5 Best Ways to Give Recognition

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Recognition is key to keeping teams motivated and giving individuals a sense of appreciation. Employee recognition, coworker appreciation, and volunteer awards in non-profits are all essential activities in these groups. Whatever the organization, everyone wins when hard work is clearly valued.

  1. Make the recognition meaningful and tied to valued activities. If it’s an award for “Best Funny Face in the Annual Company Photo,” the appreciation for contributions to the group is not really there. Awards and recognition are better used for encouraging excellence. The best way to do this is to be specific. Employee of the Month is a common recognition, but “Highest Sales,” or “Most Signups” are more specific and easier to measure. Being specific also allows more kinds of recognition for more members of the group, which can encourage different valued activities.
  2. Be sincere. If the recognition feels like an obligation or a formality, everyone will eat their cake and look at their watches, with a feeling that everyone’s time is being wasted. Authenticity is as important as an award, because it motivates beyond whatever is being given.
  3. Tailor the recognition to the individual. If it’s possible to give an award that reflects the recipient’s individual tastes, such as a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, that’s ideal. Personalization shows that you care and that you value their time. If nothing else, don’t give a generic “thanks for your hard work” talk.
  4. Ensure that the recognition is seen by the whole group, in some sort of official gathering. Just putting a plaque on a wall and mentioning it as an agenda item takes the value out of the whole thing and can even make it seem more contrived and insincere than if nothing was done at all! The gathering doesn’t have to be stuffy and boring, but it should have its own time and place scheduled, to make it special. A pizza party can be great, for example.
  5. Make the difference the recipient made the focus of the gathering. If it’s simply saying that the point of sale system showed associate Jane had the highest numbers, it’s not really personal. Make it clear what Associate Jane was doing that was so exceptional.