Pharmacy U

Do you have what it takes to be a pharmacy “leader”? Part 7 – Throw out your employee recognition program!

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by George Anastasopoulos



“We just completed an employee engagement survey because we really want our people to feel like they belong, can do good work, serve patients well, and be happy.”


“And what did you discover?” I ask. “Well apparently our people don’t feel particularly valued or appreciated. George, can you suggest some good employee recognition programs?”


Not the first time I’ve been asked that question. “Close your eyes and point” will make for an easy choice because it’s a long menu to choose from. How about a plaque for employee of the month, or offer up the best parking spots to your top performers this week, or give $25 Tim Hortons gift cards to the first meaningful accomplishment today, or how about picking a few folks and doing a short write-up in your upcoming company communique? And the list goes on.


The worst part about it… employees know that’s it’s just a management reaction to make them happy because they said they weren’t.


How typical, and worse, ineffective. Managers are confronted with some poor numbers and they head straight to fixing the numbers – even when the numbers are about people, and about how people feel. When will managers learn to stop dealing with issues and start dealing with people? Here’s today’s tip so you do less, accomplish more and make a difference:


Managers create employee recognition programs


Leaders appreciate individuals


Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth – that would be the 1980s – Ken Blanchard wrote The One-Minute Manager with a profoundly simple idea: catch someone doing something right. That’s right, acknowledging and appreciating someone for doing something right, right away. Well, it’s a 40-year-old idea and more relevant, needed and appreciated (pun intended) today.


Here’s a simple way to shift your approach so you do less, accomplish more and make a difference:


  1. Right now, look around you and spot someone doing something right. Could be serving a patient, completing a request, communicating something… anything will do. It doesn’t have to be profound or atom-splitting in its significance, just something done right.
  2. Go to that person and tell them you appreciate them. You could say “thank you for…” or “I appreciate that you…” or “I appreciate your…” or anything that sounds like you.
  3. It’s possible they’ll be speechless, surprised, embarrassed, or similar. Merely smile, nod and go back to your own duties.
  4. Repeat this process 3 times with others in the next hour.
  5. Repeat this process once per hour every day for a week.


So, I ask you; do you really want to go to all that trouble to build, communicate, manage and administer an employee recognition program that probably won’t have any effect? If you do; go ahead and do more. But I’m betting you don’t. So, do your homework, including all of the points above, and within a week I guarantee you’ll experience a difference.


When that happens, reach out to me and tell me about it so we can publish and share your winning practices to benefit your brothers and sisters in the pharmacy profession.




Better still, reach out to me and in a half hour I’ll coach you to make sure it does.

George Anastasopoulos’s passion is to equip and support his clients to transform from managers to leaders, to do less, accomplish more and make a difference. George has taught at the University of Toronto and Schulich Executive Education Centre. He is a credentialed coach with the International Coach Federation, a certified sales leader with the Canadian Professional Sales Association, and certified analyst with Thomas International on a variety of their assessment tools. George is also a veteran business operator with a 20-year corporate career in senior sales, marketing, and general management roles. Most of his clients are senior managers, executives and business owners across a variety of industries.

Read the rest of the leadership series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6