Recognizing Your Employees

“Recognizing employees is not simply a nice thing to do. It is an effective way to communicate your appreciation for the efforts and successes of others, while also reinforcing those actions and behaviors that make a difference in your organization” . . . a point made by Mallary Tytel – President and Founder of Healthy Workplaces.

Let’s face it, we all like to be recognized for our efforts. Some like a “BIG to do” and others like a simple “Thank you.” Whatever the case, employees like to be acknowledged and shown they are appreciated.

Here are some ideas for you to incorporate into your recognition plan:

Employee pictures in printed advertising materials and television commercials: Federal court employees were recognized for leadership, excellence in court operations, and extraordinary actions.  Each employees picture and a descriptive paragraph of their efforts appeared in “The Third Branch” newsletter of the federal courts.

Putting employee pictures in your print materials allows them to share it with family and friends.

Appreciation lunch: Instead of having a normal catered lunch or going to your cafeteria, why not have the management team serve lunch to the employees to show their appreciation.  This can also be done serving ice cream sundaes to employees in the afternoon as a nice stress reliever.

Years of Service Recognition: When an employee reaches a milestone year of service with the company (5yr, 10yr, etc.) recognize them for their efforts. Have peers or other leaders that worked with the employee attend the event and provide comments. 

Have a cake, invite their family in and when you acknowledge them, personalize your message:

• What were the company revenues when they first joined?

• What was the first role they occupied?

• How has the employee progressed throughout the company?

• Any key initiatives that the employee was involved with?

• What was going on in the world when the employee first began with your company?

If you’re going to roast them during the years of service recognition, make sure that they are okay and all stories are appropriate for the occasion.

Team outing: Recognize the team for their accomplishments and take them out for a team outing. Bowling and lunch is a cheap outing. Everyone thrives on a little competition and bowling is an activity that everyone can enjoy (even if you have to put up the bumpers in the lane).

No meeting Fridays: Some employees spend enough time meeting about the meeting and what we plan to do in the next meeting. Give time back to your employees on Fridays and have a rule of no meetings.

Early close/ early leave in the summer: If your company can do so, why not let employees leave one hour early every Friday during the summer (May - Labor Day).

Do their job for a day: You recognized that they have done something above and beyond, but what better way to understand what they do than by doing their job for a day.

“Employee recognition is not just a nice thing to do for people.  Employee recognition is a communication tool that reinforces and rewards the most important outcomes people create for your business” – Susan M. Heathfield of

Employers, what are your peers doing in your industry to recognize their employees?