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Need employee recognition examples that will make a difference? Here are our top tips:

Giving employee recognition: top 3 takeaways

  1. Recognition can help you cross generational and geographical divides more effectively and immediately than nearly any other tool.
  2. The top 4 elements of winning recognition are timeliness, meaning, specificity, and clear tie to impact.
  3. Looking at recognition software? Choose one that integrates your company values into recognition to reinforce your company culture while building morale.

Why it’s important to give recognition in the workplace

Human beings need the ability to express gratitude. It not only makes the recipient of the gratitude happier, healthier and more motivated — it makes the giver happier, too.

Showing gratitude builds bridges between generations, different departments, and geographies. Right now, we’re experiencing a weird time. Some people are working from an office, some people are working from home. Giving recognition can help cross that “remote work” divide, as well.


So, the simple act of giving someone recognition strengthens company culture. And it creates a more connected, high-performing workforce. We spend so much time at work! Why wouldn’t we want to build relationships with the people we spend the most time with?


The importance of giving recognition

Many of us feel uncomfortable showing gratitude when we’re first building the habit. So it’s important to remember to be yourself. If you’re a highly emotive person, that’s great! Show your feelings! If you’re not, that’s great too. Just say what feels natural to you.

Send public recognition when you believe people should know what someone else is doing. It’s only difficult if you think too hard about it.


How to give great recognition

At WorkTango, we like to say there are 4 facets to giving good recognition:

1. Give recognition ASAP. If you don’t, the importance diminishes and it’s not unlikely to forget to give it at all. If giving recognition in real-time doesn’t work for you, try batching it at the end of each work day — but no later. 

2. Make recognition meaningful. Take a second to think about how the person you’re recognizing will feel when they receive the recognition. And remember to speak in your voice, not someone else’s.

3. Be specific. Give details so the recipient understands exactly what they did well. Rather than, “Great job today!” try saying something like, “You led that meeting so well today. We started on time, had a productive brainstorming session and all walked away energized!”

employee recognition example from Patty Williams, Kazoo's queen of recognition

4. Tie recognition to impact. Be clear about why someone’s behavior mattered to you. Did it make your day? Did it help a team member? Save your team time? Make sure your recognition includes the good thing that  happened because of that person’s action. (I’ll share examples below.)


How technology supports recognition

When you use technology, you make it easy and fun for people to give each other recognition in just a click.  WorkTango’s Recognition & Rewards platform — also prompts you with what to say. It also has the user align each piece of recognition to one of your company’s core values.

When we implement our technology with new customers, we usually find there’s some “pent-up gratitude.” It was there before, but without a good system backed by the right technology, it doesn’t always make it out of people’s mouths.

So with a platform like WorkTango, everything is in one place. What you give, what you receive, and even insights and data on the qualities being recognized in your unique workplace.


Employee recognition examples

Need to recognize an employee? Take a deep breath and channel Patty. Make it timely, meaningful, specific, and tied to impact. And then — just do it!

1. An employee recognition example that’s timely

employee recognition example from Patty Williams, Kazoo's queen of recognition

What it says: “I loved our chat yesterday. Seeing you dig in to figure out how log-ins work for different scenarios. Connecting on a human level outside of Slack was the best.”

How it’s timely: This recognition was sent by a workTango employee to a colleague while the sentiment was still fresh.

Note: Each WorkTango recognition gets tagged with one of our company core values! Patty chose our value “In Good Company” was selected for this incident.


2. An employee recognition example that’s meaningful

employee recognition example from Patty Williams, Kazoo's queen of recognition

What it says: “This recognition is so long overdue. You have been an amazing partner with our most recent shared customer. Bumpy is putting it lightly. You’ve held those reins and kept the cart steady as well as anyone could.

Your ability to absorb feelings, replace them with logic and a straight path forward is amazing. I know this one is tough, but it’s not for lack of expertise on your part, that’s for sure.”

How it’s meaningful: Sometimes, greatness sneaks up on you. But even though we believe in real-time recognition, it’s never too late to throw sunshine on a coworker who’s blown you out of the water. This recognition os a heartfelt example. It’s one of those rare compliments that lingers for years — when somebody tells you they truly, deeply see you, and are amazed by what they see.


3. An employee recognition example that’s specific

employee recognition example from Patty Williams, Kazoo's queen of recognition

What it says: “I’ve been watching the tickets you worked on (much of the weekend, too… sorry if that was a secret but I could see your updates) with the SSO/email links nightmare. My whole team was horrified to see the change from 5-13 points but we were not surprised.

“Thank you for taking on and slaying this beast.”

How it’s specific: It’d be easy here to fire off a quick, “Thank you for working so hard!” But that could send the wrong message. It could imply that working on weekends is what’s wanted? It might it come off as dismissive. By diving into the details the sender demonstrates how much they understand and appreciates the scope of work. (And as you can see, members of the team “high fived” this recognition to express their agreement.)


4. An employee recognition example that’s tied to impact

employee recognition example from Patty Williams, Kazoo's queen of recognition

What it says: “Holy cow, that demo of modules by groups was amazing. I love that our product is becoming more useful and simpler all at the same time with this. Can’t wait to see the finished product.”

How it’s tied to impact: Not only do these accolades point out what’s being recognized they also tie to the larger impact — in this case, how efforts are making the WorkTango product both more useful and simple to use, all at the same time.

Bonus: Recognizing a team. Team work makes the dream work. So celebrate it. With a solution like WorkTango’s Recognition & Rewards you can recognize multiple people at once, you can throw sunshine on multiple folks, an entire team, or even coworkers across multiple teams. This highlights and supports a collaborative culture and helps break down silos. 

So, share group recognitions to celebrate not only the individuals who went above and beyond, but also the fact that they did it so well together.


Take recognition to the next level

We hope these employee recognition examples and tips will help you connect and align your employees, no matter where they’re working.

At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only Employee Experience Platform that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, offers actionable insights through employee surveys, and supports alignment through goal setting and feedback.

WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. So if you’re ready to make work lives better, schedule a demo today.

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