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Lights, Camera … Recognition!

By James Cronk
audience showing appreciation & recognition by applauding

How do you recognize a great performance?

Well, great performances by great actors and musicians on the stage get instant recognition — applause.

So shouldn’t employees who showcase exemplary performance and initiative get recognition similar to the likes of some of the all-time theatre or rock ‘n’ roll greats? The best performances — whether on stage, in a basketball court, or on a golf course — get recognized, and your employees should too.

As a former actor, I can tell you, I didn’t do it for the money!

When we’re getting our team Powered On, we draw out their performance to be the best it can be.

To do that, we need to motivate! And to motivate, we have to give recognition — and in some cases, even reward. Certain forms of staff recognition awards (like applause for a golf club employee, for one) can come off sounding sarcastic — which is why the right employee rewards program can make all the difference.

Thinking Employee of the Month? Think again.

Trite, tired, and perceived as rotating — or worse, fixed — they can often have the opposite effect. One of the best ways to turn employee recognition programs into motivators instead of negative chatter around the water cooler is to celebrate the act instead of the person.

When we recognize the deed that was performed by the employee, it demonstrates a real-life example of what it means to go above and beyond for our customers.

Celebrating the Act and Showing Staff Appreciation

Consider using two distinct forms of employee recognition to Power On your staff while celebrating their successes and achievements..

Random Employee Recognition Programs

It’s always great to see an employee doing something right. People (including ourselves) love to be acknowledged for their hard work and a job well done. Random Employee Recognition Programs will help turn you into a “good finder”.

What’s a “good finder”?

Reward and staff recognition reinforce the behavior you want to see.

Little treats work well for this.

Fill your pockets with little tokens of appreciation that you can give to an employee when you see something done well. These could include $5 gift cards, mini-chocolates, or even a company pin. It’s not the value of the gift but the thought that counts.

This strengthens the message that we are a sending our employees…it tells them: ”this is what we are looking for”.

The added benefit is that this form of staff recognition requires us to leave our chairs, tour our workspaces with a calculated eye, and connect positively with our employees. When it comes to staff evaluation, even if your staff number are in the hundreds, you’ll already know who’s the most Powered On of your team!

employee receives one of the staff recognition awards

Structured Employee Recognition Programs

When celebrating acts of excellence, it is beneficial to have structured employee recognition programs that allow customers and fellow employees to recognize the hard work of their peers. This type of program allows employees to nominate colleagues who perform a great act of service. You can do this by providing ballots on the counter in the lunchroom, or even by gathering a list of examples that can be celebrated at the end of each month.

Set up a Brag Board and post these for others to see. At the end of the month, you can put all the nominations into a hat and randomly draw a prize for one lucky employee. By posting the act as well as the “actor”, you end up with the best of both worlds: an Employee of the Month, but one that is peer nominated and provides them with something they will value more than their picture on the wall — in a way that nobody can fault.

The Cherry on Top: Consider Adding Other Staff Recognition Ideas, Too

Once you have the above programs mastered, consider adding these other staff recognition ideas as well:

  • Friends and Family Privileges
  • Long-term Service Awards
  • Employee Education opportunities (such as free lessons to learn how to play golf!)

These types of staff recognition awards can be given less often, and to those who consistently give outstanding performances — those performances worthy of a standing ovation from an audience that has been blown away by an outstanding act.

Finally, if you are lucky, after a few years of gathering enough memorable acts of great service performed by your staff, simply mentioning the Ultimate Act will conjure up images to the staff of what they are supposed to do. For example…


Employee recognition is just one of the key HR templates from the Cronk Group Toolbox. We will help you implement proven systems that will ensure results. Follow the link to see a full list of what Powered On tools are available.

Want to learn more about employee recognition? Here 3 of my most popular articles:
Get Powered On this year.
Great service comes from great people.
How to hire Powered On people.




Download and apply these 10 ‘POWER ON’ principles and see immediate improvements in the satisfaction of your staff, your guests and your bottom line!

James Cronk

For the past twenty-five years James Cronk has been helping business owners get themselves, their people and their customers powered on. He uses a unique blend of creativity, experience and proven systems to help golf clubs achieve their goals and increase their profits by improving their systems, their service and their people!
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