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Employee recognition: Any simple tips?

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Question: “My boss wants me to create an employee recognition program for our team. I have the basics, but I’m looking for other ideas (small gifts, inspiring quotes, etc.). Any suggestions on what’s worked for others? Or any ideas for web sites or other resources that can help?” -- Brenda


I have found that http://www.baudville.com/ has some nice stuff.


Try Baudville.com. They have a ton of small recognition ideas.


A day off that doesn't count against PTO is also a great way to recognize/reward someone.


Reasonably priced, you can present your group or individual with a gift from www.successories.com. From pins to awards you can find a variety of products to fit the occasion. Also, this website has a large variety of motivational quotes. Hope this helps!

We had all employees fill out this form and return to their respective manager and managers to their supervisor and so on. This way when an employee deserves recognition, they will get it in the form that they indicated they appreciate the most. here it is:

Please indicate the response that best describes your feelings about each of the reward and recognition ideas.
1. No Importance to Me
2. Minimal Importance to Me
3. Neutral
4. Important to Me
5. Very Important to Me

Verbal words of thanks given privately
Verbal recognition given publicly
Written note of appreciation
Certificate of Appreciation
Gift Certificate
Visa/MasterCard gift card
Team Celebration
Recognition in the Company Newsletter
Recognition by senior leadership

I came to work for (company name) because
I stay with (company name) because
My favorite candy is ________________________________________________________________
My favorite restaurants are ________________________________________________________________
My favorite snack food is ________________________________________________________________
My favorite store is ________________________________________________________________
My favorite hobby is ________________________________________________________________
My favorite form of entertainment
(i.e. movies, sports, events) ________________________________________________________________

I just read an article yesterday that said people are so stressed & worried about making ends meet that productivity is dropping like a rock. I would suggest gift cards, cash, prepaid GAS cards, etc. Don't waste money on frou-frou, feel-good items that are just a slap in the face for those who really could use a RAISE to cope with these terrifying economic times.

We created a team game where the employees do things like volunteer in the community or donate items, recycle etc. They also celebrate birthdays, occasions, bring in food, celebrate sporting events and holidays by dressing in "gear" and jeans. We are a medical facility so celebrating can involve the patients, like giving valentines etc. It created a ton on community involvment in several different ways. And all the above mentioned the employees get points. There is a goal for each quarter; 1st quarter they get a "date night" kit (movie tickets and popcorn money), 2nd quarter they get a "survival kit" (Gas Gift Card, Coffe Gift Card and Lunch Gift Card, all $10.00), 3rd Quarter you get $250 and your team gets 2 hours paid time to go have lunch together one day, 4th Quarter they get an additional day off. If all teams win, which they always do, the owner takes the entire company on an outing paid. We close the office, get on buses and go have fun. The employee moral has inclined over the passed 4 years since we started the game and the patients feel that too so it was a win win for everyone.

We have a program where employees are given stickers and mini certificates for each time someone writes up a "name of award" letter that states why they are being recommended. Letters have been known to come from other employees and/or customers and are read by the bosses in their department meetings and presented to the staff person. They can display their stickers and/or post card size certificates for the award in their cubicle. There is a group luncheon for those who have been nominated 3-5 times during the course of the year. They are recognized at the luncheon by the President and/or top executives of the company. They also get a gift card for $100 which they can spend in the company logo store website.

I'd prefer gift cards from places I'd shop on regular basis. Drug store, grocery, gas et al., but I'm on the practical side.

Brenda, I support a team of 20 people. We have a "Manager's Cup" award that is given monthly to the person that has made a significant contribution...or...had a project with an outstanding outcome...or... has shown leadership/positive attitude in a challenging situation, etc. The award is your typical $25 trophy about two feet tall. The recipient gets to keep the trophy at their desk for the entire month. Then the trophy is given to the next winner to display at their desk for the next month. The trophy is not very exciting to look at, so we decided to do something different to make it fun. Before the trophy is handed off to the next winner, the current winner has to ADD AN ITEM to the trophy. This makes the trophy personal and quite unique! Some of the items that have been added: a string of battery operated lights, a princess tiara, a toy motorcycle, a "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, a "Patron Saint of Eternal Optimism" charm and a musical greeting card...and lots more fun things that say something about the person that added them. Needless to say, our trophy is the talk of the building! And, it's an honor to receive the trophy not only for what you have done, but for what you can add to it! People on the team look forward to the announcement of the winner and to see what the previous winner has added. So, for a mere $25 and a little imagination from the trophy's winners, we have a highly coveted recognition award.

A tour of another company is a nice reward for a small group of people, especially if it is a company that uses your product, service, etc. Sometimes you don't know exactly how your product/service gets used, or if you are only a small part of the final product, it is nice to see your company's end result.

Check out http://www.octanner.com

They have great ideas and packages in all price ranges and will design a program specific to your company. This is the group that came up with the "carrot" concept!

My boss used to do that too. I started telling him, "those shirts are really cool and I'd like to have one just like the guys". That worked with shirts and then a nice outdoors jacket a few months later. Now he doesn't think twice and just includes me in the "giveaways". Try it!

We have a formal employee recognition event annually at our company. People are nominated for recognition in a number of different categories, and the nominations are reviewed by a series of employee committees. The actual reward is cash and a paid day off. While T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. are nice, our employees, who are well-paid, really like having that extra day off.

I love the idea of giving gas cards as long as it pays for more than half a tank of gas.
And now a days it is closer to $60 or more to fill the tank.
A nice lunch at their favorite place would be good. Even a day off.
$50 just does not come close to the cost of things these days.

I developed an employee recognition program for my company three years ago and it is quite successful. Most surveys tell you that money and raises are important, however, there is nothing like a public "Thank You" to generate loyalty and that sense of pride in doing a job well or staying at a company through good times and challenging times. We utilize the services of Terry Berry Company. They customize the program to suite your needs and brand your logo onto the items. Check out their website at www.terryberry.com. Good Luck.

In our HR department, we have three types of Spot Awards Progams. The first is the "Pat on the Back Star" which provides immediate thanks for a job well done. Types of service are Same day acknowdgement, Teamwork, Acting quickly, rapid resolution and Service with a human touch. For this we award a silver star which they can display and a $20 Target gift card. These are given peer to peer (i.e. employees within the department reward each other)
The second program is the "Flash" award which rewards personal growth and professional achievements with a $100 SuperCertificate which can be redeemed for vaious on-line items. This is designed to recognize strong initiative, courage and other key competencies such as Handling a tough situation especially well, identifying or mitigating a risk associated with their job function, a leap forward in personal development, perserverance in overcoming obstacles, teamwork, collaboration and flawless execution on a key initiative. This is awarded by their director or above.
The last spot award we have is an American Express gift check of vaious amounts. This also is awarded by their director and is for employees who demonstrate leaderhship competencies such as taking action and getting results, talking personal accountability for delivering quality (accurate) results, taking calculated risks - excelling at making risk/reward trade-offs, demonstrating can-do intensity and optimism, understanding and adapting external knowledge to improve the company's performance and using our time and those of others, effectively. Amounts for this range from $100 - $500.

Our company spans over 7 states with roughly 375 employees. Each year we begin in July with employee appreciation days. Each site is assigned a date and management visits with grill and spatula in hand. A barbeque is held with management setting up, cooking and distributing food to employees. Handouts are given, most of the time it is company T-shirts, caps and other small items. Annual service awards are handed out, via plaques and VISA gift card in a denomination associated with years of service. HR is always there for question/answer sessions and with information packets on benefits provided. This seems to maintain morale with the knowledge that management makes the effort.

We have forms to complete if you want to recommend someone for the Way-To-Go award. The management team look them over and choose one to win a $25 gift certificate to the place of their choice. The winner is announce at each monthly saff meeting.

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