It’s great to announce milestones when employees achieve certain number of years. However, if you’re going to do this verbally, it’s important to find out from the person, or their manager, how to pronounce their name.
It’s not acceptable for a CEO or other executive to claim they are honoring someone, but to say “I’m sorry I don’t know how to pronounce these.” If some of the names are really too tough, it’s fine to send out a list via email, and maybe a temporary blurb on the company page. Even having someone else read the list who can pronounce names is acceptable.
Also, if your company is a conglomerate, it’s not okay for the executive to announce only people in the business unit that promoted them, when it’s a call for the entire company. The list really needs to be complete for the audience selected. It is entirely acceptable to thank only a specific unit when only addressing that unit. It’s entirely acceptable to put a list up somewhere and ask people to review it, as long as they are given access and time.
Further, communication really needs to be targeted. If you have several business units, do not spam XYZ with things only related to PDQ, and vice versa. Technical people for one product do not need, and do not want, sales information for other, mostly unrelated products. On the same token, Sales people do not want, nor do they need, in-depth details about technical matters.
Lastly, when concerns about respect are brought up, it’s important to directly address them. Do not put them off to a later date, or assume they are okay. Put the issue on a list, and put follow up dates on your calendar. Make sure you understand the issue, and that it’s been resolved. Usually, it’s simply a communication error, or sometimes it’s a cultural difference.
Remember, honor and respect are key components. These little things are the pillars of any company. If their expression is hollow or incomplete, then what does that say about the foundation of your business?