Family Friendly Recognition

What I learned from Dan’s mother about family-friendly recognition

With Mother’s Day occurring in May, I am reminded of an important lesson I learned from a woman whom I never actually met. Families are important and should be included in of our recognition efforts.

Dan, a fifty-something gas company employee, came to our home a few years ago to inspect our furnace. Impressed by Dan’s customer service, I featured him as a “Service Star” in the October 2004 issue of this newsletter (read Dan’s story at www.seaconsultingonline.com/Articles/Service/star_13.htm).

Having written the column, I might never have thought much about Dan again if his manager had not been a subscriber. Doug let me know that he had shared the newsletter with Dan, who had then sent a copy to his mother.

A few weeks later, there was a voice mail waiting for me when I returned to my office. Hesitantly, nervousness evident in her voice, a woman began by referring to the article about Dan, summarizing its key points. Now, sounding more confident, she thanked me for what I had written. She concluded by proudly announcing, “I am Dan’s mother.”

What an epiphany! Parents want to be proud of their children, whether they are preschoolers or adults well-established in their careers. Parents want to know their children are doing well in whatever they do.

Parents rely on others to provide them with reasons to be proud…teachers, coaches, youth group leaders…and their children’s bosses.

From the time their offspring get their first afterschool or weekend job, parents want to know their children are performing well in the workplace. Knowing their children perform well in a fast food restaurant or for a retailer reflects well on their upbringing. Parents can feel proud of how their kids turned out.

In February 2007, I told the story of Dan’s mother during a teachers’ convention in Calgary. After the presentation a teacher approached me. She had a story to tell.

During one of her mother’s visits from out of town, the teacher had taken her on a tour of her school. At one point, they encountered the principal. Introductions completed, the principal turned to the young teacher’s mother. He wanted her to know how much he appreciated having her daughter on staff. He described her contributions to student learning.

The mother never forgot those words of praise. The teacher recalled that whenever she was feeling down about teaching and questioning whether she should continue in her profession, her mother would remind her of what the principal had said. It must have worked. She was still teaching.

Most supervisors may never meet the parents of their staff, but this doesn’t mean they can’t let parents know their child is doing well…maybe through a phone call or in a letter to the parents. Describe what their child is doing well. Let them know she is a valued member of the staff and appreciated for what she does. Give them credit for doing such a good job raising their child. They should be proud of how she turned out.

What Dan’s mother’s voice mail message demonstrated is the need to feel proud of your child’s success isn’t limited to parents of younger workers. All parents want to know their children are successful in their chosen careers.

Become the messenger of this good news. While Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are obvious times to give parents of your staff members reasons to be proud, you shouldn’t limit yourself to these once-a-year occasions.

And don’t stop with just mothers and fathers. Include other family members –employees’ spouses or partners, children, grandparents – in your familyfocused recognition plans. Demonstrate your understanding of the importance of family to employees

[Return to Family Friendly Recognition articles index]

[Return to Articles Index]

[Back to top]

Buy Thanks! GREAT Job!     Preview Thanks! GREAT Job!     Buy Thanks! GREAST Job! Sticky Notes


Sign up for Briefly Noted


© SEA Consulting. All rights reserved. GST #881569771.


Home Page Contact Us Home Page Contact Us