The 3 Rs of Recognition Done Right: Repeat: The 3rd R but the Number 1 Killer

In this 3 part series, we’ll be taking you through the pillars of employee recognition broken down into 3 key focus points: Realize :: Recognize :: Repeat.

The Third R: Repeat

“Of course motivation is not permanent. Then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” —Zig Ziglar

In this final installment of our 3-part series, we promised to reveal the #1 pitfall of most recognition programs, and we’ll get to that. You’ve already read both articles leading up to this one. Your interest in growing, learning, and becoming better leaders is what engagement is all about.

Engaged team members don’t exist without engaged leaders cheering them on and leading by example, so “Thank you!” for contributing to a more committed and efficient workforce in the USA! In the first two installments, we discussed how to first properly Realize your team’s goals, then Recognize the team members that contributed the most to reaching those goals.

So… what now?



Keep your monthly recognition program monthly and look for reasons to recognize team members every single day in between.

It’s the long game that counts here. One excellent 40-yard putt will not win you the engagement game forever, nor will a single, yet glorious hole in one. It takes consistency. Period. And that consistency always pays off in spades.

Did you know? A Gallup study revealed that to keep your team members engaged (especially “Millennials!”) it’s best to recognize them individually every 7-10 days for their jobs well done.

And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the #1 destroyer of most recognition programs is — drumroll, please — Bzzzzzzzz …… CONSISTENCY!!

If you don’t CONSISTENTLY recognize your team members:

  • They won’t make a consistent effort
  • They won’t think the recognition is important to you, so it won’t be that important to them
  • They won’t feel significant and will be less likely to be loyal to your team
  • They might not even know there is a recognition program in place and certainly won’t know what it’s for (i.e. your business’s goals that should be tied to the recognition program- see The 1st “R”)
  • Recognition won’t have the same impact if it’s 3 or more months later. Studies have proven that monthly recognition is 400% more effective than a quarterly approach (for all the reasons we are discussing here, and beyond).
  • Saving the worst for last: recognition, praise, and continuous improvement will not become a part of your team’s culture.

Creating a warm and fuzzy feeling for a few minutes when awarding your team can have some positive effects for a while, but that “new car smell” will wear off quickly if your recognition program isn’t executed properly.

The benefits of permanently incorporating praise and continuous improvement into your team’s culture are incomparable to any other approach.

Otherwise, you find yourself looking for the next recognition “flavor of the week” to seemingly appease your team…then that “new car smell” wears off again…repeat (and not the good kind).

Always be thinking of ways your leadership team can improve the process of selecting winners, presenting awards, and painting a clear target for your team to hit. New initiatives are launched all the time. Are you re-aligning your recognition program to match your company’s new initiatives and goals? You should be.

“TRAIN, PRUNE, REPEAT” – CEO David Long from his bestselling book, Built to Lead

This practice is crucial to your team’s overall success, and to your success as a manager.Find the team members who aren’t being recognized, figure out why, and “invest the necessary time and effort to help them improve.”

The good news? If you’ve already taken the time to Realize your team’s goals, then you’ve already created a roadmap! And as Zig Ziglar said, “a goal properly set is halfway reached.” Now make sure everyone has the skills and tools they need to accomplish these goals.

Recognition programs are not solely about identifying top performers, though consistently using rewards and praise correctly will certainly help detect and cultivate your company’s future leaders. Recognition programs should also clearly define the path to success for everyone on the team, especially that middle group of employees that are susceptible to influence either in a positive way towards engagement or negatively towards actively disengaged behavior.

Final thoughts:

When a recognition program gets behind or completely falls through the cracks, often that is just a symptom of the real problem. Avoid most issues that can arise when recognizing your team members by following the steps that we laid out in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

Set yourself and your team up for success by continuously Realizing relevant goals, genuinely Recognizing your team members in an appropriate setting, and Repeating the process in a timely fashion.

The 3 R’s of Recognition Done Right (Click on each to learn more)




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