The problem with most recognition awards at the workplace

In the recent facilitation session that I ran for a client, I realized that every year they hold a great event to celebrate the innovation projects of teams and recognize their efforts, and business impact.


In most innovation projects the teams usually involve some leaders who took an idea and turned them into reality. The bigger project, which usually means more time or money saved, the bigger the reward.


The problem with recognition awards

I love recognition awards but the problem with such awards is that are usually given to the top few teams and they are usually missing out on the rest. The top projects are usually huge and don’t occur every day. Take a lot of months to implement and only involve a small handful of people, which is usually less than one percent of the people in your organization.


recognition awards


My alternative proposition

What if instead of just paying attention to big changes, we also pay attention to small ones? Small improvements are faster to achieve and occur a lot more often. Can you imagine, what if we can increase the level of innovation of your 99% staff, by just a slight three percent increase?

What will it do for your organization? How much more money will it save your organization? How much more satisfaction will it bring to your clients?

What I wanted to say is that in all our reward systems, where we only celebrate big achievements, perhaps it is time to also focus on small achievements.


What may be deemed as a “small” achievement?

How about giving small rewards to those who have made something better at work? How about rewarding people who took an idea and made it happen within one month? How about rewarding administrative staff who took the effort to reduce two steps in an administrative process? How about rewarding someone who did small things to create a better client experience?


What is a meaningful reward to your staff?

The rewards don’t need to be big. They can take in the form of a small gift card of their favorite coffee or bubble tea (my favorite). This creates more winners at work and also can help them to know that their contributions matter.

So what are you gonna do to reward small wins in your team today?

Picture of Kenneth Kwan, CSP
Kenneth Kwan, CSP

Kenneth Kwan is an internationally recognized Author, Global Leadership and Motivational Speaker, renowned for his ability to inspire and empower audiences worldwide. With over a decade of experience, he has spoken to leaders from 40 countries, helping transform cultures and shift mindsets within Multi-National Companies (MNCs) and Government Organizations. Kenneth’s expertise in solution-focused thinking and strategic planning has guided numerous businesses toward significant results and high-performance environments. Featured in esteemed media outlets like Channel News Asia and Malaysia's BFM89.9, his insights on leadership and motivation are highly sought after. Kenneth's book, "Small Steps To Big Changes," showcases his profound wisdom and practical strategies, making a lasting impact in lectures and training programs across the region.