Last week I was in New York attending the 7th Annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. HR Bartender was nominated for business blog of the year (we won, BTW!) It was very special for me to be recognized for writing HR Bartender.
As I was sitting in the awards dinner, I also realized a few things about recognition that I wanted to share. As a HR pro, I’ve written many a recognition program. We can all agree recognition is important. But people tend to have this love/hate relationship with recognition. Every time some sort of acknowledgment or recognition comes out, individuals feel compelled to analyze it and, in many cases, criticize.
Here’s what I learned:
Recognition is individual. When it comes to recognizing someone, everyone has gestures and items they prefer over others. Some people like individual notes; others want public accolades. Some like trophies and plaques; others want cash. It’s terrible to say, but you’ll probably never make everyone happy. Hopefully individuals who receive recognition realize that there are moments when recognition is customized and moments where it’s standardized. The important part is the recognition itself.
Recognition is personal. Everyone has a story. It’s special and unique to them. I listened to a story about a woman losing everything because of her child’s illness which lead to the start of her business. And the woman from Sri Lanka who started a retail business in the back of her car that is now one of the top retailers in her country. And the woman who was bullied in high school that started a coaching consultancy to help others improve their self-esteem. It’s important to let people tell their story.
And if others feel driven to criticize, I can only hope they direct their comments appropriately. The one downside of the evening was listening to people complain about who won the awards. Folks, that’s just not right. If you have a problem with the recognition, then direct it to the people who created the recognition. Not the innocent person who was nominated and recognized. They worked hard and deserve their recognition.
Now, I’m going to say something that may be a tad unpopular…there’s a point in the recognition conversation where, if you complain too much about the process or the outcomes, it looks like whining. It comes across as sour grapes. And, it stops being constructive inquiry and discussion. The focus moves from the process to “Why in the world is this person complaining so much?” It’s no longer about the recognition or process. It’s about the person complaining.
Corporate recognition and awards are important. They provide value on an individual basis and they support corporate initiatives. I ran across an article that shared a statistic I didn’t realize. A study by Hendricks & Singhal of the University of Western Ontario and Georgia Institute of Technology, revealed corporate award winners had more sales growth and higher stock price returns than their peers.
I’m proud and extremely honored to have been a recipient of this year’s Stevie Award for Blog of the Year. And I’m grateful to the readers of HR Bartender for the comments, suggestions, ideas and support you provide. It makes me want to work harder and write better every day. Cheers!0