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Kudos Cards Help LIFEDesigns Recognize Their DSPs

Submitted By: Heather Bagshaw, Director of Human Resources, LIFEDesigns

LIFEDesigns introduced The Kudos Program in January 2019 to recognize direct support professionals (DSPs) for going above and beyond in their work.

Examples of Kudos for DSPs

  • Working extra shifts
  • Helping a client reach a goal
  • Taking a client out to a new place in the community
  • Entering time according to EVV standards (we go EVV live January 1, 2021)
  • Helping other DSP’s learn more about clients and their needs

Team managers are provided with ‘Kudos Cards’ to distribute to members of their teams when they observe a DSP going above and beyond their traditional job responsibilities. Along with the acknowledging excellence in direct support, the Kudos Cards also allow the DSP to be eligible for a monthly raffle drawing of two $50 gift cards. The Team Manager who gives a DSP a Kudos card is also entered into a monthly drawing for one $50 gift card.

Recognizing DSPs through the Kudos Cards is just one-way organizations can continue to acknowledge DSPs year-round for their hard work. In addition to providing staff with a chance to win a gift card, the program also helps build and reinforce a positive culture across the organization.

Implementing The Kudos Cards Program For DSPs

The steps below list actions that LIFEDesigns suggests could help in establishing your own Kudos Cards program.

  1. Design a program that provides DSPs with extra acknowledgement
  2. Define about what constitutes DSP work that goes above and beyond
  3. Identify how your organization will give praise to employees
  4. Determine the time/frequency for when the program is carried out
  5. Identify any associated prizes – monetary or otherwise
  6. Draft program rules and policies that can guide the initiative
  7. Create a communications plan to notify staff about the program
  8. Launch the program and pilot it for a couple of months
  9. Review after a couple of months and assess any adjustments that may be needed
  10. Monitor program continuously and tweak as needed (especially as it relates to the pandemic)

About LIFEDesigns

LIFEDesigns is a non-profit agency that provides services to individuals with disabilities in South Central Indiana. LIFEDesigns mission is to partner with and promote independence for people with disabilities. We envision communities that support all people, where each person is valued, and where everyone belongs. Our employees are essential to our mission by providing direct service to those that we support. As an essential service provider for individuals with disabilities, we have adapted policies to ensure that our employees as well as our clients continue to remain safe. Whether it’s helping someone with grooming, medication administration, cooking dinner, or even finding employment opportunities in their community, our employees go above and beyond to help those we serve towards their dreams of independence. For more information please visit our website at

2020 National DSP Recognition Week

For 2020 National DSP Recognition Week, NADSP and CQL are sharing specific organization-wide initiatives that lift up and bolster direct support professionals (DSPs) throughout the entire year. These include significant, long-lasting, and meaningful actions that have far-reaching effects on DSPs. By sharing these initiatives, other human service providers can both learn about and replicate these efforts to build up the DSP workforce. This is also an opportunity to highlight the programs your organization has developed to strengthen DSPs.

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Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.