While my blog last week was about the “Ring of Fire,” this week is about a “Ring of Honor.” Memorial Day is a time to acknowledge those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our freedom.
As I was thinking about it, an idea I had several years ago resurfaced. When I was working in local government, we like so many others do/did, celebrated the service milestones for employees who reached 1, 5, 10 years of service with our organization. We would present each of them a commemorative pin at an employee ceremony, and for those who reached 20 years, we presented them with a rather hearty group of goodies. For those who retired from our organization, we’d hold the conventional lunch and present him or her the typical watch, say our good-byes and that was that.
But it left me thinking we could do more to really distinguish those who simply showed up and put in their time for 20 or 30 years and those passionate people who chose to invest their effort with our organization for a time being, and we were a better place for having had them work with us.
While a number of sports teams will retire the number for one of their past heroes, other organizations really don’t do the equivalent. What if your organization started a “Ring of Honor” to acknowledge those dedicated folks who made a significant impact on your organization, not just for those who retire from your workplace? What if you had a special place in your offices, maybe where your governing body meets, to retire the uniform of that Police Officer or Maintenance Worker who served everyday like it was his first and last, leaving nothing to chance and committing his/her energy to making your community a better place? Money in the form of salaries and wages only go so far, and same with benefits. Right now, you have the opportunity to hit the “reset” button and establish new traditions and creating a “Ring of Honor” is the perfect launch pad.
There will be those who say “we’ll if we can’t do for everybody, we can’t do for it anybody.” Advise those people, probably from the HR Department (I’m a former HR Director, and know many terrific HR folks, but they must move past this dinosaur notion), that you can’t build something special around the lowest common denominator, and the “Ring of Honor” shall be not diluted with the peanut butter approach to employee recognition.
Today, each of us want to matter more than ever and so many people in government organizations “bring it everyday” with their heart, soul and passion and it is for those the “Ring of Honor” will be the ultimate achievement. Think about it and let’s continue our journey in getting better all the time.