You’ve served up regular  recognition cocktails of programs, plaques, bonuses, and fun.  In fact, you would consider a few of your creative  recognition programs to be “best practices.” Perhaps you’ve even written a blog post or two about them. You’ve spent lots of money… you’ve put in heartfelt effort. And then… the employee survey results come in. It’s not enough. They want more.

What if your recognition cocktails don’t work?

You think…

“How are we missing the mark?  Let’s ask the team…. “

And so you form a task force to come up with even more creative cocktails of programs, plaques, bonuses, and fun…  and the cycle continues.

Recognition isn’t always shiny.

Imagine There’s No Programs

Let’s get a little John Lennon here.

What if there were no formal recognition programs?

What else would you do?

Here are some thoughts… please add yours: 

  • Ask each person how they would like to be recognized
  • Say “thank you” more frequently
  • Write more hand written notes
  • Publicly celebrate and share more best practices
  • Provide more developmental assignments
  • Go out-of-the-way to spend time at the beginning of each meeting celebrating success
  • Understand which accomplishments mean the most to the individuals on the team
  • Slow down and really understand the nuances and challenges of what your team members are working on?
  • Connect
  • Bring in more bagels?
  • ?

Formal recognition programs have their place… and can be vital to the overall health of organizations. But… it’s never enough. Imagine all the people…

And then again, I just created another task force… 

Leadership is never handled.

See Also:

5 Reason’s Your Recognition is Backfiring
Why Isn’t This Incentive Program Working?
Recognition Power Words:  The Phrases That Mean the Most
Cheer in the Next Gear

Karin Hurt
Karin hurt is CEO of Let's Grow Leaders, a leadership consulting firm focused on helping companies achieve transformational results by building rock-solid frontline leadership teams.She has a diverse background of executive leadership experience in sales, customer service, call centers, human resources, merger integration, training and leadership development-- the last 20 years of which have been with Verizon.She most recently served as Executive Director of the Strategic Partnership Channel at Verizon Wireless where she transformed customer service outsourcing, working with companies and call centers to build great customer experiences and strong cultures. Her high-trust, high-collaboration approach has led to substantial improvement across the portfolio, with centers performing at parity or above internal centers.Prior to that she led a large Verizon Wireless sales team (2000+) leading the Nation in store sales to the Small and Medium business space. Her book, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss: A Practical Guide To Building a Better Relationship With Your Boss is available on Amazon. Karin has an BA in Communication from Wake Forest University, an MA from Towson University in Organizational Communication, and additional graduate work at the University of Maryland, where she taught communications classes.She was recently recognized as one of the top 100 thought leaders in Trusted Business Behavior by Trust Across America and as Multiplier of the Year by the Wiseman Group.Karin lives in Baltimore with her husband and two sons. She knows the long road of the marathon runner and the joy of good song, all of which inform her leadership.
Karin Hurt


Leadership consultant, speaker, author & MBA professor. Experienced Verizon Exec. Lead with confident humility. Become the boss you wish you had. #leadership
Thanks @julie_WG for participating in the Frontline Festival on bold and innovative leadership! #leadership - 1 hour ago
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt