Say ‘thank you’ to a colleague in honor of National Recognition Month

March 1, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Every March, Michigan Medicine observes National Recognition Month as a good reminder that thanking colleagues should be a part of your everyday routine.

“This month, we want to make sure all of our employees know how much we appreciate and support them — no matter what role they play in the organization,” said JoAnn Grantham, recognition program manager for Human Resources.

Recognizing the contributions and efforts of colleagues and peers is critical to creating an environment at Michigan Medicine that leads to innovation, increased productivity and increased engagement. Valuing and acknowledging employees’ everyday contributions and perspectives also makes the organization’s work more meaningful. The more coworkers and colleagues feel recognized and engaged, the better quality of care patients receive and the higher their satisfaction. 

Studies have also shown that positive recognition in organizations can increase employee engagement, boost morale, improve relationships between staff and departments, increase retention, reduce turnover, impact health and wellness, help attract and recruit talented staff and improve the overall brand of the organization.

“Everyone has a part to play in creating a culture of recognition,” said Deloris Hunt, chief human resources officer at Michigan Medicine. “Faculty and staff are our greatest asset and one of the ways in which we can remain an industry leader in health care is by taking care of our own. Appreciation is an effective way to do just that.”

Small ways to recognize

There are several ways to show recognition to your peers throughout the month of March — and every day. A simple “thank you” or “good job on that project” is a great starting point, but here are a few other ways to show appreciation:

  • Michigan Medicine launched a new recognition site in September 2020 to encourage and provide new opportunities for leader-to-peer and peer-to-peer appreciation. Use the recognition site to submit a Making a Difference award or send an eCard.
  • Establish a place to display memos, posters, photos and so on, recognizing progress toward goals and thanking individual employees for their help. If working remotely or in different work locations, consider setting up a Google Jamboard to visually collaborate from afar.
  • Find a fun trophy, stuffed animal or figurine that you can pass around the office. Give it to an employee who has exemplified one of the Michigan Medicine core values, and let them keep it on their desk for a week. Come the next week, let that employee hand it off to one of their peers who has done the same.
  • If your team is under pressure, bring a puzzle or game to work and take a break to have a contest — a sure stress reliever. Be sure you do this safely and with social distancing in mind.
  • When you hear a positive remark about someone, repeat it to that person as soon as possible (face-to-face is best, email or voice mail are good in a pinch).
  • Recognize milestones and anniversaries at the institution — there’s an eCard for that.

Recognizing that some of the workforce is working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are additional ideas on how to show appreciation to team members in virtual work environments:

  • Mail a hand-written note to their home address.
  • Plan a virtual coffee or happy hour for your team to celebrate each other and have casual non-work related conversation.
  • Give them a virtual team shout-out at a meeting or in a team-wide email.
  • Create a banner reflecting Michigan Medicine values for the signature line of their e-mail (i.e. “Department Inclusion Leader”) that they can use for the week/month and have them designate who receives it for the following week/month.
  • Encourage professional and career development and well as department cross-training to learn new skills.