Friday, October 19, 2007

A surprise

From my office window today I saw the mail man - oops, I mean 'letter carrier' - leave a box next to the front door on the porch. Immediately my mind raced to think what might be in the box. I couldn't recall having ordered anything recently, so I wasn't expecting any deliveries. Then I wondered if Spouse had made a purchase from HSN, and I began crafting a polite yet pointed statement about this latest unnecessary purchase. I saved the document I was working on and ran down the steps to get the box.

I looked at the sender's name/address and was a little disappointed to find the box had been sent by my company. I guess I was hoping for some item I'd forgotten I'd ordered. I couldn't imagine what my company would have sent me in a box that size.

Buried in multiple layers of bubble wrap I found a wooden plaque onto which was mounted a certificate of recognition for my 5 years of "loyal service" and "outstanding contribution". I was really surprised!

I remembered my 5 year anniversary had occurred around the middle of last month. I'm the kind of person who remembers the month and year I started and left every company for which I've worked. It wouldn't have surprised me to receive an email or card in the mail, acknowledging this employment milestone. Previous employers had done this, but I hadn't received any kind of recognition from my boss or anyone else from upper management so I simply assumed that kind of recognition just wasn't done here. "Your reward for 5 years of faithful service? You get to keep your job!" seemed more in keeping with the Corporate culture I'd come to know.

But perhaps this substantial recognition of my service and contributions is a deliberate attempt by our new CEO to change that sour culture. After all, he signed the certificate mounted on the plaque, and I appreciate this formal recognition.

When I used to manage people I found that nearly all of them responded positively to recognition. Whether it was for quickly and accurately completing a difficult assignment in a short period of time, or for a year without using sick leave, or even for volunteering to do the backed up filing. It seemed everyone responded positively to being recognized for their achievement. Since verbal recognition costs nothing but goes a long way, I made a habit of recognizing my team verbally often, and recognized them with 'surprises' when I could.

One year I got our director to foot the bill for the team to go bowling (on Company time) as a form of recognition. Everyone had fun and talked and laughed about it for weeks afterward. Another year for Christmas I used my own money to create small, decorated, customized gift baskets for each member of my team. They included a tree ornament, a mug, flavored coffee or tea or cocoa, holiday chocolates, and candy canes. They weren't that expensive to create, and everyone really liked them.

I've decided I'm going to send the CEO an email, thanking him for the plaque and recognition. Hopefully my expression of gratitude will encourage him to continue recognizing others' efforts.

Spouse & I are headed back to VA this evening for a visit with family and friends.

Oh, and forget what I wrote earlier about 'Father Fall' winning the fight with 'Mother Nature'. Temperatures have returned to the upper 70s and lower 80s again and it still feels like later summer. But you don't hear me complaining!

Drag Queen name of the day: Helen Damnation

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