Ways to Say Thank You

24 Aug

You know what I don’t understand? Corporate awards.

WINNING

I’m not talking about awarding people for their dedication or a job well done. I’m talking about the awards themselves: the plaques, the pyramids, the granite slabs, the crystal flames. Not all of them are completely wretched. For my company’s 40th anniversary last year, each employee received a blue glass globe the size of your fist. It’s decently pretty, and quite handy as a paperweight or for chucking at cold-call solicitors.* But then of course, we didn’t have to do anything to get one. It makes a lot less sense in the context of say, a service award. Call me crazy, but I think thirty years of dedication to one company deserves more than a glass clock.

Sometimes I try to imagine the dawn of the corporate award. Some executives are sitting around a table saying, “Steve’s worked so hard this year. He’s brought in more accounts than anyone else on the team. What can we give to him so that he feels really appreciated—I’ve got it! An acrylic block with our company name on it!”

OK. I know that what is otherwise a normal object is endowed with meaning as a symbolic representation of the works or service being awarded blah blah blah. All I’m saying is that there are better ways to show your gratitude. At the very least something useful—like a bottle opener for the six pack we’ll be drinking when it sets in exactly how much of our life has been spent in that cubicle. Other ideas:

A gift card to Kroger?

An extra day/week/month of paid leave?

The actual cash you paid for that engraved crystal bowl?

A build-your-own-sundae party? At Harry Potter World? OK, maybe that one’s just me.

Company owners, I charge you to get a little more creative with your awards. Think outside the brass-topped glass box. Wouldn’t it be neat to have a break from the forced enthusiasm at the yearly award luncheon?

*Total disclosure: I picked out those globes.

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