HUMAN beings crave recognition from others, both in their personal and work lives. Research shows that employees who feel appreciated are happy, loyal and productive workers.

Here’s a way to make your employees happy: try Easier Done Than Said (EDTS), which is a unique holistic body-mind-body (BMB) set of programmes and tools designed to elevate a person’s personal happiness quotient by letting him experience an emotion (for example, recognition or appreciation), do workout drills, and then reflect on the effects and relevance to his life.

EDTS uses scientific research on positive psychology and translates the findings into BMB activities. EDTS uses music, dance, laughter, play and games, and refrains from preaching. Individuals can pick the relevant strategies that fit their personality best.

Overcome your instincts

Some people question EDTS’s efficacy because it tries to change a person’s “natural responses” to get a desired outcome. But people have to deal with change all the time, and change is often good.

Your parents taught you how to overcome your negative “natural reactions”, mainly those that will prevent you from integrating into society. It is natural for kids to lie, manipulate, constantly demand attention or not want to share, and most parents spend years using tradition, religious values and life experiences to eradicate these “natural reactions”.

You have learnt the importance of virtues such as integrity, sharing, giving to others and more. However, when it comes to your personal happiness, you have limited tools to defend yourself against mental assaults and painful events.

Sometimes, you may surrender to “natural reactions” that hurt you as well as others. So while you fasten your seatbelt to explore EDTS, the first point you need to remember is that you are human, and you should allow yourself to make mistakes, even if you are working hard to be happier.

The need for recognition

Humans are social animals. Without each other, alone on an isolated island, all the luxuries in the world will be meaningless.

Dr Eric Berne, the founder of transactional analysis, a method of improving communication, defined a stroke as the “fundamental unit of social action”. A stroke is a unit of recognition, when one person recognises another person either verbally or non-verbally.

Dr Berne was influenced by Dr Rene Spitz, a researcher who conducted studies in orphanages during and after the Second World War. Dr Spitz observed that infants deprived of physical and emotional contact, such as not receiving any “strokes”, were more prone to emotional and physical difficulties that threatened even their survival.

Dr Berne took Dr Spitz’s observations and developed theories about the needs of adults for “strokes”. He concluded that adults need physical contact just like infants, but have learned to substitute physical stimulation with “adult-like” types of recognition instead.

Adults crave for any kind of acknowledgement --— something as simple as a nod, a smile, a wink or a positive hand gesture. Dr Berne defined this as recognition-hunger.

EDTS helps leaders and teams to experience and use the power of recognition at the workplace to satisfy the growing need among working adults, especially those from generation Y, to be appreciated. For leaders, recognition and well-deserved compliments are great management tools.

Here are some EDTS recognition tips to get you started:

Be genuinely interested in your employees. Remember their names and make small talk with them. They will appreciate your emotional intelligence and reward you with loyalty.

Be sincere. Make eye contact, and don’t fake your appreciation. Your gesture will lose its meaning and you will lose credibility.

Encourage a sociable culture. Make greetings and friendly gestures a part of the way you and your staff do things.

Make random acts of recognition. For example, consider devoting one lunch or coffee break a week (or more) to an employee who is not reporting directly to you. Learn more about him, and establish rapport. While the employee will be at the top of the world, you will have access to valuable information from the floor.

Always compliment a deserving action. Filter this down for your managers to follow.

Recognise good work as soon as it is done. Doing so reinforces the behaviour the organisation wants to encourage.


Broadcast your appreciation. When someone is recognised or rewarded in front of his peers and superiors, the recognition is even more valuable. This will encourage others to do well too.