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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

The Power of Recognition

September 25th, 2020

Recognition is critical to a healthy work environment and even more so today, in these difficult times. While I always had a general feel that recognition was important, I remember well participating in my first Employee Recognition event here. This was back when all of those involved in patient care could come to the hospital cafeteria for breakfast or dinner. As I stood in the server line next to Tony Denton, who was helping me along during my first event, I could feel the positive vibe. It was just a breakfast with French toast or quiche, but the smiles and appreciation were genuine and apparent. Since that day, I’ve had the chance to participate in many such events and, now that I’m a little more comfortable that I won’t drop food or not find the right size t-shirt, I’ve truly enjoyed having a chance to speak with people that I would otherwise rarely meet.

But much more than the sense of appreciation in those being recognized, I learned an even more important message about those who work in Michigan Medicine. It is a caring, compassionate and skilled group who have learned the value of teamwork and what a difference that can make for our patients, families and visitors.

When I learned that this year’s Employee Recognition Week was completely virtual, I have to admit I was a little disappointed, although I completely support the decision to go online. While virtual accolades or zoom gatherings may be more challenging venues for recognition and appreciation, I hope they don’t stop anyone from participating, during recognition weeks and throughout the year.

And in keeping with innovation – today we are having week-long events – and have launched our New Recognition Platform.  Some of this was underway “pre-COVID” but much has been done since the pandemic descended upon us. Within its first week, over 1,200 notes of appreciation were shared across the organization. Some were Making A Difference awards; some were e-cards to celebrate work milestones and special occasions. Others were simple thank you notes.

Reading some of those accolades, and the heart-felt responses, I realized I had underestimated the power of words. It was true that the Employee Recognition Week could not look the same in a pandemic, but the pride could still be felt by those receiving the online praise.

In the highly complex and stressful time of COVID-19, it’s even more important that our colleagues know their work, wherever it is in the organization, is valued and appreciated. It will take all of us growing together to get us through the pandemic.  

I encourage you and all of us to recognize the challenges that everyone here faces and to demonstrate heightened sensitivity for how the pandemic has impacted all of us and in many different ways. With virtual education, changes in our work force, evolving best practices and financial pressures, the weight our teammates carry may be significant. Recognizing excellence, compassion and mutual respect for each other allows us to connect personally and support each other in both personal and shared values and goals. 

Don’t wait for a special achievement, work anniversary or promotion. Consider the simple moments in our day to day lives when a co-worker could use encouragement, recognition and compassion.  These are the moments that matter.

From me – a big THANK YOU. I value and appreciate your countless contributions to Michigan Medicine and those we serve.

Together we will all get through this.

What is your favorite way to recognize a co-worker? Share it in the discussion box below.