Recognition trends to embrace (or avoid)

Employers can learn something from programs that survived recessionary cutbacks
By Peter Hart
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/04/2010

A century ago, recognition programs were a sales channel for manufacturers to sell pins, rings, jewelry and watches. Over the years, other manufacturers realized the value of this channel so programs started to include luggage, crystal and other luxury goods. Current recognition and reward programs often feature all of the above and just about any other product or service available.

But all too often, recognition misses the mark because managers don’t understand the difference between rewards and recognition. Rewards are material objects while recognition is ethereal and not easily quantifiable. Just because a manager gives someone a gold watch doesn’t mean that person has been recognized.

Recognition only occurs if the person truly “feels” valued and appreciated. The most powerful recognition begins with a person’s name, and words, if used properly, can be the most powerful reward of all. As more companies realize this difference, they are putting more emphasis on educating managers on why recognition is important instead of just training them on how to present the reward.