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Staff recognition tips & techniques

Encourage children to express gratitude

During a recent staff recognition seminar, I divided participants into groups and asked them to identify reasons that staff is not recognized more often. The resulting lists held few surprises. The participants rounded up all the usual suspects: not enough time, no budget for recognition, don't know how, the feeling that a paycheque is thanks enough, a fear that recognition could easily be overdone, and so on.

One group did come up with another reason that is heard less frequently. Blame the parents. Sadly, some children grow up in homes where the only feedback they hear is negative. As children, they were never praised. As adults, they are unable to express appreciation to others.

This comment reminded me of an entry in the latest book from “The Carrot Guys,” Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton - A Carrot a Day: A daily dose of recognition for your employees (Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2004. ISBN 1-58685-506-9). Their tip for December 25, is to suggest something that parents can do to help create a future generation of recognizers: “At the end of the holiday festivities, gather your children together to open one final gift: a stack of thank-you cards. Set aside some time the following day to help them compose notes of gratitude to grandparents, friends and relatives…Learning the lost art of the thank-you note will serve your children their entire adult lives (particularly in management).”

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