It’s time to roll out the red carpet, put on your black tie, and say thank you to your public servants. It’s time for the Oscars for federal employees – aka the Service to America Medals (the Sammies for short). The event hosts its annual awards ceremony this evening.
Every year the Partnership for Public Service honors the best and brightest feds with their Service to America Medals. Tom Fox, Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at PPS told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that recognizing your employees is critical.
“Public and private sector research indicates what employees are seeking when they ask for recognition is less about monetary rewards and more about knowing that they’ve done a good job,” said Fox.
It might sound silly, but thanking and recognizing your employees can go a long way to make your office a better place.
Fox noted the need for employees to feel the recognition is real; leaders need to be authentic and sincere when delivering compliments.
Service to America Medals
While giving an employee a compliment in passing is appreciated and very valuable, another option is to nominate employees for more formal awards programs like the PPS’s Service to America Medals.
What is always noticeable about the finalists for the Sammies is their desire to improve government.
“Federal employees are driven by the mission, by a purpose, by the belief that what they do can be of benefit to the country and sometimes to the world. The best recognition programs, formal or informal reinforces that what they do matters,” said Fox.
The Sammies are not the lone vehicle for honoring feds. Back in the Clinton Administration they created the Hammer Awards.
The hammer would be given out for employees who had reinvented government projects and made them better, faster and cheaper.
“When you win an award, you are designated as rock stars within the federal government. We don’t have The Hammer Awards anymore, but you can create something like that within your own team and have just as much impact,” said Fox.
While winning a Sammie or a Hammer award is amazing, managers can derive some of the same feelings of support from their employees by just stopping by their cubicle and saying thank you.
“All it takes is a little time, creativity, and effort. Managers should set aside an hour a week to send a note, to pop in somebody’s office or cubicle, make a phone call if folks are operating differently, or to submit a blog post,” said Fox. “It really doesn’t require all that much effort, but it does require some dedication to finding the stories and then surfacing them.”