Most of the companies I have worked with have had some kind of reward system for a job performed above and beyond the call. I myself during my plant manager days would have a daily stand-up meeting and ask who stepped up today. We can debate reward systems all day long about how to recognize a team member but my question is more basic:

Who are the heroes?

Are they the ones that come running when a crisis hits? I have worked with many hard working individuals that will put in long hours when there is an upset situation. Working nights and weekends just to get the process back on line is always appreciated. I have been in those situations and have always taken time out to show the team what great work was done and who did it. These are obvious but at the same time, are we rewarding the correct behavior?

What about the team member whose process or equipment is spotless and runs for months without any issue? What about the individual or team that does not let a crisis occur in the first place? Where are their rewards?

Let me put up a couple of suggestions that I have implemented or are planning on implementing over the next few weeks:

Pat on the back for those who got the process running

Congratulations to the individual or team that takes the learnings from the crisis and implements changes so that it does not occur again

Thank yous for those eteam members that routinely day in and day out perform excellent work

Hugs to those that document and train the rest of the team to work in a better, more excellent way

Sincere gratitude to those that bring up an issue that will be a crisis if we don’t deal with it quickly and correctly

Finally, a celebration to all of the above for raising the tide of performance across the organization

Now, how you celebrate is probably up to the culture and the team as well as if one type of behavior is more important that another. In my experience, all of these actions are required to move the team forward and whether it is pies to the people or pies in the face of the leaders, either way, it works.