Lucky you! You have employees who are going above and beyond to do great work. You’re proud of the successes they’ve achieved, and you’re ready to show that appreciation.
The way you honor these standout accomplishments makes all the difference in how appreciated the honoree feels — and whether you inspire more great work. At Trophyology, we call it The Art of Recognition. It doesn’t take a big budget, just a willingness to devote some time and effort to personal, thoughtful recognition.
Before you can give a recognition the employee values, you have to know what he or she holds dear. Throwing a spontaneous afternoon celebration and a handwritten letter of appreciation are both wonderful ways to say thank you, but they could appeal to very different kinds of people. What will your honoree treasure over time? Will she savor the memory of recognition in front of her colleagues, or would she rather have some inspiring words on paper she can refer back to again and again? Take the time to find out.
If you’re honoring a team accomplishment, also invest some time to learn about each team member’s contribution. Keep rewards fair and proportional. Giving the same recognition to all can actually be demotivating to those who did the most work while others got by with less.
Before you dash off a “great job!” email, remember that your honoree will value any recognition more if you put more effort into it and you make it more specific to him. A handwritten thank-you note will trump any email of thanks, especially now that we do so much communicating electronically. A company dinner party with families will trump the gift certificate to a restaurant. An exquisitely designed and artisan-crafted award will trump the predictable trophy that barely differentiates itself from the ones we received in childhood.
Why do all of this? If we invest personally in the Art of Recognition, we inspire in return a solid, personal investment from the people who work with and for us. We strengthen relationships, and those relationships make our work lives richer. We believe in thoughtful, personalized, and high-quality recognitions that are just as exceptional as the accomplishments being honored. This kind of recognition will inspire employees to engage passionately with their work, benefiting their personal growth as well as the greater goals of an organization — and that’s the ultimate recipe for business success.
The Art of Recognition: Five of Our Favorite Ways to Say Thank You.
- Handwritten thank-you note
- Letter to family of person who went the extra mile
- Spontaneous lunch or afternoon celebration
- Company dinner with families
- Heirloom-quality, hand-crafted recognition award