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What are some great ways to recognize team members for accomplishments?

One thing I love to do is nominate my team members for an internal rewards & recognition program we have when they do something outstanding.

What other ways have you found to recognize your teams for going above and beyond, or even just for a job well done?

Tags: leadership, project management

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Sometimes the least over-the-top acknowledgement goes a long way. When I was in my schools Student Association, we had Fierce Frederick (a stuffed version of our school mascot) and any senator who did exceptionally well at something that week, the current holder of Frederick gave him to that person for the week and announced why. Yeah it was lame and corny, but at the same time it's just a simple acknowledgement that they're doing a great job.

That sounds cool Corey, thanks for sharing!

I'll add another. I believe in an immediate feedback model, for both positive and negative feedback. If you pay attention, you can give immediate feedback to a team member at least once a week if not more, and 80% is going to be totally positive.

It takes 10 seconds:

Permission -"Can I give you some feedback", or "Do you have a moment?"

Behavior - "You really nailed that presentation"

Impact - "You made yourself and the whole team look great. Thanks!"

I will tell you that this simple formula means more to me than any peice of paper, wood, or glass.  Thanks Josh!

I agree Josh, the immediate feedback model has always worked well for me.


A number of years ago I started an internal award for recognizing a team member who goes above and beyond.  The difference was that it wasn't I, the team leader, who decided the recipient. Instead, it was a peer-driven award.  The recognition is via a plaque posted in the team area with engraved plates of the names of the award recipients, plus an announcement on the larger organization's website.  I'm pleased to see that the award is continuing, even after I've since long moved to a new assignment.  That tells me it's working.

That sounds awesome Joe! Can you say a bit more about how that was structured? Is it a quarterly award? Did you collect votes from the team?

When I started it initially, I gave the current award holder total freedom to decide when to "pass it on" by selecting the next recipient.  That worked OK at first, but then it stalled when one award holder had a too high of a standard and held the award for over a year.  Before I left the team, I would note when a team member made a noteworthy contribution and would quietly poll the rest of the team, starting with the current award holder.  If a supermajority concurred (including the current award holder), the person to be recognized would be presented the award by the current award holder.  Goal was to make this semiannually so as not not be too frequent to diminish the lustre of the award, and not too infrequently to become "out of sight, out of mind."

IMO the MOST important thing is that the award be tailored to the recipient.  A GS-13 step 10 receiving a 50 dollar spot cash award is not a very significant award in spite of the best intentions of all.... A public recognization  to someone who is easily embarrassed can rapidly backfire... And the reverse( A GS-3 setp 1 receiving a 50 dollar spot, and the eager social climber receiving a public acknowledgement) can go a long ways toward improving team performance and morale.

Very true Henry, this is an awesome point!

A little recognition goes a long way. I worked with a large team that gave out "Kudos" bars during the all staff meetings. Anyone could nominate someone else for a "kudos" and then explained why they deserved it. It got people thinking about their peers and how they had helped them in the last month.

I love that Heather! Did you find that people on the team all engaged with the process, or were there some people who were more shy about recognizing their peers in a public manner like that?


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