How do you show appreciation for your top-performing team members? As a manager, it’s your job to build an environment in which your team is motivated and committed to act in the best interest of the company.

You can create this environment by hitting on the three things that truly motivate people at work. All three of these elements earn you trust as a visible leader and are easily influenced by the habit of strategically using recognition.

What is strategic recognition anyway?

Strategic recognition is the act of acknowledging, appreciating, and sharing a story of an instance when an employee helped improve the employee or customer experience.

Download our eBook to discover three steps to boost employee motivation at  your organization with strategic recognition »A strategic employee recognition program that facilitates the capturing and sharing of these best practices and examples of the company experience in action is a great way to replicate the work of your best employees.


Strategic recognition helps managers:

1. Set and reinforce expectations for living the company values (especially when interacting with colleagues and customers).
2. Communicate about the experience in a strategic way, keeping it top of mind and making it part of day-to-day conversations.
3. Hold everyone (themselves included) accountable to live the employer brand by providing incredible visibility across the company.

And you’ll find it will far surpass any rewards-oriented program when it comes to creating engaged employees (those who are motivated and committed).

Appreciation is the strongest currency in your corporate culture.

Recognition is an essential part of creating a work environment where employees are able to feel motivated and committed, and overall more engaged.

Here are the top 5 do’s and don’ts when recognizing employees:

1. Do share recognition posts across the company
2. Do have managers play a role in recognition moments
3. Don’t let rewards outweigh recognition
4. Don’t repetitively recognize the same group of people
5. Do create a culture of continuous recognition 

Let's expand on what these top 5 do's and dont's actually mean:

1. Do find a way to consistently and comprehensively share recognition posts across the company. Here’s a scenario: Imagine if your sales team could shadow a day in the life of your manufacturing team. How might this help remove silos and increase collaboration?

Reading recognitions across departments can build this understanding, break down company silos and improve employee collaboration. It also removes the “us vs. them” mentality that can destroy your employee experience. Look for opportunities to recognize not just highly visible great work, but great work behind the scenes.

Employees should think to themselves, who do I know who does great work for the company but may be overlooked for recognition?

2. Do have managers engage with recognition posts, especially when involving their teams. A comment added to a recognition post by a manager can sometimes be even more powerful than the original recognition.

3. Don’t let rewards become more important than the best practices. If your program uses points and starts to become more about gift certificates than learning from others, focus on making the stories more powerful and sharing them to get things back on track.


4. Don’t settle for the same group publishing stories or being recognized. Employees will stop paying attention unless there is a diverse group represented. Managers can work to keep participation more wide-ranging until broader participation becomes self-sustaining. 

5. Do create a culture of continuous recognition – one where appreciating and thanking employees for their hard work not only comes naturally, but it’s part of your organization’s identity. By creating a culture of continuous recognition, you’ll start improving employee engagement, productivity and motivation.

Challenge yourself as a leader to get more involved with employee recognition at your organization. You’ll not only start to build trust and foster deeper connections with your workforce, but you’ll also contribute to improving employee engagement as well. What next “do” or “don’t” would you add to this list? We’d love to hear your suggestions!

Alexandra Powell

Alexandra Powell, Director of Client Cultural Insights, not only knows American Sign Language, but uses it to secretly communicate with her husband and kids at parties. Alex is a highly experienced employee engagement consultant, trainer and speaker. For over 20 years she has helped HR and business leaders implement strategies that drive true culture change.

Director of Client Cultural Insights

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