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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Importance of Praise

In the Wall Street Journal last week, there was an article titled "The Most-Praised Generation Goes to Work."

It talked about the generation of twentysomethings who have grown up on praise and the words "you're special." The generation where everyone became a winner on the soccer field, swim team, or drama club. Gold stars and ribbons abound their world - whether they won or not. In some ways, they received kudos for little more than showing up.

According to Bob Nelson, consultant and author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, each generation has different praise requirements:

  • 60+ years -- prefer public, formal awards but don't need constant praise.
  • Baby Boomers (40-55): are looking for "more self-indulgent treats" such as massages and new technology.
  • Under 40: need a bit more praise and "near-constant feedback."
Finding it tough to figure this out if you have a divergent workforce?

BOTTOMLINE: Institute an ongoing program that recognizes contributions. Combine congratulations and recognition with additional challenges to go above and beyond. Praise publicly - reprimand privately. Hold individuals accountable for their responsibilities and activities.

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