Are There Unsung Heroes in Your Workforce? (Hint – It May be IT)

I’m having computer issues today. As I’m sure everyone reading can attest, nothing can destroy your productivity or plan for your day than computer issues.

I’m lucky, though. I work with an incredible IT support team who not only know what they’re doing, but also understand the urgency of “my” issue.

I say “my” issue because I’m fully aware that while fixing my computer issues are my first priority, I’m sure it isn’t the first priority for the IT team. I know they had a list of tasks to accomplish and goals to achieve when they walked in the office door this morning, and fixing my computer wasn’t on it.

Yet, they’ve made my priority their priority as well (and I am deeply grateful). This situation also gives me the opportunity to emphasize a very important element of strategic employee recognition – don’t forget your supporting cast.

Unsung heroes you never hear about

The IT team is fundamentally critical to a well-run organization. Yet, when they are doing their job well, you don’t see or hear them. They keep our systems quietly humming along. Because of this, they are often the unsung heroes of an organization. Today, I’m singing their praises.

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This situation was also reflected back to me in a post from Steve Boese on his HR Technology blog:

We study and ponder and measure and opine about engagement, motivation, performance, blah blah blah. Honestly, it’s all getting kind of boring. Managers and leaders, (and certainly employees), simply remembering that the organization is composed of actual living, breathing, feeling, and caring people, and occasionally acting upon that realization is probably in the long run more important to the success of organizations and our ability to feel like we are doing the right thing with our lives.”

Who are the unsung heroes in your organization? Who understands your priorities and makes them their own?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


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