Elizabeth Michelle | CLASS CLOWNS PART 2: Don’t we all love a bit of moral support?
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CLASS CLOWNS PART 2: Don’t we all love a bit of moral support?

Engaging a diverse workforce is a challenge for all business leaders, but engaging teens for the last decade makes adults look easy!

We all want to believe our employees feel supported and appreciated, but are we really doing enough to keep them engaged?

In Part 2 of my Class Clowns series, I want to share my tools of support to help you keep morale high in your modern workplace:

Cambridge University research found that school kids who get encouragement from teachers have much more chance of continuing education after 16. Encouragement and praise can be confused – they are different.

PRAISE = feels good, but usually generalised and given after something has been achieved.

ENCOURAGEMENT = more meaningful because specific and ongoing throughout a process.

With a class of kids known for bunking (skipping class) I started our first lesson: ‘thank you so much for coming today, I know it can be hard sometimes, but it is so great seeing you here and I look forward to seeing you every lesson unless I hear from you in advance’ (do you see how I slipped the high expectation in there too?). The recognition and encouragement felt good to them – I thanked them for coming to every lesson and they never bunked a class! Yes, attendance, like targets at work, is basic criteria, but can still be a struggle. Tapping into that really helps.












Notice the small stuff and give specific encouragement regularly – appraisals are not enough. This is a culture that needs developing, encouragement needs to start at the top. Sometimes public recognition is also appropriate – for a major accomplishment an email with all executive managers cc’ed would be appreciated I’m sure!

DISCLAIMER: You are a fabulous reader, thank you for reading my article so beautifully, I can see you have gorgeous eyes, you are clearly a very skilled manager, an exceptional individual ….. Don’t overdo it!!!! We don’t need egos too enormous flying around! Also, overkill can feel fake (not that your eyes aren’t really gorgeous!).

Bottom line: Provide ongoing genuine and personalised encouragement to fuel engagement.


Elizabeth is a consultant who helps enhance staff potential, performance and retention.

Elizabeth has a Joint-Honours Degree and Masters from the University of Cambridge in Education and Psychology, is a Qualified Teacher and is currently pursuing her Psychology Doctorate.

Elizabeth works in mental health in a range of settings including; schools, prison and counselling centres, exploring effective means of communication and maximising potential. As an educator and former assistant head of sixth form Elizabeth has had extensive experience working with millennials; improving their engagement in the workplace is an area of particular interest.

Elizabeth is available for tailored and personalised consultation and public speaking. She runs engaging and relevant workshops, is experienced in enhancing millennial engagement, as well as running cultural diagnostics of companies.

You can reach Elizabeth at elizabeth@elizabethmichelle.co.uk.


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