Friday, 18 December 2015

A little "thank you" goes a long way

Colleagues elsewhere often remark how fortunate we are to have such a large and willing team of helpers - and they are right, we are. However building and retaining a team takes time and effort. One of our regular volunteers, who drives from a far away constituency a long way outside West Kent, told me recently that the reason the help here and not "at home" is they feel valued, know their work is important, are always made to feel appreciated and a valued member of the team.

I remember from my early years being asked to go into my local office to help, and when I got there being made to feel as if the Association was doing me a favour by allowing me to come in. The Agent was a miserable, snarling distant figure who was seldom seen and the Secretary a snooty old biddy who seemed to take delight in looking down her nose as the activists. I pledged to never make the same mistakes. 

Whenever we have teams in the office to pack, fold, data capture or do any of the dozens of tedious jobs they willingly take on each week, we always supply decent tea, coffee or hot chocolate (from Costa, not a jar of Tesco Value) and we also lay on doughnuts, biscuits and even lunch if they are staying all day. It's the least we can do, and we do it willingly. 

The West Kent Office staff and volunteers Christmas lunch

Today we took our weekly volunteers (ie, those who come in each and every week, rather than on an ad hoc basis) to lunch at a nice local restaurant to thank them for their help and support. And the last job Jon and I did as we closed the office for Christmas was to send a personal thank you letter (copy below) to over 100 volunteers who have come in to West Kent Towers help over the last 12 months. 

Investing in people and ensuring they feel valued is key to their continued help and support, and something I suspect the Party generally and even candidates (at all levels) do not do as well or as often as they should. 

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