The Most Embarrassing Employee Recognition Stories We’ve Heard

2 min read
Feb 26, 2015

iStock_000002619379_SmallSometimes employee recognition makes people feel like they’re on top of the world. But sometimes it makes people want to crawl under a rock.

Everyone knows you have good intentions behind the act—you just missed your mark. So if you’ve ever been embarrassed by your boss, then you’ll know how it feels. But if you haven’t, then take a moment to chuckle over these embarrassing real-life stories.

A Prized Possession

Lindsay Narain, Creative Director at VAUGHAN, recalls her former boss.

“We were at a sample sale in NYC, and we both fell in love with the same belt. Naturally, there was only one left, and she took it. She told me if I landed XYZ account, she would give me the belt. Sure enough, I landed the $1MM++ account, and how was I rewarded? She made a big show of giving me that belt!”

On Thin Ice

Brandi Koskie, Content Strategist at Clover Partners, LLC, hasn’t been unfortunate enough to experience the embarrassment, but one of her former coworkers did.

“During an all-staff meeting, two of our staff were recognized for promotions to group account director. The man received a signed hockey stick from his favorite NHL team as a gift. The woman received a stuffed bunny from a local craft store.”

Wrong Impression

Speaker and author Barry Maher, didn’t want his clients to have the wrong impression of him after his reward.

“My boss posted my picture in the company’s lobby as “Our Number One Salesman.” I spent my career trying to prove to prospects and customers that I was concerned with solving their problems and helping them succeed. That, after all, was why I was the number one salesperson. But with one glance, that picture destroyed all that work: turning me, in their eyes, into someone whose goal was to sell to them rather than someone trying to help them buy what they needed.”

Employee recognition is valuable in the workplace. But first consider the way you’re doing it. Be thoughtful in your recognition methods, and of course, reward equally.

If you have an embarrassing story, share it with us!



The Effects of Employee Recognition & Appreciation Report by TINYpulse


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