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Ways to Recognize Excellence in the Workplace

Ways to Recognize Excellence in the Workplace

Hello, again! We’re happy to have you back at the Pathway blog and are excited to dive into the specifics of reward and recognition! 

In our last post, we highlighted the importance of reward and recognition and how it can drastically improve the morale and productivity of a work environment. If you missed it, make sure to head back and get refreshed, as we touch on different types of reward and recognition, and outline some of the different “generational motivators” to be on the lookout for as you plan rewards. 

Today, we’ve got some tried-and-true methods of reward and recognition that work well in work environments. Each of these options will hold different levels of appeal to different people, so make sure you have a solid understanding of your team, its varying demographics, and what each team member responds well to in terms of recognition. 

“Shining Star” or “Spotlight” Awards

As part of your recognition plan, we recommend tracking instances in which you hear about one of your staff members going above and beyond. That person then gets recognized during the monthly staff meeting as the “Shining Star” (or whatever you want to name it) and receives a reward of some kind. Gift cards are an easy monetary option, while simple public recognition can also work well!

Group Recognition

At department or morning meetings, keep a standing agenda item for recognition. This is a really wonderful opportunity for staff to speak up, call each other out (positively!), and thank their peers for the great things they do.

Staff-Involved Thank-You Notes

Recognition doesn’t have to stay strictly within your department or area! Try bringing thank-you notes to staff meetings, and ask your team to recognize individuals outside of your department who have done something great. This could be a person who works outside of your immediate area, but within your building who was especially helpful, or anyone your team appreciates! Have someone write a quick thank-you and send the card around for all staff to sign.

This act reminds your own staff to be thankful for others, and to remember to be “onstage,” knowing that others will see the good they do, too!

Write Thank You Notes to Your Team Members

There are many different types of rewards, but sometimes a heartfelt thank-you card is just what the doctor ordered! Consider adding a “thank-you rotation” to your weekly to-do list. All it takes is a few minutes each week to write a thank-you note to one of your staff members. This simple act can do a lot to boost morale. 

As you write, remember an effective thank-you note has 5 important elements and is: generous, specific, prompt, succinct, and personal.

Service Project

Find a volunteer event or service project in which staff can participate (i.e. serve dinner together at a homeless shelter) to remind everyone what they are thankful for in their own lives. This also serves as a powerful reminder that they are part of a kind, empathetic, and service-driven team!

Adopt a Family or Cause

Philanthropy can be very effective in bringing a team together! Ask your Foundation to find a family during the holidays and purchase wish list items. (Many service organizations like the S.A.F.E Center in Kearney, Nebraska provide lists for specific families or guidance on what items are most needed.) Divide all the requested items up and distribute them to those who want to participate. Those who don’t buy items can help wrap!

Gift a Family Movie Night

Providing a team member with everything they need for a fun movie night at home is a refreshingly different way to show recognition! 

For example, RedBox sells movie codes that are easy to purchase for each staff member. Put the code in a goodie bag with a bag of microwave popcorn and a box of candy so your staff members can enjoy a movie night at home with their family or friends!

Potluck at the Park

Getting everyone together over a delicious meal is a time-tested way to lift spirits and boost camaraderie. Decide on a day and reserve a shelter at your local park. Have everyone bring a potluck item (management can provide pulled pork, hotdogs, or burgers, and have staff bring sides, plates,  drinks, etc.). Staff can bring their families and use the playground, or bring games like bocce, bean bag toss, croquet, volleyball, etc. 

After-Hours Events

Whether you’re reserving a few lanes at the local bowling alley or booking the private room at your company’s favorite restaurant or bar, an excuse to get everyone together in a relaxing environment with good food and drinks is a dependable way to reward your organization for a continued job well done!

Your team is your greatest asset! 

Remember: A happy team that feels satisfied, challenged, and valued is ultimately one that is more productive. A deliberate, genuine effort to recognize and reward each individual on your team for their unique efforts is not just a nice thing to do, it’s a powerful tool for success!