Building a culture of recognition at Michigan Medicine

February 13, 2023  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees, ,

Approximately a 3-minute read

Key takeaways: 

  • More than 70,000 Making a Difference Awards have been submitted since the organization’s Recognition Platform launched in late 2020.
  • A number of areas of the organization have used the platform to build a culture of respect and appreciation.
  • March is Employee Appreciation Month, and now is the perfect time to consider how you and your team might utilize the Recognition Platform to show your appreciation for all who work at Michigan Medicine.

Since it launched in late 2020, more than 70,000 Making a Difference Awards have been submitted through the Michigan Medicine Recognition Platform. Making a Difference Awards and e-cards give our employees the opportunity to recognize and commend actions that not only align with our mission and strategic goals, but improve our entire organization.

As we prepare for Employee Recognition Month in March, we wanted to share the happy side effects that have emerged from units across Michigan Medicine who promote and utilize the Recognition Platform.

Recognizing essential workers

Michigan Medicine’s Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) is a particularly heavy user of the Recognition Platform. 

According to Valerie Hill, director of campus animal care, utilizing the platform helps her team celebrate the often difficult behind-the-scenes work done by ULAM staff. 

“No amount of recognition is ever enough because the work of our unit is essential, emotional and extremely physical,” Hill shared. 

She stated that the awards her team sends one another are particularly special because they are often unexpected. 

“Having colleagues take the time to put their appreciation into words is what matters most to us,” Hill said, adding that her unit has spent significant time coaching supervisors on how to provide specific, encouraging feedback.

Creating a culture of appreciation

Pharmacy Assistant Director Brian Callahan, Pharm.D., shared that the Recognition Platform has become integral to the pharmacy program’s culture. 

At each monthly meeting, Chief Pharmacy Officer Stan Kent, R.Ph., M.S., highlights all of the Making a Difference Awards that employees receive and Callahan also includes awards received by his team members in his weekly newsletter. The department is now using the e-card option more often so that its 700 employees continue to see how their contributions make a difference to their colleagues. 

Callahan said that it is essential to “promote the platform and demonstrate its value,” so that employees understand the impact they have on one another and on the success of Michigan Medicine at large.

Embedding gratitude into valuations

Debbie Kollar, administrative manager of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s Department of Radiology, shared that like many of the employees at Michigan Medicine, members of her team go above and beyond daily in ways that might go unnoticed. 

Kollar said that, “I believe health care workers love the recognition, whether it be a simple thank you or an award of some kind. We are human and we all want to feel that we have a purpose in life.” 

Kollar’s team uses the platform to set their own goals and to support the larger goals of the team. By incorporating the Recognition Platform into their annual valuation process and as a topic during quarterly one-on-one conversations, Kollar has tasked her team with rating their own use of the tool. To take it one step further, she also asks them to envision how they could use the platform and recognition resources to improve their team. 

Kollar also collects patient satisfaction cards from across Mott and Von Voigtlander hospitals and enters them into the platform for Making a Difference awards. 

She stated, “I have seen a change in my team. Most of them tell me they are happy in their role and that they like coming to work each day, which is what matters most to me. It makes me feel like I’ve done something valuable to help our organization and our patients.”

Preparation for March

As we prepare for Employee Appreciation Month, please consider how you and your team might utilize the Recognition Platform to show your appreciation for all of the small and large efforts that make Michigan Medicine a wonderful place to work.