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Using Lapel Pins to Reward and Recognize

Posted by Pinonda Lapel on Nov 14th 2017

One of the most popular uses for lapel pins is use them to recognize and reward.  As a manager (or business owner, coach, teacher, etc) one of your biggest challenges is to attract, retain and motivate your people to do what you want them to do, without having to micro-manage them.  By keeping your team members moving in the right direction, without using up your valuable time, you'll be able to focus on the things that you need to do.  So how can you accomplish this with lapel pins?

The key thing to remember about lapel pins is that the value they have to the recipient is way more than the price you're paying for them.  That may sound like a self-serving thing to say - but it is really true.  Someone who receives a lapel pin as a reward for something they have done or achieved, will over-value that pin and THAT is why lapel pins are so powerful.  With a relatively small investment, you are able to give someone something that they will value very highly, while at the same time reminding the recipient and those around her of the desirable behavior that you are trying to replicate.  Other people will see the pin, know how the person earned it and alter their behavior so that they can earn a pin in the future.  Now I realize that all sounds very cut and dried, and nothing is that simple - but the principle is 100% accurate and decades of experience prove it works.  The question is - how do you do it?

  1. Decide what it is that you want to reward or recognize.  Maybe you're a professor and know that students who come to class do better than those who don't.  In that case, attendance would be the metric to reward.  Similarly, a company may decide that rewarding employees for longevity reduces training costs.  They may decide to recognize years of service.

  2. Decide how many "levels" of reward you want to create and write down exactly how you'll know if someone has achieved that level.   For example let's say you manage a restaurant.  Maybe you want to recognize waitstaff for extraordinary service with a silverware lapel pin or knowledge of wine with a corkscrew pin.  The staff wear the pins on their aprons for all to see.

    Corkscrew lapel pin

  3. Recognize on a regular schedule and do it publicly.  Hold monthly meetings with your team and publicly recognize those who have performed well.  If possible, call the recipient to the front of the room and physically place the pin on their lapel.  

Colored Stars

Earning lapel pins can be a great source of pride for your team members, while helping you manage them toward success for your organization.  There are a million ways to do it.  If you have any questions or are looking for ideas on how to create a lapel pin recognition program, don't hesitate to call or email

Pinonda