With so many ways to recognize people for their contributions, we need to mix it up. Avoid getting stale and keep it engaging. As effective as it can be, this might go beyond a simple “thank you.” There are many ways to recognize people. You will find many ideas laid-out below.
General Approaches to Ensure Effective Recognition
- Be timely–Recognition that has the most impact is timely and comes in close proximity to when the performance happened.
- Be specific–Share specifics related to the accomplishment by telling the person what was done and why it was effective.
- Link the recognition–Mention the specific performance or behavior that you want to reinforce. It is important that people know why they are being recognized.
- Avoid multi-tasking when you talk with employees–Especially when the discussion is about their accomplishments and contributions.
- Make recognition a set agenda topic–Place recognition on the schedule during team meetings. Make sure the recognition is meaningful or it will start to have no meaning.
- Reward effort as well as success–Not everything is successful. Reward people for the obstacles and barriers they overcame or fought against.
Oh, Let Me Count the Ways to Recognize
- Leverage the customer–If a customer says something good to you about your employees or a project. Invite them to share in-person or remotely with your team, particularly the people involved.
- Utilize social networks–Post recognition on social networks. Before you use an outside site, check first to make sure it is company approved.
- Grab It–Start building a supply of token gifts, such as candy bars, protein bars, etc. Place them in a box, or grab bag. When you recognize someone, let the person reach in and grab something, sight unseen. Add to the fun by mixing in coupons. For example, give coupons for a free lunch, or one item from the vending machine. If it works in the environment, you might even be able to wrangle a coupon for the parking space next to the door, or an opportunity to leave the facility an hour early.
- Match the reward–The significance of the achievement should match the reward. The larger the accomplishment, the more significant the reward should be.
- Make the recognition public–If others can learn from the accomplishments, or the employee would feel a greater impact from sharing the recognition publicly, by all means, don’t keep it a secret.
- Chalk It Up–On a chalkboard, white board, parking lot, or driveway, write a message of appreciation.
- Flip It Up–Write a thank you on a flip chart paper. Post it in the hall or on the person’s car.
- Snack out–Supply the team with healthy snacks and juices for a week.
- Get Symbolic—Find something that has meaning within the group to pass around. Use a super-hero for the person who really came through on a project. Or the “rock” for a person who has been impeccably dependable.
- Make them laugh–Support a local artist or an art student by asking that person to draw caricatures of your employees during their break/lunch hour and display them in your facility.
- Create a traveling trophy— Select an unusual item to use as a recognition award. The person recognized can display the trophy for a select period of time. Or the awardee can recognize someone within the team and pass it on. Consider an item that each recipient can autograph before it travels on.
- Write a thank you note–Deliver this note to your employees’ spouse or children.
- Spread the news–Place employee recognitions on your intranet. Share the news with higher-level leaders, or in a team management meeting. Arrange for your team or a member of your team to present an innovation or continuous improvement idea that has worked in your area to other facilities.
- Perform a service–Take somebody’s laundry to the dry cleaners or wash the employee’s car in the parking lot.
- Gift it–Create a basket linked to an individual’s interest. For example, if a person like to garden, create a basket with some gardening tools, a gardening book or magazine. If the employee likes to fish, put in a thermos, some fishing lures, etc.
- Swap a task–Do another employees duties for a day. Let him or her decide.
- Nominate the employee— Pick various employees for either a company or community award.
- Provide points–Set goals for employees. If an employee reaches a goal, let them turn in their accumulated points for prizes or awards.
- Create a space–Create a celebration board in the break room or team area. Post recognitions and thank-you notes. At a periodic meeting, count how many notes are on the celebration board.
- Take the person into consideration–Don’t give a book to someone who doesn’t like to read. Avoid public recognition for someone who tends to get embarrassed. Tailor your form of recognition to meet the individual’s needs.