Seeing the Full Spectrum of Recognition

By Derek Irvine

Recognize This! — There are people at work whose contributions we might miss. A culture of recognition helps to make sure we don’t.

I came across a recent New York Times Corner Office article with Walt Bettinger. He is the CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation and shared a powerful lesson he learned as an undergraduate student.

He was enrolled in a business course in his senior year and was laser-focused on maintaining a perfect grade point average. It all came down to the final exam, for which he spent a great deal of time studying and memorizing. When the day of the exam came, everyone was handed a single sheet of paper. Here’s how Bettinger recounts what happened next:
“Both sides were blank. And the professor said, ‘I’ve taught you everything I can teach you about business in the last 10 weeks, but the most important message, the most important question, is this: What’s the name of the lady who cleans this building?’ And that had a powerful impact. It was the only test I ever failed, and I got the B I deserved. Her name was Dottie, and I didn’t know Dottie. I’d seen […]

What Happens to Me When You are Recognized?

by Derek Irvine

Research is split on what happens to the motivation of people who see others get recognized. One solution is to simply recognize everyone.

There is quite the interesting debate shaping up among researchers looking into the motivational potential of recognition. The specific question under investigation focuses on the impact that recognition has not on recipients, but on […]


Compensation Cafe: Employee Engagement and Incentives Compensation

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Employees choose to give more and behave in desired ways based on the environment they are being asked to engage in.

Employee Engagement Is Dead! Long Live Employee Engagement!

What sounds like a non-sequitur may not be. Last week on Compensation Cafe I blogged: “Is Employee Engagement Moot in Today’s High Stress Work Environments?” […]


Creating a Culture that Recognizes “Originals”

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! — Recognizing cultural contribution instead of cultural fit is a valuable way to reinforce the contributions of “Originals.”

I recently caught a piece on the Marketplace Morning radio program, interviewing Adam Grant (one of our WorkHuman speakers from 2015!). He was sharing some of the interesting findings from his new book, Originals.

I think like […]


What Type of Realist Are You?

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! — Whether you favor a competitive or humane workplace, or something in between, a culture of recognition can be valuable.

More and more is written these days about the best ways to interact with each other in the workplace. And more and more, very different camps are forming and battle lines being drawn to convince […]


Why You Need to Revisit Maslow

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! — The hierarchy of needs can have a lot of value, but only if we really understand how needs are fulfilled in the workplace.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has staying power. It may often be reduced to an oversimplified pyramid, as I’ve written about before, and has its share of critics, but there is a […]


Why Is that Last Mile Such a Challenge?

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! — Aligning individual behavior to core values can be a challenge, but recognition is one way to win over that last mile.

Those who know transportation logistics or supply chain management are very familiar with the “last mile problem.” Fans of online retailers may also have some personal experience with this challenge: a package is […]


Mapping Out Employee Accountability

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! — Accountability requires a clear mental map for achieving results. Recognition enables everyone to share that same map.

“How do I get my people to be more accountable for results?” is the essential question from a recent post over at Harvard Business Review. It’s the kind of question that usually follows some type of failure […]