Give thanks for your colleagues: 5 tips to submit a stellar kudos
By Christa Helfrey
Many employees have days where they feel burned out, undervalued and underappreciated in the workplace. According to the 2021 Oklahoma State Employee Engagement Survey, 29% of Oklahoma state employees overall reported feeling burnout from their work, defined as experiencing a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion due to prolong or recurring stress. While causes of professional stress vary, a recent Gallup survey shows that employee appreciation and recognition can help combat burnout and improve wellbeing, which promote better engagement, job satisfaction and performance.
State government operations never stop, and it's not enough to recognize employees once a year when they're working year-round to get stuff done. However, at large agencies like the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services – where an estimated 72% of employees have adopted part- or full-time telework – warranted recognition can suffer from a lack of awareness and communication. That's where kudos, a somewhat underrated component of the OMES Employee Recognition Program, really shines.
OMES employees can give kudos to other members of our workforce at any time via the Employee Kudos form, accessible from the OMES Human Resources webpage. While submitting kudos is a seemingly small gesture equivalent to a thank you note, it goes a long way to make fellow employees feel seen and appreciated for their efforts, which increases morale, motivation and workplace culture. Additionally, all kudos submissions are shared with agency leadership and used to identify top kudos recipients and award the traveling Kudos Cup at the annual OMES Employee Recognition Ceremony each May.
5 tips to submit a stellar kudos:
Any form of a kudos is better than nothing, even if it's a few sentences about why you're grateful for your colleagues. However, if you are looking for a guidance, or just want to improve your approach, use these five tips to take your kudos to the next level and make recipients feel extra special.
- Don't wait too long. Kudos can be even more meaningful when given right after an employee or team takes action or completes a project. Make a point to submit your kudos while the experience is fresh in your mind.
- Be specific. Focus each submission on one example or experience that inspired you to give kudos. Consider what the employee or team did, why and how they did it, and who it affected.
- Don't be afraid to incorporate obstacles overcome. Challenges and unforeseen hurdles are part of life and can be a worthwhile part of your kudos when applicable. Maybe they took on extra responsibilities while a team member was on leave. Or helped bridge communication gaps that were slowing a project down. These details contribute more context and deepen understanding of the experience.
- Include notable impacts. Explain the outcome(s) of the employee or team's efforts and include any relevant metrics. If the outcome included financial savings, what was the amount? If a team streamlined a process, how much time or resources did it save? If an employee motivated their team to get through a hard project, what was the effect on team morale and customer satisfaction?
- Reference any qualities and characteristics that contribute to their work and impact on OMES. This is an important detail to show employees they are valued for who they are as individuals and team members. Maybe they are a great listener. Maybe they have a knack for thinking of creative solutions. Maybe they ask thorough questions to reduce potential snags in a plan. A kudos submission is a good place to recognize the skills and capabilities they bring to the table.
As the State of Oklahoma's central services agency, OMES has a workforce of over 1,000 employees across 11 divisions that dedicate their time and talent to help state government run effectively. In recent years, their teamwork and individual contributions have led to modernized state websites, simplified processes for companies to do business with the state, harmonized administrative processes across previously siloed agencies and saved billions of taxpayer dollars.
When one project comes to an end, however, there is always another to take its place as the state strives for innovation and improved services for Oklahomans. Amid the era of urgency and constant productivity, giving kudos is a simple but meaningful way to make time to celebrate each other’s successes.