End users need pampering when it comes to learning software, but what about the trainers? Don’t we deserve a little pampering as well? Of course we do. And it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

My name is not “I need”
I don’t know about you, but I am beginning to think my name is “I need” or “Hey can you fix.” Every time I pass a co-worker in the hall, it’s always, “Hey, can you show me how to create that PowerPoint Presentation?” or “I need you to put that word processing program on my machine.” The days of old—when I used to hear, ”Hello Matthew, how are you today?” or “Good morning Matthew, how have you been?”—are all but gone.

As IT professionals, we are always balancing a two-sided sword. Whenever things are working right with the computers, I receive all the attaboys one person can stand. But as a wise old computer geek once told me, a single “oh-darn-it!” wipes out a week’s worth of attaboys. No one really seems to appreciate the company computer geek unless the geek has done some training or work for him or her. Over the years I have learned that even an ounce of self-rewarding goes a long way towards keeping my sanity.

Reward your staff
We usually are too busy running from one user’s workstation to the next giving advice, tips, and mini training sessions to stop and smell the computer chips. Your training staff works hard every day to ensure the software is being used as efficiently as possible. Why not show them your appreciation?

Giving rewards not only validates feelings of self-worth but also improves the quality of training. Incentives, such as days off or movie tickets, are always a sure bet. Your trainers need to know they are providing a great service to the company and to the IT department. Little rewards every now and then can go a long way in the fight against battered egos.

Some ideas on recognition and rewards
In my department, we have developed ways to make sure that our hard work does not go unrecognized. I have negotiated with my managers for reward money for my staff and me. At the end of each month, we award one training staff member his or her choice of two tickets to a new movie, dinner certificate to a fine restaurant in town, or an extra day off.

Regardless of which reward is chosen, the recipient also receives a dedicated parking space in front for that month. We also publish a quarterly IT newsletter explaining upcoming events, current projects, Y2K status, and, of course, the trainer of the quarter.

Ideas such as these seem small, but they really work to massage the damaged ego of some of our staff.

Providing rewards and recognition is the best way to maintain a high level of training and productivity. Our support staff can only deliver better training if they feel they are doing some good. Giving my staff and myself a pat on the back every now and then not only keeps our confidence up, but it benefits the company and employees as well.

Matthew Mercurio is the IT manager for Clear Channel Broadcasting in Louisville. If you’d like to comment on this article, follow this link to reward Matthew .