Jul 16, 2012

Employee Recognition: The Beauty of a "Shout Out" —Entrepreneur Addiction #46

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Most people I know are proud of what they do and really want to do a good job. I’ve met very few people who have made “I want to be incredibly mediocre!” their battle cry.

Lendio CEO, Brock Blake, takes employee recognition seriously. In fact, he’s fostered an environment where the entire organization is keen to recognize their colleagues. They call it a “Shout Out.”

Each month at a company meeting Brock and the executive team share employee-initiated recognition with the company. “Company culture is very important to performance,” says Brock, “‘Shout Outs’ and recognizing performance are a part of our culture at Lendio.”

Brock and the team suggest a couple of things that make the “Shout Outs” meaningful. Like most things, they aren’t difficult, but they do require some thought:

  1. Make it sincere: Employees will see right through insincere “atta boys!” In fact, they might blow up in your face and generate the opposite result. Thoughtful and sincere praise is always appreciated. Which leads us to number 2.
  2. Make it specific: “Bob, the work you did on that presentation really helped us close the deal. Great job. Thanks for the extra hours you put into making it perfect,” is much more meaningful than, “Great job Bob. You’re the best.” One is thoughtful and the other is casual at best, insincere at the worst. Either way, make your praise or recognition specific or it won’t produce the results you hope for.
  3. Make it public: Public recognition for a job well done is meaningful to colleagues. It gives everyone in the organization the chance to recognize good work. “Public praise,” can be a powerful tool if it’s sincere and specific.

“Shout Outs” work for Lendio because, in addition to being sincere, specific and public, they are generated by colleagues and peers. It doesn’t take an expensive recognition program to start reaping the benefits of calling out exceptional performance, but it does require a willingness to look for positive behavior that can be rewarded. “Recognition is critical to fostering a culture where people feel like they are contributing to something great,” says Blake.

Today’s business climate requires organizations to look to employees to step up and perform at a higher level. “Shout Outs” are just one simple way to encourage it—what are you doing to recognize exceptional performance in your organization?

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About the author

Ty Kiisel
Small business evangelist and veteran of over 30 years in the trenches of Main Street business, Ty makes small business financing and trends accessible in common sense language devoid of the jargon.


  1. I do really agree with the “shout outs” approach in recognizing an employee or by simply saying “Thank You” gives a huge impact to employees morale.

  2. This article brings light to a strategic business tool that is underutilized and can have a huge impact on employee retention, productivity, engagement and profitability.

    I would add the importance of individualizing one’s approach and asking the recipient how they like to be recognized. Some prefer recognition in public, others may like to receive their kudos in private.

    Over the last few years, companies have been asking their people to do more with less so it’s time to pile on the appreciation and praise. Tying recognition to your core values is an effective way to let people know how their job fits in to the bigger picture and the bottom line. Thank on!

  3. I do agree with giving a “Shout Out” to people who deserve them. There is a way to do just that in social media with a company called ShoutOmatic.com where you can give people REAL shout outs and post them to Twitter, Facebook and all social networks, web spaces, blogs and even on paper with an Audio Qr code of the SHout out.

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