Making Recognition Memorable

Posted by Melissa Meunier on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 @ 11:00 AM


Recognition opportunities are abundant and come in many shapes and sizes. Whether big or small, recognizing excellent performance or acknowledging an achievement is the best way to encourage more of the same in the future. 

When an individual’s career, performance or social achievements are recognized, they are motivated to continue performing well. With just a little practice and a few tips, you can make recognition memorable through personalized and engaging moments.

Here's how you can make recognition memorable:


Did you know that there are more than 22 million workers - in the United States alone - who are extremely negative or “ACTIVELY DISENGAGED and this costs the U.S. economy between $450 and $550 billion every year in LOST PRODUCTIVITY alone?

Recognize the Effects:
  • Recognition is infectious and self-reinforcing.
  • When recognition takes place, the response can only be positive.
  • A culture strong in recognition is one where all employees will flourish.


You can always come up with a reason for not recognizing an individual, but what is the result? Not recognizing someone can have an adverse effect on him or her and, in the long run, the company. Using positive reinforcement and recognition can keep individuals happy, productive members of the team…and that contributes to the bottom line.

Recognize what you can do:
  • MAKE TIME: Not all recognition moments call for planning; don’t forget to recognize in the moment when an employee merits it. 
  • PREPARE AND PRACTICE: Ask how an employee wants to be recognized (in a group or one-on-one). Then become familiar with what you want to say and how you want to say it.
  • GROUP RECOGNITION: When more than one person makes a contribution, take the time to recognize the team’s accomplishments, as well as the individuals. 


Knowing when to recognize someone and what to acknowledge them for is half the battle. Years ago, recognition meant only celebrating the big accomplishments. Today that still exists, but take a fresh approach; include and celebrate the small achievements along the way, they are just as important and contribute to the larger goal. 

Recognize when you see:

  • Individuals going “ABOVE AND BEYOND” their average work output.
  • Employees who have significantly IMPROVED PERFORMANCE either after a coaching or disciplinary  action or by his/her efforts.
  • Employees who haven’t done anything outstanding, but meet all the organization’s expectations over a long period and SHOWS CONSISTENCY.
  • Individuals that are POSITIVELY DISPLAYING particular company BEHAVIORS.
  • Groups of individuals WORKING TOGETHER as a team and contributing to the mission, vision or goals.
Effective Recognition is:
  • PERFECTLY TIMED - Don’t plan a presentation for the end of the day; it may be viewed as unappreciated or forgotten. Suggestion: Try mid-morning, before lunch or have a luncheon if applicable.
  • GENUINE AND SPECIFIC - Use descriptive terms indicating the observed behaviors and how they relate to positive outcomes. Examples; Thank you for your contributions to the ABC project / Your willingness to get the job done and help your peers had a significant impact on us completing the task ahead of schedule.
  • PERSONALIZED - Know your employee; tailor the recognition to their personality and make the moment proportionate to the behavior being recognized. Suggestions: Ask the employee how they want to be recognized / share a funny story during the presentation / ask a co-worker to be involved and personalize the script; acknowledge the employee’s contributions and efforts.  


How you tell someone that you notice and appreciate his or her good performance increases the probability that the good performance will continue. From the words you choose to where the moment takes place, you will set the stage for a memorable recognition experience.

Embracing recognition and doing it well will be reflected in the overall morale and productivity of your employees. Every employee wants to be recognized for his or her hard work and contributions. They will remember the times when the recognition moment was personal and impactful, but most of all memorable for them.

Getting recognition right is critical for your organization. From the technology you use to the training tools you provide, ensure your people have what they need to deliver memorable recognition.


Topics: employee recognition

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