It was difficult to get out of bed this morning, but I knew people were counting on me. I had an extremely important task that could quite possibly increase the happiness at work today. My day-changing mission was to hold the door open for staff, greet them and serve them coffee. The Kalamazoo Public Library hosts a “Welcome to Work Wednesday” event every few months to help prepare staff for the work day with a smile and some warm java. The hope was that by recognizing staff as they enter work to prepare the library for the public, they would engage enthusiastically in activities that promote stellar internal and external customer service.
In their best-selling book, The Carrot Principle, authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton have proven that recognition drives engagement. They surveyed over 200,000 over ten years and discovered that when managers offered meaningful praise and rewards, employees achieved results that exceeded expectations. Great leaders use simple rewards like hand-written notes, specific praise, or a cup of coffee on a chilly Michigan morning to increase productivity and engagement. Gostick and Elton’s study also discovered that feeling good about going to work is valued by employees more than any monetary bonus. Since many libraries have been experiencing decreasing revenues, it is imperative that we use recognition to retain the talent that will allow us to continue to grow.
So as I greeted staff to work this morning, I also thanked them specifically for their contribution to making KPL a great place. This authentic praise definitely brought a smile or two to the faces of people still trying to cope with the early morning. Hopefully “Welcome to Work Wednesday” will help library staff feel recognized and appreciated. And I hope that the extra strong coffee will wake everyone up to the possibility of making it a fabulous day.