University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor, had held a summer picnic as far back as people could remember. “When we began questioning managers about their recognition practices, they all pointed to that day as if to say, ‘Well, we did the picnic,’” says Denise White, chairwoman, employee recognition programs. White was hired by UMHHC about five years ago to question assumptions, so her next task was to ask the employees what they thought of the picnic. “The data was ...

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