When it comes down to it, we all like to be appreciated for our accomplishments at work. Employees the world over want their efforts to be noticed, their performance”“and the results it creates”“to be rewarded, and key milestones in their career celebrated.
Even so, while basic human similarities outweigh our differences by far, there are subtle cultural nuances from country to country. Recognizing someone in France? Say thanks face-to-face. In India, China and Mexico, make sure employees are recognized in front of leaders. And in Brazil, the best employee rewards are those that further an employee’s career.
Half a lifetime ago, I was a receptionist. A reluctant one. I was, however, grateful to have a job at a small advertising agency in Beverly Hills where people brought donuts every day and the owners brought their schnauzer. And here’s the best part, looking back: despite the fact that they’d hired me to answer their phones, the nice folks at Klein/Richardson didn’t see me as a receptionist either. They sent me to night school ad classes to learn how to be a copywriter.
Not only that, they let me play along with the “real” creative teams as they developed ideas for a huge upcoming three-million dollar pitch. And then, they liked some of those ideas well enough to allow me present them to a room full of stunned Japanese gentlemen, after I’d hung up their coats, gotten coffee, and put the phones on auto-answer.
Arab Spring protesters toppled governments. Navy SEALs got the bad guy. And Kate Middleton landed a prince: that was the year that was. But it wasn’t all of the year. Not by a long shot. There were moments of everyday genius. Cool ideas that caught fire. And unsung heroes doing their best. Herewith, let a few of the greats be sung…or at least, read.
In honor of all the things human resources does to make the holidays festive
’tis just before Christmas, a good time to cheer
for the folks who put “merry” in this time of year
to the procurers of turkeys, the gift-giving stars
the catering wranglers: those folks in H.R.
for in each corporate culture where traditions loom large
where magic’s created: HR is in charge.
I had the chance to hear New York Times columnist David Brooks regale the audience gathered in Sun Valley this past August for the annual Writers Conference with thoughts from his latest book, The Social Animal. Brooks is a funny guy, and a rigorous conservative thinker too. Which is why wading into squishy territory like emotions, character, and virtue is, as his wife describes it, “a little like Gandhi writing a book about gluttony.”