Some great comments today.
We had, for just a short time thank God, a second level manager (e.g. 'middle management') that would grab the appropriate first line manager and come into some lucky employee's cubicle holding a 'Certificate of Appreciation' and wearing a smile like those Publishers Clearinghouse guys. He would talk with his voice raised (so the other employees would have their moral improved, I suppose) and praise the recipient's hard work, shake hands, then leave his worthless certificate behind. I heard many suggestions as to what could be done with that particular piece of paper.
Dilbert's company could never afford to pay their CEO, CFO, CIO, president, vice president, and other executives doing very important work their exorbitant salaries and still pay shareholders a dividend if they rewarded their run-of-the-mill engineers with money.
Sounds like any of the online evaluation system the DoD has made me use. Each version of pay banding and its evaluation system gets worse - both in the rules of the system and the evaluation tools. Supposed to be pay for performance but is much closer to pay for butt kissing.
With sequestration we can't get any awards anymore. Even time off awards are no more since they relate back to money (i.e. someone pays for those hours).