A Slightly Different View of Employee Recognition

As an employee recognition consultant I am always looking for new innovative forms of recognition. The example I came across this week isn’t typical of what I usually find. In fact, it doesn’t include any form of praise or appreciation whatsoever. I even doubt that Zappos, the company that is using it, considers it to be recognition. And yet it is. It is a very subtle form of employee recognition.

Recognition is about two things, being:


2) Valued

Most of our recognition efforts are focused on the second part, conveying the message that people are valued. Demonstrating the value of our employees is extremely important, and we need to do it through both our words and our actions. The more we can show our praise and appreciation the better.

But what about visibility? We don’t pay much attention to it, and yet visibility is critical to the success of our organizations. No one wants to be a nameless cog in a machine. They literally want to be recognized, as in “Oh I know who you are! You work in accounting and your name is…” Small organizations have no problem with this and consequently usually have higher levels of engagement. With bigger organizations people can get lost in the crowd.

What do organizations do to counteract this sense of isolation? Most have on-boarding processes for introducing new people around the company when they are hired. And most have mixers and other events where people can get more familiar over time. What else can be done?

Here is what Zappos is doing that I find so interesting. As part of their computer log-on sequence, employees are required to identify the photo of one employee, chosen randomly from their data base.

Isn’t that intriguing? The message I get from this process is that knowing your coworkers isn’t optional. If you want to work here you literally have to recognize everyone!

Tell me what you or your organization do to improve visibility!


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