Fist-bump Fireworks and Other Innovative Recognition Practices

by Ben Miele

On Monday, I wrote about scary “recognition” practices that accomplish nothing other than insulting, infuriating or demotivating the unlucky recipient of the “recognition.”

Happily, there are just as many stories of innovative recognition practices that are fun, engaging and develop organically within the culture of the company.

One such example I recently read about in the excellent “Gruntled Employees” blog:

“At Shepherd Law Group, we unintentionally developed a way of recognizing whenever one or more of our lawyers had a successful client outcome. It didn’t matter what it was: winning a discovery motion, landing a new client, settling a case. We would note the successful event by exchanging “fist-bump fireworks.” This was a goofy ritual of exchanging fist bumps followed by a slow descent of wiggling fingers to connote fireworks. This came from a silly but memorable McDonald’s commercial. (I’ve looked all over the web to find it, but was unsuccessful.)

Although we never put this into practice, we could have tracked FBFs — either as a firm or by lawyer — and charted our performance. Naturally, a greater number of FBFs per month or per quarter would be a positive result. This might sounds like a silly performance metric to you. But as the saying goes, “You can manage what you can measure.” Measuring FBFs or other key predictive indicators will help you manage toward having more occasions for them.”

This was part of a bigger story on why billable hours (in law firms) and performance appraisals (more broadly) are failed methods for assessing employee performance. I encourage you to read the entire post, and then dive into what Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce has to say on better ways of assessing employee performance.

“Fist-bump fireworks” may not work in your organization, but something equally unique to your culture may. What are your unique but well loved recognition practices?


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