Sometimes, you and I can fail miserably when we give gifts or awards to people.
You can have all the best intentions. You checked off everything on your planning checklists and you completed the event tasks. But still the gift or award just sits there. Flat. Meaningless. Non-communicative.
Just like the service award gift that one recipient had dutifully selected from the online catalogue. Then, only to find it one day still in the original mailing package, plopped in the middle of their work desk. Not a word spoken. Deathly silence.
Not exactly a meaningful anniversary.
Or what about the customary coasters that one milestone anniversary employee received? They showed up in the infamous interdepartmental cloth mail bag. They also had to dig them out themselves and weakly smile.
People always remember these experiences. Not for any pleasant memories evoked, unfortunately. Quite the opposite.
And even if you presented the award or gift in person, do we do anything else about it?
After all, for most milestone anniversaries, the award recipient already knows exactly what they are getting. It is no surprise to them because they chose their gift. Yet, we think receiving the gift on their special event day is going to say the unspoken things that should be said.
Flowers Alone Do Not Say Anything
I am as human of a guy as they come. I have blown it along the way in doing dumb things or not doing the right things in my marriage. And, while I give flowers to my wife at random and special occasions, when you make a mistake, flowers are the best white flag you can bring home with you.
But you must always accompany those flowers with a meaningful and sincere note of apology. I found the perfect card one time at the florist. It showed a man in the doghouse. That’s where I was and so I wrote my message on this card to say I was sorry to my wife. She received the flowers; the note elicited a smile from her, and all was forgiven.
Jim Rohn, business philosopher and speaker, once said, “It’s okay to send flowers, but don’t let the flowers do all the talking. Flowers have a limited vocabulary. About the best flowers can say is that you remembered. But your words tell the rest.”
Communicate Recognition To Every Gift Recipient
It is exactly the same as a milestone anniversary gift or a special award gift. The gift says that your organization remembered. But no other message is conveyed.
Make the time to write a careful message of thanks and appreciation on a note card or on the gift tag. Tell the person how much you appreciate and value them. Let them know the thoughts of their peers. Share how much their work means to the company. Acknowledge and spell out all the contributions they have made.
The gift itself cannot speak. It communicates very little.
Always express your recognition to employees every time you give them a token of appreciation, as well as any tangible gift or award.
This simple act of expressing recognition will double the value of any gift or award that your employees receive.
Add this practice to your checklist if it is not already there.
Recognition Reflection: How do you acknowledge employee contributions when giving them tangible gifts or awards?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.