Why recognition is a win-win for everyone


June 3, 2024

From left are Truly Nolen COO Justin Bellet, 2023 Top International Salesperson Brian Harper, Top 2023 U.S. Salesperson Monte Anders, and President Scarlett Nolen. PHOTO: TRULY NOLEN

From left are Truly Nolen COO Justin Bellet, 2023 Top International Salesperson Brian Harper, 2023 Top U.S. Salesperson Monte Anders, and President Scarlett Nolen. PHOTO: TRULY NOLEN

Recognition seems simple enough: “Great job on your work!” However, effective recognition is more than that. It’s what my father, Truly David Nolen, worked to build — a culture of recognition that was deeply ingrained within our company.

In fact, we saw how much this has become a part of our cultural fabric recently during our annual President’s Club cruise, where our top-performing team members were honored and showered with the recognition they deserve and have rightly earned. We introduced a special new award category this year: the Yellow Jacket, honoring the best of the best, which caused emotions to run high in a good way.

It should be noted that while this was a moment to celebrate, there was no tension to grasp tightly onto feelings of recognition like you might see at other award ceremonies. instead, everyone was able to enjoy and relax and celebrate all weekend long. Why? Because recognition is felt year-round, in little moments, consistently. Within our company, as an example, from awards at our annual Manager Meeting and various sales competition awards to “championship belts” for branch sales leaders and our own creation called the Cheesys (for support staff), a little recognition goes a long way!

Recognition is essential to well-being, self-esteem, confidence and preventing burnout, as well as building loyalty and an overall sense of belonging. Progression isn’t always possible in all positions or organizations, nor is it an immediate goal for every team member. However, recognition is a basic, fundamental need that matters more in that regard.

Leaders can be too quick to think about promotions or raises when they should really be thinking daily about how they have given real, true recognition — not only to the work but the value that each and every team member brings to the organization. While they should be thinking beyond the obvious categories — deliverables, sales, etc. — they should also think about things like:

  • Does the team member create a great working environment for everyone else?
  • Do they help motivate others?
  • Do they offer unique ideas or solutions, even if those ideas are not the ones used?

While an employee team member might not be the best performer on standard metrics, they might offer something else that is not measured by those business statistics. A good leader will notice this, and will give recognition, too.

We as human beings crave recognition. The way social media has dominated our lives over the past 20-plus years proves this time and time again. We all want to earn approval from others, whether in the form of likes, awards, gifts, dates, promotions or celebrity. We cannot forget how basic and fundamental this need for recognition is, and how much this drives our motivation.

Recognition in its most basic form provides a nugget of safety, reminding us we belong to a tribe. Indeed, recognition can be stronger than many other traditional motivators, as has been regularly demonstrated in sociological and psychological research. So, as managers and leaders, our job is to hand out as much recognition where it belongs — because unlike other resources, recognition is priceless. It makes us all more confident and happier when there’s more going around.



About the Author

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Scarlett Nolen was promoted to president of Truly Nolen of America in March 2019. Nolen has worked for the company since 2012 in multiple roles. Most recently, Nolen was the district manager for the “Growth District,” a district of new service offices throughout Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Prior to joining the company, Nolen graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Experimental Psychology and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

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