In the spirit of National Work & Family Month, we sought to celebrate managers/supervisors who provide support, show empathy and offer day-to-day assistance and resources to help their staff navigate their professional and personal responsibilities. Research indicates that effective humanistic leaders tend to produce engaged employees because they feel their well-being is valued, are happy at work and loyal to their team. Our goal was to appreciate supervisors throughout the organization, nominated by their employees as "Worklife Champions", who embrace a humanistic management style, demonstrating the importance of gratitude and recognition.
We put out a call for nominations thinking we would get a handful of "fill in the box" responses. Wrong! We received a heartening abundance of 250+ entries, including hundreds of comments and stories of compassionate supervision. We were surprised and emboldened to learn of the depth of care, concern and deep appreciation between staff and supervisors.
We honored the nominees with a breakfast, including remarks from a senior leader, and certificate. We published their names through campus communications. Our original intent was to have the nominators attend the celebration with their supervisors, but due to space and funding limitations, that was not possible.
Now we have several ideas to expand the project: 1) Close the loop by connecting the employees and supervisors through a shared activity/experience that enables them to express their appreciation for each other. 2) Spotlight these relationships that have addressed the "gratitude gap" in order to fertilize the organizational culture, normalizing the humanistic management style and fostering gratitude. 3) Replicate the project at other campuses within our system as part of well-being initiatives.