The period around Thanksgiving and Christmas always generates a flurry of emails about workplace thankfulness – who has it, who's missing it and how gratitude should be conveyed.

Comments lean toward what's missing, and that fits with what workplace retention consultant Leigh Branham has read in more than 100,000 worker comments submitted for "Best Places to Work" competitions. He's found that four out of five employees speak of missing appreciation or acknowledgment.

Either we're a nation of coddled whiners or something is lacking in the workplace. Branham does find a share of workers whose expectations for rewards exceed their value. They need a reality dose, an honest performance assessment, he says.

But he finds a larger share of workers who aren't getting the positive feedback they deserve. Why not? Branham traces the problem to managers who:

–Are too busy (or think they are) to take the time to say thanks.

–Are task-oriented and don't pay attention to employee needs.

–Believe "if you don't hear from me, you're doing fine."

–Think a paycheck is enough reward.

–Are unsure about how to give thanks, so do nothing.

–Have no experience with personal praise, so aren't inclined to do it.

–Are afraid of looking phony.

–Don't want to reward some and overlook others.

–Harbor disrespect for some jobs or workers.

–Feel employees are replaceable, so why bother?

–Don't want to get bugged for a raise.

–Don't know how to distinguish good work from average.

Branham finds some management disdain for the "trophy generation," but he doesn't worry about giving "too much" recognition. After all, no manager he's met has ever complained about getting too much praise.



To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to Follow her online at and


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