Have you ever thought of your organization’s employee engagement and recognition program in the context of a diet? I’m guessing probably not.  And who really would anyway? Humor me for a minute as I start to outline why I think this might actually help some organizations achieve a higher level of success with their programs.

It seems to me that many organizations are becoming overly enamored by the front-end experience of employee recognition (the filet mignon) and are overlooking the back-end essentials (the real bread and butter) of a truly effective recognition program. Yet it is these basic fundamentals that are critical to your recognition diet. And while the bells and whistles can help add some spice and flavor to your recognition program, it’s critical that you don’t prioritize them over the basics. So how can you ensure a diet with the perfect blend of must-haves and want-to-haves?


Start by taking a step back and really asking yourselves these four questions:

  • What is it that our organization and our people really need to help improve the effectiveness of employee recognition?
  • How many people in our organization truly understand the fundamentals of our program?
  • How much time does our organization spend providing continuous learning opportunities on how to more effectively engage, recognize and reward our people?
  • What percentage of our leaders today effectively recognize their employees on an ongoing basis throughout the year?

The honest answers to these questions could be a little disturbing. Here’s a fact from a company I know well that likes to think they do a good job of recognizing one another throughout the year.  Through the first quarter of the year only 49% of managers had taken the time to recognize people even though they have a decent budget.  That’s scary and sad at the same time.  You can’t tell me that people within that organization aren’t demonstrating behavior worthy of being recognized.

Shouldn’t our energy and a portion of our investment be spent helping people in the organization understand HOW and WHY it’s so important to recognize people every day for their efforts? Organizations are investing millions of dollars into employee recognition.  One of the most important things we need in organization’s today are people who feel valued and appreciated for their contributions to the greater good of our business.  A little bread and butter please!

Once we get a strong foundation of the basics built and established, then in appropriate cultures we can leverage the latest trends in technology and all the cool new advances in video, audio and social recognition – the “filet mignon”. The world of SaaS technology, mobile devices, and easier ways to catch people doing the right thing is upon us, and it has to be easy for people to access your program and to easily give and receive recognition. We’re all too busy to be distracted by unnecessary inconvenience. Maritz Motivation Solutions realizes this and is bringing all of that same “filet mignon” to our clients as well, but not at the expense of getting the basics nailed down first.

“Waiter, I’ll take an order of bread and butter, please.”

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