Informal Recognition

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Recognition is a powerful tool for helping associates get and stay motivated. When you recognize others you are letting them know they are valued and that their efforts are appreciated and important to the company.

Why: Here are some reasons why an associate should be recognized:

Performed duties of increased responsibility
Accomplished something others have not
Served notably in an important position
Covered for an absent associate
Accomplished more than peers
Performed the job with exceptional efficiency and/or effectiveness
Made recommendations that had a positive impact
Accomplished the same quality of work but with less people, less money, or shorter deadline
Displayed extra initiative
Demonstrated unusual creativity
Demonstrated extra enthusiasm
Saved money and/or time

Characteristics: The characteristics of effective informal recognition are:

Timely -- as soon as possible after the positive achievement
Proportional -- matches the action in type and degree of recognition
Specific -- identifies the positive behavior
Individual -- recognizes the person involved in the action
Sincere -- comes from the heart and shows you care
Personal -- reflects the personality of the recipient

How: You don't have to spend a lot of money, or any money at all, to recognize associates effectively. Here are some specific ideas on recognizing others:

Give "Caught in the act" coupons (coupons that can be redeemed for free beverage)
Create and present certificates
Hand out "Lunch is on me" coupons
Present trophies or ribbons
Send personal notes to the associate
Send personal notes to the associate's family
Create a "year in review" booklet (pictures or articles highlighting associates' achievements)
Put up a bulletin board (post letters, pictures, thank you cards)
Have a "Friday Surprise"
Give a traveling trophy
Have associates determine recipient and presentation of the traveling trophy
Bring in donuts and drinks
Give tickets to sporting or cultural events
Call an associate into your office just to thank him/her (talk of nothing else)
Go to the associate's office to thank him/her
Post a thank-you note on the associate's door
Volunteer to do the associate's least desirable task for a day
Answer the person's telephone for a day
Have a senior member of management call on the associate to deliver the thanks
Wash the associate's car
Create a Hall of Fame wall with photos
Make a photo collage about a project's success
Stage a parade through the building for the associate
Take supporting associates out to lunch when YOU get a promotion
Present an Equalizer Bunny for keeping "going, and going, and going..."
Present a toy roadrunner for working fast and meeting shortened deadlines
Write your thank-you on a flip chart and place it prominently in the area or in front of the associate's door
Host a make-believe marathon and a corresponding awards ceremony for project members
Ask five people to go up to the person and say that you asked them to thank the associate for you
Write five or more thank-you's on Post-It-Notes and hide them in the associate's office/work area
Develop a "Behind the Scenes" Award for those usually not in the limelight
Name a space after an associate and put up a sign ("The Suzy Jones Corridor")
Buy lunch for the associate and three people of his/her choice
Bring the associate bagged lunches for a week
Make a thank you card by hand, with crayons, stickers, etc.
Cover the person's desk with balloons
Find out the associate's hobby and give an appropriate gift
Give the associate something for his/her children
Make a batch of cookies for the associate
Make and deliver a fruit basket

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