Six Winning Words About Work: Do They Sound Like You?

Last month I issued the challenge to submit your “Six Words about Work” to the Mercer/SMITH Magazine contest. The contest sought to add color to the key findings of Mercer’s global What’s Working survey, which partially found:

While U.S. employees voiced concerns and frustrations about work through the survey, they also confirmed that certain factors contribute significantly to their motivation and engagement at work, including:

  • Being treated with respect (82 percent cited this factor as being very important to motivation and engagement);
  • The quality of leadership in the organization (75 percent);
  • Being able to provide good service to others (75 percent);
  • The quality of the people they work with (74 percent).”

Winning words, well chosen

I can’t say I’m all that surprised by Mercer’s survey findings, and I think my own submissions reflected that ethos:

  • Ignored, Demotivated, Underperform. Noticed, Recognized, Engaged.
  • When I’m thanked, my performance excels.
  • “Thanks” is easy, so give more.
  • Appreciation creates winning cultures of recognition.

But the winners’ submissions (as reported in a Mercer press release) were well chosen:

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For the “Best Boss I Ever Had” category:

  • “Promoted truth, justice and eventually, me.” – U.S. winner.
  • Advised: Be CEO of own workspace.” – Canada winner.
  • Hid tears behind a stern face.” – UK winner.

For the “Biggest Lesson I Learned at Work” category:

  • “Press every button until printer works.” – U.S. winner.
  • Follow your heart, not the salary.” – Canada winner.
  • Make cups of tea, build bridges.” – UK winner.

What are your six words? Alternately, what winning six words do you identify with the most?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


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