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Selling Top Management on Recognition


There must be a problem getting C-Level execs to install recognition and engagement programs. 

I say that because of the oodles and oodles of posts I see, all focused on ways to convince top management to run these types of programs.  And they all say the same thing.

Each post highlights the data showing how engagement and recognition drive business performance and then the author tells you to go and present these wonderful facts and figures to your executives. 

The implied outcome from all these posts and pundits is that once you present your well-crafted 32 page, image heavy, statistic-laden slide deck to the bosses, the clouds will part, light will issue forth from behind the executives’ head, trumpets will blare and you’ll be handed a check for $1,000,000 to run an employee engagement initiative.

Yet… that doesn’t happen. 

Your ideas for engagement and recognition just sit there.

What to do?  What to do?

Super Secret Idea to Get More Recognition In Your Company

I’m going to give you my special secret recommendation.  This is a solution handed down by my Great Grandmother to my Grandmother to my Mother to me.  It is a family secret and I’m sure I will be thoroughly scolded for giving it away for free but I’m hoping that by doing so I can stop seeing post after post about why C-Level folks don’t see the value in recognition and engagement.

Here’s the secret plan…

For the next three months, you and your peers, and other employees in the company who have dealings with your C-Level executives – get as many as you can round up – and then… are you ready?

…Launch a focused, targeted recognition initiative to your C-Level and executive level personnel. 

That’s right.  Put in place a tactical recognition strike to your top level executives that includes recognition emails, letters, hand written notes, sticky-notes, hallway high fives, little thank you’s within emails where the execs are copied.

Give them the experience of being recognized on a regular basis.

Now, don’t just do the minimum… spend some time – do it right.  Highlight how they handled a new product discussion without hurting someone’s feelings.  Highlight how they were able to kill two birds with one stone and make the company better. 

Let them get some recognition.

What You Don’t Have You Don’t Value

The problem I see too often is that the person who ultimately is responsible for green-lighting the budget for reward, recognition and engagement programs has absolutely no frame of reference on the impact these initiatives can have at a PERSONAL level. 

They never get recognition.  They never get the pats on the back.

Sure they get options – but that’s not the same as another human being saying – “You mattered.  Thank you.”

It’s not the same.

I will guarantee that if you spend a few months targeting your executives with recognition and engagement efforts – your next pitch to increase the reward budget or launch that new engagement initiative will be met with open arms and much more open check book.

Until they (the execs) understand the value of recognition and engagement at an emotional level they will never be able value it at a financial level.


Go forth and recognize!


Originally posted on on Incentive Intelligence

5 Responses to “Selling Top Management on Recognition”

  1. […] the whole post over at Paul Hebert’s I-2-I (an FOT contributor blog).  var dd_offset_from_content = 40; var dd_top_offset_from_content = […]

  2. Love this post, Paul! I wrote about the exact opposite today which is the detriment of too much recognition. There is definitely an emotional quotient to engagement and recognition. When the C-Suite can’t see the emotional connection between these two pieces; your initiatives are D.O.A.

  3. WorkSimple says:

    This is a great way to look at recognition applications. Team members aren’t the only ones who need to be recognized for their efforts. Senior level and C-suite executives also deserve some applause when they go above and beyond. After all, pats on the back shouldn’t stop just because you get a larger office or more money. Employee recognition needs to happen always…no matter how high you are on the totem pole.

  4. Symbolist says:

    […] Selling Top Management on Recognition (symbolist.com) […]

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