Embrace the Warm Fuzzies

I was recently in the backroom with a group of clients and I took on the arduous task of submitting the group’s online order for dinner, which should be a simple task but always tends to be the exact opposite. People inevitably have questions that can only be answered by calling the restaurant directly and those answers lead to changes on the orders that have already been added to the cart and so on — you know how it goes. In this instance, after the order was finally placed, one of the clients jokingly told me that he wished he could nominate me for one of their company’s recognition awards for successfully navigating my way through ordering dinner. Though he was only joking, his comment started a conversation about our various companies’ internal recognition programs. All are different programs with a common goal of recognizing employees for attitudes and behaviors that go above and beyond what you would normally expect. Simple ways of letting someone know that what they have done has made a difference to someone, somewhere — a warm fuzzy!

Anyone who knows me probably knows how much I LOVE warm fuzzies! I love to get them and I love to give them. The Oxford dictionary defines warm fuzzies as “feelings of affection, comfort, and support, or things that give you these feelings.” Some may argue that this kind of thing is too touch-feely for the workplace, but I don’t believe that is universally true. I believe that warm fuzzies, especially in the form of recognition or awards programs, can create a sense of appreciation, accomplishment and career satisfaction that may ultimately increase motivation and possibly even elevate performance for many people like me.

According to 2014 Gallup data, “Adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week, almost a full workday longer than what a standard five-day, 9-to-5 schedule entails. In fact, half of all full-time workers indicate they typically work more than 40 hours, and nearly four in 10 say they work at least 50 hours.” (Note: I tried looking for more current data but the search began to significantly increase the length of MY average work day and decided this was sufficient to make the point.) Of course, qualitative market researchers are no exception to these kinds of work schedules due to travel and the scheduling needs of research respondents, etc.

I have to believe that with so many of us committing more and more of our time and efforts to our careers, recognition of these efforts can play an important role helping us stay plugged-in, motivated and creative. I am not talking about participation trophy kind of recognition that is given to everyone as a “thanks for playing,” but rather the kind that comes when we have really given of ourselves and knocked it out the park on a project or a presentation and those efforts are being sincerely recognized and appreciated.

I also think it can be impactful to see others recognized for a job well done, whether that be an internal company recognition or some kind of Market Research award. I find it is inspiring to see the types of creative research approaches, methodologies, deliverables, etc. that others are developing and are gaining them recognition. It almost sparks a positive competitive energy that drives me to be more creative, more thoughtful and more driven to take my own work to the next level.

At the end of the day, I know that there are those that are probably far less motivated by a warm fuzzy than I am. But, then again, what can it hurt to give it a try? YOU deserve one for getting to the end of this blog.

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