Before you send out that survey or report or memo no one will pay attention to, do what psychologist Randy Garner did and attach a Post-it to the cover with a quick personal note. You’ll be surprised at the response it gets.

Garner did that just in a series of experiments, doubling his response rate to a survey. The psychology professor at Texas’ Sam Houston State University found that the mere presence of a Post-it on the cover page prompted substantially more responses. Adding a personal note to it increased responses even more. And those who got the personal Post-it were faster to return the survey and were more complete in their written comments.

Even when he tested to see if survey length would have an effect, Garner found that a personal message on the sticky note upped the response rate by 500%. While a 5 page survey got a higher response rate among all three groups — no Post-it, Post-it no message and personalized Post-it — adding just a sticky note alone improved the return rate from 13% (no Post-It) to 40%.

In reporting his research in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Garner said, “These results suggest that the Post-it generally tends to operate at a somewhat subtle level. When the task is more demanding, however, the personalized Post-it appeal may call greater attention to the personal nature of the request and figures more prominently in a decision to complete the task.”

Discussing the implications of the experiments for business in a Harvard Business Review article, author and psychologist Kevin Hogan said adding the sticky note, even without a message, personalized the appeal creating a “sense of connection, meaning, and identity.”

Garner’s experiments, Hogan observed, showed that “if a task is easy to perform or comply with, a simple sticky note request needs no further personalization. But, when the task is more involved, a more highly personalized sticky note was significantly more effective than a simple standard sticky note request.”

It’s a good lesson the next time you want people to notice and act on that report or memo. Simply add a Post-it and a quick note.

And to make it even more personal and more effective, Hogan says, “Adding the person’s first name at the top and your initials at the bottom causes significantly greater compliance.”


Jun 6, 2023

Americans Give Nurses High Marks for Ethics

Americans give nurses their highest approval for honesty and ethics, rating them above every other profession in a recent Gallup survey that included doctors, school teachers, judges and clergy.

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Conducted in December, Gallup found more Americans than ever say nurses have high or very high standards of honesty and ethics.

While nurses have been at the top of the ratings for 20 of the last 21 years, the COVID pandemic has so spotlighted the work they do that the percentage of survey respondents rating them highly increased by 4 points over 2019. According to Gallup, 89% of Americans gave nurses the highest ratings. Only firefighters have ever scored higher and that was in 2001 shortly after the 9/11 attack when they measured at 90%.

Doctors, who last year were said to have high or very high ethical standards by 65% of survey takers, improved by 12 points. Their previous high of 70% came in 2011 and 2012. Pharmacists, too, improved their standing for honesty and ethics in the view of the public, increasing to 71% from last year’s 64%.

Coming in just behind doctors were grade school teachers (the only teacher category Gallup measured). Their current 75% rating is nine points higher than the last time the group was included which was in 2017 when they were measured at 66%. Gallup says, “This may reflect public appreciation for the risks taken by teachers in going back to school during the pandemic, as well as their commitment to teaching under unprecedented circumstances, whether in the classroom or online.”

Rounding out the top five rankings are police officers who were measured at 52%, a drop of 2 points from the 2019 survey. Despite the decline, they were still one of only five professions to have a majority of Americans rating them high or very high for honesty and ethics.

Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics poll surveys a number of different professions each year, with a handful such as nurses, doctors and police officers included consistently. Besides reporting the cumulative results, Gallup breaks down the results by demographics and party affiliation. The divide among the various groups can be substantial for some ratings of professionals.

However, for nurses it didn’t matter whether the respondent was a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, the results were the same. They all thought highly of the profession’s ethics.

Photo by Bermix Studio


Jun 6, 2023

Family Doctors Are In Demand Everywhere

Family physicians are the most recruited of all doctors. The demand for these family practitioners is expected to grow by 10%, second only to psychiatrists. Yet those who practice family medicine have seen their average pay decrease, making these doctors among the lowest paid of all medical specialties.

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These aren’t new revelations, but they stand out starkly in the just-released Physician Compensation Report from Physicians Thrive, a financial advisory firm for doctors. The report is a compilation of data from multiple sources. It covers pay and bonuses by physician specialty and practice, and drills down into regional and state differences, hiring demand, and gender gap issues.

The report tells us that in 2020 specialists earned an average $346,000 per year, up from $341,000 in 2019. But female physicians earn 28% less on average than their male counterparts in the same specialty.

Primary care physicians, including family medicine practitioners, earn an average of $243,000 per year, up from $237,000 in 2019. But half of all family medicine doctors earn less than $205,000. And they’ve seen their pay decrease by 8.3%, the largest of all medical specialties, according to the report.

Why isn’t clear.

It’s not a matter of a significant gender imbalance the way it is in pediatrics where almost two-thirds of the doctors are women. Or in obstetrics/gynecology, which is 59% female. The Association of American Medical Colleges says 59% of the family medicine doctors are male.

For whatever reason, the Physicians Thrive report says that, “Since 2014, the number of physicians choosing to work in family medicine has decreased, leaving family practices understaffed throughout the country.”

Picking up at least some of the slack are nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The report says 78% of NPs and 33% of PAs provide primary care, according to the report. Though they do much of the same work as a physician, nurse practitioners on average earned $124,000 in 2019.

The highest-paid specialists, according to the report, are neurosurgeons earning a median of $645,000. In the Midwest, these specialists earn an average of $760,000 annually, making them the highest-paid specialists anywhere.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash