It’s Awards Season: Who’s On Your Red Carpet?

January and February mark the “Awards Season” for the entertainment industry and we are close to wrapping it up with the Academy Awards in a couple of weeks. The notion of an Awards Season got me thinking about how leaders are recognizing those on their teams.

Elegant Golden PrizesWhile I don’t think that there should be a “season” for recognizing great work and contribution (it should be happening regularly throughout the year),  I do want to offer some thought-provoking questions to spark some needed action or attention on the topic of recognition.

Here we go:

  1. Who would you invite to walk the red carpet in your company? As you think of your response, here are some considerations to ensure you are thinking broadly:
    • Is it always the same people? Have you given everyone equal opportunities to shine? Do you seek out the same people for special projects?
    • Are you thinking about people in other departments or locations? Have you taken time to look beyond what your workgroup is doing? Are there opportunities to increase your exposure that cross department/functional lines?
    • What have they done to deserve the red carpet? Is there real contribution and benefit to the company because of their work OR are they getting credit for past work that has the “halo effect” on the current work?
  2. How would you recognize and reward their contribution?
    • Is the reward something that is meaningful to that person? Do you know what that person would consider valuable? What you might think is great, may not be valued by the recipient. Question the standard policy and ask what you can do to customize the reward options.
    • If you have $0 in your budget for rewards/recognition, do you have a list of no/low-cost ideas? There is a great resource in the book, 1501 Ways to Reward Employees by Dr. Bob Nelson. 
    • Should the recognition be public or private? Like noted above, it’s important to know what the recipient prefers. If that person is happy to have public recognition, it’s especially beneficial when the person serves as a role model for the behavior or contribution you want others to emulate.
  3. Are you offering recognition frequently enough?
    • What will keep recognition top of mind? Do you have a tickler on your calendar that prompts you to think about recognizing people for a job well done? If not, this is super easy to implement.
    • Are there opportunities to build in recognition as a standing agenda item on monthly/quarterly team meetings? Think about the existing forums that bring people together and leverage those situations to build in morale-boosting activities. 
    • Are you paying attention to catch people doing something right? We often get stuck in a critical mode vs. acknowledging what’s working well. Really being present and looking up from the latest crisis can help balance our observations. 

Perhaps it’s worth boosting your recognition practices by having a Red Carpet ceremony of your own the week of the Academy Awards. Could be fun and rewarding at the same time!

Remember, even if you are not one who NEEDS much recognition for your own good work, that doesn’t mean that others feel the same way. It’s safer to assume everyone appreciates being appreciated, so go for it!

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults…and finds her work quite rewarding! Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at