LIFE AT MATERIALISE
Pat Yourself on the Back: Spreading Positivity in Our Czech Office
3 min read
Our teams at Materialise achieve incredible feats daily, and everyone deserves to feel appreciated for their hard work. This was the focus of a recent initiative in our Czech office, where our team of 65 focuses on vacuum casting production. HR Manager Darina Stránská, Managing Director Peter Neupauer, and Production Manager Radek Kamenický collaborated to increase appreciation in the workplace in a fun way with prizes that everyone can enjoy — a game they call “Hey Man, Pat Yourself on the Back.”
The name is based on a popular Czech board game Člověče, nezlob se (also known as Mens Erger Je Niet in Dutch and Ludo in the US) and aims to encourage a positive feedback culture within the office. “When someone on your team hands in work, it’s often routine to give a simple thank you and quickly move on,” explains Peter. “This game prompts team leads to think deeper about the contributions of each employee and thoroughly share their appreciation with a specific reason for how they’re making a difference with their work.”
How to play
At the start of each month, team leads receive one 3D-printed Matak coin per member of their team. They then hand off a coin each time they’d like to thank a team member for an achievement. Along with the Matak, the team lead must give a specific reason for the compliment, such as being flexible, helping others, making small improvements, and taking a positive approach. From there, the team member brings their coin to HR. And this is the moment where the name of the game comes in — in order to collect money for their team, they must ‘pat themselves on the back’ and share with HR why they received the coin. This is an important point of the game to help the team focus on their strengths, boost self-esteem, and encourage them to continue striving for excellence.
The good times don’t end there — the 3D-printed coin does indeed represent real money! Each Matak a team collects contributes money toward a team-building activity. With this money, they can either organize multiple smaller events throughout the year or let their funds build up for a larger celebration later on.
Each team receives 3D-printed coins in these containers to see how many times they’ve said thank you and how much more they can earn.
“This game not only adds some incentive to thank your colleagues, it also works towards making it a habit,” says Darina. “By repeating this behavior and normalizing giving positive feedback to our colleagues, we hope it’s a practice that will stick.”
Appreciation is in the air
Since the game began in March 2023, Darina and Peter have noticed great participation. They’re also able to track the reasons for positive feedback and are happy to see proactivity and being a team player as two trends in the office.
“This system is a great way to strengthen relationships within the teams,” shares Jiri Pinkas, CAD Technician. “Receiving Mataks helps us keep up our performance and maintain a good mood in the office. I especially appreciate that we get to decide for ourselves how to spend the money we collect. My team, the Office team, ordered a special lunch and spent time together with the full team. It’s always nice to get everyone in one place, so we all really enjoyed ourselves.”
So far, the teams have held a few different team-building activities, including a group lunch and bowling. “The idea of this game is perfect,” according to Dana Kostilnikova and Hanka Chernyayeva from the Mold-Making team. “We love to see the number of Mataks in our bank rise, and we had a great time enjoying our success together at a bowling event.”
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