Event & Recognition Programs

Informal Recognition Ideas

But what about informal recognition? Even with tight budgets, managers and departments can recognize high performing employees in a way that reinforces those positive behaviors. Smart managers know that what you do matters more than what you give.

Whether you are a manager or a team member in a department, here are a few ideas for recognizing and appreciating your colleagues:

  • Write a handwritten thank you card.
  • Give public kudos at a staff meeting.
  • Hang a banner over a coworker's desk.
  • Publish a weekly "police blotter" style of events with employee's name and actions when caught doing extraordinary work.
  • Make a humorous certificate of appreciation.
  • Give a bag of Life Saver candies with an attached note to someone who stepped in when needed. Other candy-related ideas? Give Tootsie Rolls when someone is "on a roll" or Whoppers for a "big idea."
  • Give a "casual dress" day when a team has met a deadline or milestone.
  • Send an electronic thank you card, or even an email with an appropriate humorous picture.
  • Take an employee out for a coffee and 15 minutes of your time.
  • Congratulate an employee with a picture in your department/division newsletter.
  • Honor coworkers with a traveling trophy to display for one month. At the end of the month, that employee chooses the next deserving employee. One USF team uses a rhinestone tiara and another passes a bobble-head Rocky.
  • Set up a whiteboard or bulletin board in the breakroom for team members to leave notes of thanks and shout-outs to each other.
  • Send an email to someone detailing how their support made a difference...and copy their supervisor.
  • Plan an ice cream party or even bagels and juice to celebrate.
  • Give someone a Million Dollar Bar (chocolate candy bar) to say "thanks a million."
  • Ask your employees for feedback.
  • Give someone a flower or a balloon.
  • Give them time away from work for professional development.
  • Bring in pizza one day.
  • Have a team retreat where ideas can be introduced by anyone on the team.