Tell them they’re good

I had the opportunity today to attend two very special events today. The first wasthekickoff of the Athena Award Program. The Athena award, which has been around for more than 20 years, honors a woman who has made a significant professional and community contribution, and actively helps woman advance their career. In addition to this award, Athena is also launching a program to identify a young professional woman who has early career accomplishments and serves as a role model for other young women.

Over lunch, I attended an award ceremony sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Southwestern PA who also honored grown ups in several categories but also recognized two young Girl Scouts who have already made a mark in our community even at their young age. The first recipient won the Humanitarian Award for her work in founding a charity that donates necessary items for people who have had a fire at their home and may be without basic needs following that crisis. The second, called the Girl of Distinction was awarded to another Girl Scout who does volunteer work with foster children as well as battling a serious medical condition. Both young girls were articulate and gracious in their comments and receipt of these honors.

As an audience member I could not help but to be impressed by both award and reward nature of these programs. I’ve also seen the benefit of these types of programs in the workplace setting and they can be a powerful tool for improving workplace productivity. There are at least three great benefits that come out of these kinds of reward programs:

  1. The recognition and honor that is provided to the recipients who feel that their hard work and great effort is recognized. This type of honor also provides these people even more motivation to contribute to their organization in the future.
  2. Gets other people jealous and oftentimes motivated to extend their efforts so that they can have a shot at the award and recognition.
  3. Helps create a workplace culture that shows that hard work and attention to success is acknowledged and appreciated. Over time programs that recognize and reward employees create a powerful tool to build a great workplace.

Look for ways to reward people around you both officially and unofficially. After all Mary Kay Ash (the cosmetic queen) may be right…

“There are two things people want more than sex and money — recognition and praise.”

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