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In a successful business atmosphere, effort is rewarded through bonuses, promotions and high praise. While employee response to bonuses and promotions is typically very positive, the regular commendation of an employee’s efforts can also have a powerful influencing effect on performance. Many businesses use customer surveys to add authenticity and more frequency to assessments of employee effort.  These surveys are valuable motivators of employee performance because the employee knows their interaction with the customer is likely to be scored and reported. In a student atmosphere, regular verbal praise and encouragement might be the most powerful tool a teacher has to motivate and lift the spirits of struggling students. 

Employees Consider Praise Very Important in Job Satisfaction

In the 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), nearly half the employees surveyed said their supervisors’ respect for their ideas was “very important” to their job satisfaction. If this holds true for adults at work, how can we even wonder about the positive effect of recognition and praise on children in school? 

Traditionally, the measuring stick for academic performance has been students’ grades, but teachers have long known grades don’t tell the whole story. Many students who are disengaged from participating in classwork manage to get good grades, just as many students who are highly interactive in the classroom struggle with maintaining decent grades. For students who actively participate in class activities but continue to receive low grades, discouragement can lead to big problems.

Kenneth Thomas says, in his book Intrinsic Motivation at Work: What Really Drives Employee Engagement, “engaged employees show initiative, choose to do things right and are committed to making meaningful contributions to the organization.”  When school children are rewarded for their efforts in school, the same results can be achieved.  Showing engaged students their involvement in the classroom contributes to a meaningful learning experience can become the cornerstone to keeping the child on a positive track through school and encouraging them to avoid negative choices for attention. 

Effort Metrics Offer Important Validation for Students

Clearly, using grades as the only metric of a student’s success in the classroom leaves many students with a sense of disappointment or even failure. This, in turn, leads to disengagement, acting out and, potentially, even dropping out of school. 

When an effort metric is given the same importance as a letter grade, the overall outcome in the classroom skyrockets. As more students see positive attention is a real possibility and that it showcases their strengths, they are likely to engage in a deeper way to receive that same attention. Soon, the classroom is a place that feels good and eases tension, allowing all students to learn in a positive environment, utilizing their strengths rather than possibly drawing undue attention to their weakness.

The effort metric is an important dynamic in creating a positive learning atmosphere for students, just as it motives employees in the workspace to do their very best for their employer. Click here for more information about E4Effort and to find out how adding the effort metric to your child’s schoolroom can prepare them for adult life even more than simply achieving high letter grades.