Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life

Rewarding Staff and Students- What Works?

A tram journey this morning resulted in more than a catching-up on emails and Twitter… it quickly evolved into sending the following direct message to a certain @MrsSarahSimons

Cool- let’s go for tomorrow! Exciting and scary all at once! 🙂 Any tips you can give me?

A short while later and this was shared:


My first go at facilitating a #ukfechat was born!

I originally suggested the topic a while ago (for mainly selfish reasons) as we’re currently looking at how we best reward and recognise the work of our staff @sheffcol. It soon occurred to me that the collective ideas and musings of the #ukfechat crowd certainly wouldn’t go amiss in helping us along the way. Once I got to thinking about that, I began to consider that there might be mileage in us considering students at the same time- we’re all human beings together after all (however much it may feel like one is more human than others at times- I’ll leave you to decide which!)

  • Perhaps we’d discover from discussions that what works for one would work for the other?
  • Perhaps all staff and students feel the same swell of pride that comes from similar rewards and modes of recognition?
  • Perhaps we’d find that Dan Pink is right about motivation and that ‘Carrots & sticks are so last century…we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery & purpose.’ Click here to read a summary.

Working in FE, there are considerations for us to make about rewards for both staff and students.

Motivating students to engage in their learning, especially when the ultimate reward of becoming gainfully employed seems like some distant dream is a challenge to say the least. Is it enough for us all just to make like @suzannahbridge and congratulate students on winning the prize of knowledge? (*as part of her excellent murder in the library induction activity- read all about it here).

When figures from the Association of Colleges suggest that 36% of all staff that leave, do so within the first 2 years and that 11% of these leave within the first 6 months; there is clearly work to be done to retain our staff as much as our students. You can read the AoC Report 2014 here: (the 2015 report is not yet available). This much quoted statement from Richard Branson indicates that how we treat our staff is a vital consideration for us to make.Richard_quote_train_people_s

Image available from here (in a blog about ‘looking after your staff’)

So, could reward and recognition be part of our answer for both staff and students? That’s what we’ll be discussing tomorrow evening if you’re able to join us between 9pm and 10pm on Twitter (stragglers are more than welcome after 9pm!)

I’m one of those people who likes to feel prepared and I thought there might be more of you (me) out there so these are the six questions I PLAN to ask (*insert disclaimer here about how it may be necessary for me to adapt questions depending on the discussion taking place and the plan may be thwarted by inevitable first ever chat facilitation dramas).

Q1. What’s the best ‘reward’ you’ve ever received as a member of staff or as a student?

Q2. What’s the best ‘reward’ you’ve ever given at work (to a colleague or a student)?

Q3. Where does showing gratitude feature as part of ‘reward’?

Q4. Does the potential fallout from staff and student awards render them worthless?

Q5. How big is too big when it comes to rewards?

Q6. Does a reward hold more meaning if it comes from a student/ colleague/ manager/ governor/ employer/ parent?


PS. If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat before then do not fear, Sarah Simons’s advice is here!

  • Get yourself onto Twitter between 9-10 on a Thursday evening.
  • Type #ukfechat in the search bar and you’ll see tweets from people who have joined in the chat.
  • There are usually 5 questions asked throughout the hour by the host.
  • Say hello (if you want to) then reply to comments or questions that interest you.
  • Feel free to ask a question or make a statement.
  • Don’t worry about reading every single tweet. Twitter chats move fast with a number of conversations taking place simultaneously. You can always read back through the timeline the next day.
  • Re-tweeting or favouriting posts that you agree with are quick ways of supporting comments and sharing them with your own followers.
  • You might want to tell your followers that you’ll be participating in a chat in advance. It’s a way of giving advance warning that you may be a bit noisy during that time!
  • Finally and most importantly…. REMEMBER TO PUT #ukfechat SOMEWHERE IN THE TWEET, so your comments will show up in the chat.

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My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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