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National Association of Counties * Washington, D.C.           Vol. 31, No. 19 * October 11, 1999

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This has been a season of HR Doctor anniversaries. The foremost is the celebration of 30 years of marriage to the wonderful Charlotte – the “HR wife.” Also, we celebrate the completion of more than 50 HR Doctor articles and 10 years of service to Broward County, Fla. Highlighting these events is not done to evoke e-mails of congratulations, as much as to point out that in all of our lives – at home and at work – we pass milestones regularly. The HR Doctor recommends strongly that we pause when these milestones are reached to do two things.

First, acknowledge, recognize and celebrate such events. They are opportunities to build perspective and a sense of value and accomplishment. For the manager, they represent an outstanding opportunity to build employee morale by demonstrating that you care and, for that matter, that you are conscious of the achievement of such milestones.

Clearly, milestones such as achievement of work assignments on time, under budget and in an exceptional manner are worthy of recognition, congratulations and yes, perhaps, a cash bonus or day off with pay. Other events, calling for recognition are service anniversaries, promotions, return to work after serious illness, graduation from a college program, professional certification and many more.

The manager would also be wise to create opportunities for recognition, by assigning goals and expecting outcomes that can be measured. Recognizing and praising employees when those goals are met becomes easier.

We can also bring more personal occasions “into the office.” Events, such as an employee’s marriage, birth of a child, becoming a grandparent, a child’s graduation or marriage are events very important in the lives and attitudes of employees. That makes them important to a manager, as well. Take the time to thank, recognize and praise employees, seizing on such events to create opportunities to celebrate. Every manager should have the music and the words to Anniversary Waltz in their “toolkit for success.”

Second, the instant the celebration is over, if not before, set yet another goal. Goals encourage people to stretch and to grow personally and in terms of their job performance.

Goals represent a positive challenge in a world too full of reports of failure and trouble. When the employee who just finishes a GED or high school diploma is recognized for that accomplishment, counsel, encourage and mentor the person to consider enrollment in the community college to begin work on a college degree.

Perhaps the agency has a tuition reimbursement program or a flexible work schedule to help with class attendance. Follow the person’s progress and you may find that the high school graduation celebration has contributed to the future completion of the master’s degree. Once a work project is completed, waste little time in establishing a new goal and another project that will help the agency. These techniques can apply, not only to the individual, but to the work team or the agency as a whole. The power of goal setting and achievement is important, not only to the great U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, but to every team in every agency.

Visit the HR Doctor’s “office” on the Web at for more information.

Best wishes and happy anniversary!

Best Wishes,
The HR Doctor
e-mail at

(If you have questions for the "HR Doctor," e-mail him at Rosenberg is the Human Resources director for Broward County, Fla.)


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