5 ways to recognize employees for their hard work

Work Wisdom

5 ways to recognize employees for their hard work

Everyone wants to know when they’re doing a good job. It’s simply the right thing to do. Recognition tells employees their behavior is welcome. Recognition improves employee morale and can contribute to a more positive workplace environment.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.

Granted, employees want to be paid fairly for their work. That’s not the point of today’s post. When employees do good work, they expect someone to notice and acknowledge it. Please note I said “someone” in the last sentence. Recognizing employees doesn’t have to be the sole responsibility of managers. You can recognize a co-worker for their efforts. Employees can recognize their managers. (They would very much appreciate it.)

Here are five ways to recognize employees — whether they’re a member of your team or a co-worker.

  1. Say “Thank You!”. We often forget how powerful the words “thank you” can be. Employees would love to hear their work or an action they took made someone else’s life easier. The key to successfully saying thank you is to be specific about what the action was and deliver the thanks in a timely fashion.
  2. Do them a favor. If an employee does you a favor, find out if there is an opportunity to reciprocate. While the goal isn’t to keep score, it can be nice to say to a colleague, “You’ve done a lot of nice things for me. This is an opportunity for me to do something nice for you. Thanks!”


  1. Recommend them for a company award. Many organizations have an internal program — such as an employee of the month or a “caught ya doing something right” — that allows employees to receive nominations. Even if employees don’t ultimately win the prize, they do find out they were nominated by a colleague.


  1. Share it with HR or their boss. It can be hard for employees to “toot their own horn” when it comes to receiving compliments. Don’t hesitate to share with human resources or employees’ managers what a great job they’ve been doing or how much you appreciated their assistance. The manager or HR might be in a position to provide additional recognition.


  1. Send them a note. Whether it’s an email or a few lines on a handwritten card, sending a message to an employee can be incredibly valuable. The employee can go back and look at it as a pick-me-up on a tough day. You can also copy HR or the employee’s manager on the message so the employee knows the boss was in the loop.


Every day we work with people who do great work and nice things for us. Don’t assume they’re simply “doing their job” and their actions don’t warrant recognition. There’s nothing wrong with telling a co-worker, “I know it’s part of your job, but you do it really well and I appreciate it.”

Work is hard. On some days, it’s not very much fun. Creating a team or a workplace where employees recognize each other for their effort can make coming to work every day very enjoyable. Spread the word by recognizing others.


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