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Miscellaneous articles on staff recognition

Best recognizers were ‘top’ bosses ever

The staff members who nominated the person selected as the “Best Recognizer Ever” and a principal who received honourable mention have something in common. Both have had several supervisors over their careers and feel their current bosses stand out by doing a good job of letting staff know they are valued.

Wellness co-ordinator Laurie Schulz wrote that Marc Milette “is in the top three of the dozen or more bosses I have had over my career. Marc is always timely [in expressing} genuine gratitude for initiatives I carry out for our branch.”

Marc, who we selected as the Best Recognizer Ever for 2010, is the Director of Health and Safety for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. Laura submitted his name in response to the announcement in the August and September issues of Briefly Noted that we were searching for the Best Recognizer Ever.

In keeping with the spirit of high-value, low-cost staff recognition, we were not looking for people who organize flashy, expensive events. We hoped to hear about people who use informal recognition on a regular basis—people who use simple techniques to let others know they are appreciated for what they do and accomplish.

In reviewing the nominations, we kept the acronym GREAT in mind. We wanted to hear about people who provide recognition that is Genuine, Relevant, Explicit, Appropriate and Timely. Readers could nominate their boss, a colleague or someone who they supervised.

Laurie cited an example of a time when Marc, for whom she has worked for about a year, recognized her for her efforts. “At one division staff meeting that I could not attend, I heard from a co-workers that he praised my efforts co-ordinating my first Lunch-and-Learn for the group. The next day, he complimented me directly on how the event had gone, noting specifically that it seemed to be my ‘niche,’ and thanked me for my efforts.”

She continued to describe Marc: “As a general rule, he always says please and thank you and asks about my life. This is also an important part of recognizing people—being interested in their personal life in an appropriate manner. It recognizes that you have a life outside of work and the importance of that world. He is very work-life-balance oriented and flexible when there’s a need to reschedule my work hours.”

George Decker, the principal of Beacon Hill Public School in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was chosen for honourable mention. He was nominated by educational assistant Lorna Tollman.

She wrote that George “is just an all-round fantastic guy…[who] makes everyone feel valued. He greets everyone as they enter his office. He notices what you are wearing and always has a nice compliment. He visits each classroom every morning and says good morning to the students.”

Lorna provided an example of the type of email message he sends to staff regularly. “Today, he sent a message telling us to enjoy the sunshine after work. To me, that meant don’t stay late [because] there are not many more nice days to enjoy [this fall].

“He notices if you have gone beyond your schedule and will give you a nice compliment to make you feel appreciated,” Lorna continued. “He values all his staff. If there was ever…a super-great boss, George Decker is one.”

We felt there was no better way to conclude our 2010 search for the Best Recognizer Ever than with the words Laurie used to summarize what makes some bosses stand out as recognizers. “For those bosses who are naturally sensitive to emotional needs, things like the above come easy. I have had bosses who just keep to themselves and, while being polite, do not have a clue how to recognize employees, or fear doing so. I hope more bosses will be able to ‘reach out and touch someone’ in a positive way in their workplaces because the effect on productivity, morale and loyalty is worth it.”

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