Recognition Rhetoric


Performance Global Recognition Appreciation Thanks Motivation
Culture of Recognition Praise Celebration Best Practices Retain Talent
Drive Results Measurement Communications Training Social


If the above terms sound generic and unfulfilling, it’s because you’ve heard them overused by recognition providers and so called “Recognition Experts” for many years. Are they negative terms? No. Are they lazy terms? YES


Lazy because they are goals without tactics. Simply stating that a company should have a recognition strategy in place because it raises employee engagement isn’t enough.


Moving from “Recognition Past” to “Recognition Future,” the terms which should be employed more often include, but should not limited to:


Individual Particular Personal Respective Specific
Definite Distinct Unique Select Personalized
Single Defined Original Special Exclusive


Managers and leaders need to understand key motivators with each of their employees. Once they understand those motivations, and the key drivers behind them, it is incumbent of them to design unique incentive and recognition plans catered specifically to individuals.


In the recent bestselling book, “What Motivates Me” written by Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton, they note, If we want to be happily engaged in our work and performing at our fullest potential, we’ve got to look inside ourselves, to understand what truly motivates us.”


They further state, “Well-intended managers who want to motivate their teams have to sift through vastly different notions about what motivates workers: one author has a list of three things that really drive employees, another says no—it’s this list of five other things, and so on. Unfortunately the fixes out there on motivation are much too simplistic and categorical to help many people.”


For far too long, recognition providers have designed systems that force employees to fall into one of a few buckets, (ex. Outstanding Performer, Safe Driver, Healthy Worker, Loyal Employee, etc.)


“Recognition Future” needs to account for individual motivational drivers such as Autonomy, Creativity, Problem Solving, Family, Money, Prestige and Purpose.


Cheers to Gostick & Elton for getting it right!

Jim Drakakis


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