Practicing recognition and building a culture is like making a trifle.

How a Chocolate Trifle Makes Your Recognition and Culture-Building Better

Have you ever eaten a chocolate trifle?

It is perhaps the most tantalizing dessert on the face of the Earth. A tall, wide bowl holds layer upon layer of deliciousness. My wife makes a chocolate trifle that is layered from bottom to top like this:

  • Brownie
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Vanilla pound cake
  • Crushed Oreo cookie
  • More brownie
  • More Oreo cookie
  • Tons of whipped cream
  • Chocolate sprinkles

The layers inter-mix, the complementing tastes, and textures combine to create a mouth-watering treat that is unrivaled. It is rich, sweet, bitter, crunchy, chewy, and smooth all at once. Yum-O.

Think of structuring a recognition and culture-building program like making a trifle. Each layer builds on top of the next to create a bowl of awesome. Alone, the layer of brownies is good, but combined with all the other layers, the brownie becomes a damn miracle to the taste buds – better than any other dessert in the entire world.

The way that you lace together the various layers in your recognition program is what makes your program yours. There is no right or wrong way to order the layers. The important thing is that the layers are assembled intentionally.

After we established our core purpose and values, we created our own Crystal D trifle of recognition and culture-building. From bottom to top:

  • Peer-Recognition Program (Value Champions): occurs once a year
  • Years of Service Recognition: occurs once a year
  • Peer-Recognition: occurs four times a year
  • Values Breaks: occurs four times a year
  • Community Outreach Events: occurs four times a year
  • Company Meetings: occurs twelve times a year
  • Winter Holiday Party: occurs once a year
  • Spring BBQ: occurs once a year

Each one of these layers has their place, repeating each year and establishing a rhythm or heartbeat to our life at Crystal D.  Together, these layers create a level of amazing only surpassed by the chocolate trifle itself.

Chocolate Trifle GraphicThere are a number of so-called “experts” in the recognition industry. Most of them have an angle of some sort. They tend to gravitate towards a belief in one certain type of recognition and promote that as “the best way” to do recognition. For example, the gift card people say gift cards are the only way to go, while the catalog people say that winners should be able to choose their award from a catalog of pre-selected merchandise.

My allegiance lies in symbolic recognition awards. Symbolic awards kick ass and give the winner the feeling of honor they deserve, especially when combined with a red-carpet presentation.

In the next few posts, I could share the intricacies of my bias.

But I won’t.

Instead, I will share what the experts won’t tell you. I will give you the honest truth about some of the most important aspects of leading a recognition effort. Then I will let you figure out the best recognition vibe for your organization, department, or situation.

Thank you so much for reading Our Story. I hope you’ll keep reading my next series which is called “What the Experts Don’t Want You To Know.”


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