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To Care or Not To Care: That is the Question

Updated on January 24, 2013

The fifth of a twelve-part series based the Gallup Q12

This hub is the fifth of a twelve-part series based the Gallup Q12, which measures employee engagement by looking at twelve key expectations in the workplace. What percentages of workers are engaged today? According to Gallup, " The results of the latest engagement index: Engaged employees – 28 %; Not-engaged employees – 54%; Actively Disengaged – 17%. In other words, 71% of the workforce is either underperforming or actively undermining their work.” (1)

This hub addresses Gallup Q12 Question 5: Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person? (If you didn’t see the questions in the first hub in this series, there is a link at the end of this article.)

We posed a question on a social media site asking about creative ways that employers found to recognize their staff. As you’ll see from the responses, creativity rules when it comes to employee recognition. Following each response is the lesson learned about the positive effects of appreciation.

Georgette Ballweg of the University of Wisconsin told of an encounter with her manager, “My boss was out for several weeks having a hip replaced. She created a hand-made card with a note that said, “Thanks” for having me on board. My boss told me that she never even thought about work at all while she recovered. She said it in such a way that I knew it was very, very true.” (2)

Lesson: Don’t wait until you’re “down for the count” to recognize your staff for their efforts. Make sure recognition is part of the culture. When you first get started, you may get a few questioning glances, "What do you want?" However, keep it up and your employees will know that you're for real. Remember, if you do have to be out of the office for a time, make sure you acknowledge the personnel that keep the office running smoothly in your absence.

Training Specialist at Dale Carnegie, Shannon Hartman’s boss joined in her celebration, “My colleagues all got together and wanted to throw me a surprise bridal shower. My boss not only participated, she allowed the whole event to happen on work hours. It was not just showing me appreciation but the entire team too.” (2)

Lesson: When staff members are celebrating significant life events, commemorate the occasions so the rest of the team can enjoy the fun. For the cost of a cake and some balloons, you can lighten up the mood and give everyone an enjoyable break. If you work in a large office and can't do individual celebrations like birthdays, have a "Birthday Month" celebration, or just look for the most significant events to celebrate. No matter the occasion, people like to party.

Founder and Principal of CatapultMe, Cheryl Roshak shares an unusual step her manager took for her, “He hired a car service to pick me up so at least I would get to work at 9:30 AM and not 10 AM though everyone else came it at 9 AM. I told him that 9 AM was impossible for me to do.” (2)

Lesson: If a valued team member has some challenges, you may consider out-of-the-box thinking to take advantage of your employee’s talents. Look for ways to work through obstacles instead of losing valued personnel. Remember, replacement costs are more expensive than a car service. It also shows your staff that each of them is an individual and will be treated as such.

Public Speaking Coach, Lori-Ann Jakel tells of the generosity of two of her employers, “One company gave a me a trip to the Dominican and another paid for my car lease payments, not because they had to but because they wanted to. It takes a class act to show appreciation and recognize effort.” (2)

Lesson: When financial resources are available, spend them on deserving employees. Not only will your employee appreciate your efforts, but your recruiting and retention efforts will be easier as the word gets out of your extraordinary efforts. Friendly competition, where participants can win based on their own merits, work best of all.

Yes, a lot of serious business happens while we’re at work. However, it’s crucial not to take ourselves too seriously all the time. Looking for fun and unique ways to acknowledge staff members creates a strong bond between managers and their team.

Your ability to create a culture of appreciation and recognition is limited only the extent of your imagination. Get your management team together and brainstorm creative ways to recognize staff members. Have fun with it.


(1) Chicago: Gallup Q12, (accessed January 20, 2013).

(2) What was the BEST thing an employer ever did to make you feel ..,
MA/1037515-26269848 (accessed January 20, 2013).


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