Do You Know The People You Are Recognizing?
Posted by Roy Saunderson on Sat, Oct 17, 2020 @ 05:11 PM

When you want to give recognition to your employees, it’s vital to know their recognition preferences. Recognition is mostly an intangible expression of acknowledgment and valuing of an individual or a team, their positive behaviors, personal effort, or contributions. The key is making your recognition very personal. Let’s explore how you can do that.


Your primary focus on giving recognition is the person you are recognizing. It has nothing to do with you; it’s all about the recipient. You want the praise you give to be relevant and real. They need to experience the recognition positively and that they feel it. To do that, you need to look at every element of the recognition experience. In a post I wrote, How To Ask Employees About Their Recognition Preferences, I lay out looking at the specific details around a person’s needs for recognition. Not everyone needs recognition the same amount as another individual, but here are some key points:

  • Find out how often they like to be recognized and what they like being recognized for.
  • Learn things about the timing of recognition and how well you’ve been doing in recognizing people in a timely fashion.
  • Question how they feel with the recognition you have given them so far by asking them and confirming if you are doing it right.
  • Find out who are the most meaningful people the employee likes to receive recognition from. You can investigate how peer-to-peer recognition is going and if interaction from a senior leader is warranted.
  • You may also consider where the best setting is for giving recognition. These days there might be little choice with so many employees working from home, but find out if seeing your face through video conferencing is an essential factor or not, rather than relying on the phone or email.


Sitting down with each of your employees to find out exactly how they like to be recognized can be insightful. It’s important to find out what they like and what they don’t like with recognition. Your goal is to find out and then create a profile of each person’s recommended recognition preferences. You may also learn how well they think you are doing with recognizing them, so take a deep breath and be ready to receive candid feedback!

  • Start by creating a recognition profile for each of your employees. If your corporate recognition program includes it, have your employees complete a personal profile to record birthday and personal anniversaries and other significant life events that they may like recognized.
  • While we don’t expect employees to tell you everything about their lives, it could be beneficial to learn the names of spouses, partners, children, parents, and the other special people in their lives…like pets to build a closer connection to them.
  • Discover their hobbies, interests, favorite TV shows, movies, books they read, and future aspirations.

Diving deeper into a person’s interests and what their world looks like helps you create a persona for the employees and what tokens of recognition would resonate with them the most.

These are just a few ways you can draw upon to personalize the recognition you give people every day. The biggest thing is showing care and concern for your employees, their family, and friends. Be mindful of health struggles and keep on top of these concerns. Your goal is to know the important people in each person’s life and keep informed of the status of everyone’s well-being so that you can show empathy at all times.

Topics: employee recognition

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