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Make praise personal

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

David Brown finally admitted that his employee-of-the-month program, while easy, wasn’t working.

The perfunctory $25 gift card, e-mail and mention on the intranet just weren’t doing it for anybody. People needed some genuine thanks.

Brown, founder and president of IT and data storage firm Datotel, now sets aside part of his morning phone call and weekly meeting with managers to praise excellent work. When employees do something above and beyond, he also encourages someone other than the immediate boss to thank them. And he mails home handwritten thank-yous.

“It made me feel important to get something so personal and unique, especially since I’m sure David has several hundred other things swirling around in his head,” says Stephanie Lewis, a Datotel engineer.

Keep in mind when doling out praise that it’s important to make distinctions. If you say thank you even when people do so-so work, you won’t build an environment that values quality.

—Adapted from "Let's give these folks a big hand: Building a culture of appreciation," Nadine Heintz, Inc.


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