Is your business capturing the powers of gratitude and recognition? Managers fear the day that key player leaves but even monetary incentives can fall short of making a hero stay. With National Superhero Day upon us, some businesses are donning their workplace heroes with capes and eye masks, using the power of recognition and gratitude to engage and motivate.
Scientists have long lauded the physical, mental, and social benefits of gratitude and recognition. However, sixty-five percent of Americans say they received no recognition in the workplace over the last year, according to a recent Gallup poll. It’s the number one reason most Americans leave their job.
A Hero A Day makes For Superhuman Business
Twitty Titus, a Georgia-based management consultant, has been the giver and recipient of superhero capes in the workplace. A 24-hour senior care facility, like the one she currently directs, often requires employees and volunteers to go the extra mile. But instead of recognizing them with a plaque or certificate, she found a “delightful sense of humor” in caping heroic staff with custom superhero capes.
“Recognizing people reinforces the better angels among us,” she says. “You don’t have to have a Ph.D. or a green beret or a firefighter in New York City. Your little spark of desire to do good is supremely valuable. And this is a way to encourage people to release their little spark into the world and see what kind of fire might start.”
Titus recognizes the benefit for the giver and the receiver of these kits. Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, studies the benefits of showing gratitude. Being grateful affirms goodness and acknowledges a source of goodness outside of ourselves, recognizing our dependence on others. In studies of people who have made gratitude a part of their daily routines, Emmons has seen the benefits of stronger immune systems, lowered blood pressure, greater optimism and increased connectedness to community.
In an educational setting like The Academy Child Development Center in Oakwood, Georgia, strong immune systems, greater optimism, and low blood pressure are operational necessities. The Academy is open 356 days a year, from 6:30 am until 6:30 pm. Director Staci Vinton said hero kits were a fun way to give her teachers serious recognition. She purchased hero kits from everfan.com for all of her teachers.
“My team of teachers are influencing the future with every step they make with their class each day. They each possess their own superpower that they share with their peers, parents and the little lives they love, care for and teach. These heroes devote their days to making a difference,” Vinton said.
Department heads at the Georgia Cancer Center used National Superhero Day as the chance to show appreciation to those employees who have gone above and beyond the normal call of duty. When administration put out the call to nominate a hero, they were flooded with nominees.
“Addressing staff morale at the Georgia Cancer Center is a high priority for our leaders. Our employees are dealing with a disease that is difficult in so many ways: from its cellular make-up to the way it affects a person and those supporting that person,” said assistant to the directory Stephanie Cohen.
“At our Center, we have superheroes on a variety of levels – from working to find a cure, to offering a smile to a patient coming in for treatment. The main superpower our heroes have is ‘providing hope’ and what better day to celebrate a few of them than on National Superhero Day,” Cohen said.
Non-profit and foundation leaders are often looking for meaningful ways to recognize the people that help spread their mission, especially when those individuals are elected leaders. Politicians are often made out to be the villains, but the Lupus Foundation made Congress look pretty darn heroic. When the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the Omnibus Appropriations Bill last month, increasing the funding for lupus research, Congressional leaders were caped and thanked for their instrumental part in increasing critical funding to better understand, diagnose, and treat the cruel mystery disease.
No matter the profession, we all need to know our work is valuable. Although recognition can get stagnant or repetitive over the years, we suggest thinking outside the box and letting people know their work is heroic.
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