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Weekly applause sheet creates positive attitude among staff

Any office experiences negative feelings among staff. But Sharon Hunter, manager of Granbury Internal Medical Associates in Granbury, TX, found a positive and lasting solution to the problem.

It’s what she terms an “applause sheet.” At the top of the page is the name of one staffer, and the directions are to write down “the most valuable qualities that person has.” The answers have to be things that benefit the office, not personal qualities such as that somebody is a good parent.

One staffer gets cited at each meeting, so everybody gets an applause week.

The form is just a half page in size – short, she says, “because people see a full blank page as intimidating.”

It reads:

(Name of staffer) is a valuable employee and coworker. She demonstrates skills or qualities that are important to her job and to our team. I have noticed that she . . .

There are several lines to fill in, and at the bottom is the date along with a space for a signature, although the signature is optional. Staff have a week to fill it out and return it to Hunter, who then compiles the answers and reads them at the next staff meeting.

“Some people are easily moved to tears and didn’t want to read their own,” she says.

Hunter puts a copy in the personnel file and also gives the staffer a copy. That way, the staffer has positive remarks “in each person’s handwriting.”

That simple form, Hunter says, “forces everybody to think positively” about everybody else. And because staff have a full week to come up with their answers, the positive thinking continues day to day. It’s especially helpful when there’s “an abrasive relationship” between two staffers.

The answers can be anything. Some remarks have been:

  • “She is always cheerful with the patients.”
  • “She always talks quietly with patients about collections so nobody gets embarrassed.”
  • “She is constantly improving her skills and knowledge base.”
  • “She is compassionate and caring and fierce in her care for our patients.”

Some staffers write on both sides of the page.

And the exercise is not limited to the staff. Everybody also fills out forms for each of the office’s three doctors, and Hunter gives the doctors copies at their weekly meetings.

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