not suggesting that temporary workers need to be treated the same as regular employees, but the practices for regular employees can serve as a reference point.

“Thank Your Temps” can be as simple and inexpensive as a personalized thank you note.  It could also include a gift or a monetary bonus.  The important thing is recognizing all those who helped during the year, whether or not they are still working for the organization, in a way that “sees” their contribution.

In order to carry out a “Thank Your Temps” effort, it is helpful to put in place a process to record information for all temporary and freelance workers during the year.  Here are some questions for a faithful leader to consider in connection with implementing “Thank Your Temps”:

• What will be the nature of the expression of thanks?  Some possibilities include: a personal note, a gift basket, a gift card, flowers, a bonus.  (We suggest that a personal note be part of any thank you gift.)

• Who is the best person in the organization to personalize each note?

• Which workers will be included?  Some possibilities are: temporary workers, freelance workers, independent contractors, consultants.  An organization might also consider extending expressions of gratitude to advisors such as lawyers and accountants.

• What will be the nature of the personal note?  At a minimum we believe the note should recognize the person’s unique contribution to the organization.  A faithful leader should also prayerfully consider:

• Explaining how the person contributed to the bigger WHY of the organization.

• Explaining why the organization’s culture prioritizes relationships, community and human dignity.

• Explaining the importance to the organization’s culture of Imago Dei, the Golden Rule and the commandment to love others.

• Expressing a Biblically seasonal greeting.

Because temporary and freelance workers are not immersed in the organization’s culture, a year-end gesture of gratitude is an opportunity to extend the Shalom of the culture to embrace them in a way they may have never experienced from a work culture.  “Thank Your Temps” is about Humanizing People and Beautifying the World by extending the organization’s culture of Shalom to all the people it touches, which in turn Glorifies God.

PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): When I think of year-end expressions of gratitude to workers, I can’t help thinking of the final scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Clark Griswold’s brother-in-law kidnaps Clark’s boss, because in lieu of his usual Christmas bonus Clark received a subscription to the “Jelly of the Month Club”.  The boss has a change of heart and is chastised by his wife and others.  In case you never saw it (or want to watch it again), below are two video clips of the final scene (part A then part B).

Wishing you a 2024 filled with love, laughter, life, tears of joy and good health.

"Christmas Vacation" Ending (Part A)

"Christmas Vacation" Ending (Part B)

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Photo credit: Original photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash (photo cropped)