Thursday, May 10, 2007

The culture of praise in the workplace

Heard this on NPR today, and thought it was pretty interesting, or at least interesting enough to share with you. It was about our, or my generations need for praise, not just in the workplace, but for life in general. Maybe it's just because I sell products that help people recognize achievement, but I do not see this as a bad thing. One caller said that we should blame Mr. Rogers, but again I can't see why we need to blame anyone.

People need recognition. It doesn't need to be over the top recognition, but a pat on the back goes a long way for most all people. Even adults like getting recognized for a job well done. We are a society that thrives on motivation and in this day and age, we need to do whatever we can to get the most out of our human resources. These are the biggest asset of any company and should be watched closely. People make and sell the things. People make relations and believe in the products they are buying and paying the prices they pay for them because of the value that our employees add to those products or services. Why shouldn't they be recognized for the job that they do. Paychecks and monetary rewards are not the only way to do that either, and money is the least effective way of recognizing acheivements. Christmas bonuses come to be taken for granted and expected. It is for this reason that we provide recognition products and services, so that we can help you properly say "job well done" or "you are appreciated."

The program got their information from a study someone published in the Wall Street Journal. The article in the journal makes a few points that, as a recognition specialist, I just do not agree with. The man says "Workers under 40, he says, require far more [ego]stroking. They often like trendy, name-brand merchandise as rewards, but they also want near-constant feedback. It's not enough to give praise only when they're exceptional, because for years they've been getting praise just for showing up." He also says that people over 60 tend to like more formal awards. Now I can attest to the fact that what he calls formal awards and trendy awards are one and the same. Plaques and engraved awards have been evolving for some time now to take advantage of technology enabling us to engrave on surfaces not before available. I think that it is for this reason that 60 somethings like formal awards. They like them because its what they are used to recieving and I believe that the questioning was flawed in such that if you asked them if they like the awards they have been receiving in recent years you will hear they are. Everyone likes being recognized; especially when its done in a way that enables them to share that recognition with others. It has been that way since the days of Aristotle, as illustrated in Plato's allegory of the cave. Experiences are not as good with out anyone to share them with. And when companies can effectively recognize their employees it opens up countless opportunities, increases employee loyalty, and reduces employee turnover. Publish