Sparck and Dark Stories: Stale Peeps and Softball

Anonymous April 15, 2020


Don't Live in the Dark!

Did you know that generic recognition (or lack thereof) is impacting your workplace?  Sneak a peek into what your employees want to say, but aren't... It's shocking!

I work for a large engineering firm.  We work on teams and each team is assigned several projects. It’s a lot of hard work and many late nights.  Since many of our clients aren’t local, there’s a lot of travel involved.  I have a young family at home and it’s hard to be away from them on a regular basis.  I miss a lot of moments.  You know – first steps, baseball games, ballet recitals.  But I earn a good salary and provide for my family.  It often feels like a sacrifice though.

At the end of each quarter our team is evaluated and based upon our ability to meet deadlines and stick to project budgets we are given a performance bonus.  It’s a nice gesture, but it’s the way in which the company goes about splitting it up that I have a problem with.  Each team member is asked to submit a form as part of the performance review stating why we think we deserve a piece of the bonus.  Based upon those forms, upper management splits up the performance bonus.  I’m not very good at lumping praise upon myself.  It’s not how I was raised, and I like to give credit to all of those involved in a project. It’s just the way I am. 

Unfortunately, this means that I often receive less than what my other team members receive, but it’s not all about the money.  We typically receive our bonus for the first quarter in April.  One morning I came into the office to find an Easter basket on my desk. Inside was a box of Peeps and some plastic eggs filled with chocolate candy.  There was an envelope too, which held my performance check.  To say I was disappointed is the understatement of the century.  It was more insulting than anything.  If this is really how much my work is valued, maybe I’d be better off somewhere else.  I get that they have good intentions, but in all honesty a heartfelt thank you note would mean so much more than a few dollars and some stale candy.


Live in the Light!

When the recognition experience is personalized and meaningful, employees feel seen.  Learn from each unique story to elevate your employee experience.

Not long before Easter, I was called into the CEO’s office.  I work at a large company.  It’s not every day that the CEO asks to meet with you one-on-one.  He asked me how things were going, and I told him where things stood with an upcoming proposal, but he stopped me mid-sentence and said he wasn’t asking about the project, he was asking about me.  He asked how my daughter was doing in Softball – I didn’t even know he knew I had a daughter, let alone that she captained her Softball team! She really loves sports. He wanted to know how I felt things in the office were going and if there was any room for improvement.  We spent about 45 minutes talking and he was genuinely interested in me and everything I had to say.  He didn’t scan his emails or look distracted.  As the week went on, each of my colleagues met with him.

A week later, I came into the office to find a small Easter basket on my desk. Everyone had one.  Inside I found a gift card for a sporting goods store with my daughter’s name on it, my favorite chocolate candy and a handwritten note from the CEO:


Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.  I enjoyed getting to know you better.  I saw that your daughter’s softball team made it to the state tournament.  Please congratulate her.  I know how important the tournament is, so I want to give you extra PTO so that you don’t miss any of her games.  I’ve already talked to your manager and if you need more, please let her know. You’ve worked so hard and you deserve it.  Thank you for your candid insight into the company.  I really like your ideas to build a more collaborative environment within the office.  Would you be willing to take the lead on that?  If so, I’d love to arrange a meeting with our senior management to discuss it in a bit more detail.

Thank you again, Jane.  Keep up the great work and go Tigers!

-       Patrick”

I’ve never felt so appreciated in my life!



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