Respect, recognition, and belonging. According to Michael Stallard, CEO Advisor at Fox Business, these are the first three of Six Needs to Thrive at Work. For leaders, inadequate resources or limited time can seem like barriers to hardwiring reward and recognition into our organization culture. If we make recognition the reward, we can efficiently and effectively meet our employees’ critical needs.

Our partners in the School District of Menomonee Falls (SDMF) provide an excellent example of making recognition the reward. The Superintendent’s weekly newsletter to all staff includes a shout-out section. By empowering leaders, teachers, support staff, substitutes, parents, and others to provide their own shout-outs, Superintendent Patricia Greco gathers and disseminates positive recognition for hard-working district employees to the entire SDMF community.

Here’s a small sample of the Shout-outs from May 2, 2014:

By the way Gwen… have I told you that YOU ROCK!  Thanks for all your ideas and for all you do in contributing toward our improvement efforts… you’re a true leader.  -Jeff Gross

To Cindy Ceplina: I had no expectation that you would look at and especially reply to work emails while you were on vacation. That’s above and beyond. You should have been leaving all this and all of us behind for at least a little while… What a wonderful feeling for learning, for school and for his teacher that you have instilled/ inspired in these children… XXX is FULL of  joyful energy waiting to see you tomorrow. -Louise (Parent)

Sometimes it is the little things that truly make a big impact. Our partners in the School District of Janesville, WI utilize thank you cards to recognize and reward exceptional colleagues.

Watch Janesville Superintendent Karen Schulte explain how her district uses thank you cards to recognize employees.

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