'More Than Awards' - Ideas for Recognizing and Appreciating Your Colleagues
Whether you are a supervisor or not, here are a few ideas on how you can recognize your colleagues beyond giving them formal awards. Remember, almost anything can provide meaningful recognition if it is sincere, specific, timely, and creative. And, the more you know about a colleague’s interests and preferences, the better you will be able to ensure that your recognition gesture will REALLY be appreciated. Keep this list handy to help you remember that recognizing and appreciating your colleagues should be a habit that you keep up throughout the year. Make it a priority to help create a culture of recognition!
- Give a handwritten 'thank you' note or card. It adds a personal touch.
- Include 'kudos' as an agenda item in staff meetings.
- Leave a flower, balloon, or chocolate and a note of thanks on a desk or chair.
- Send an e-mail congratulations on a job well done (copy to supervisor if from peer).
- Use 'Award Wizard' software to create a fun/interesting certificate of appreciation.
- Make or buy your colleague’s favorite food and bring it in to work.
- Send an electronic thank you card—many have movement and sound to add fun.
- Create a recognition board to display 'thank you' notes from clients and co-workers.
- Offer to do your colleague’s most unpleasant task for a day to say 'thanks.'
- Plan a surprise party to celebrate a special achievement.
- Make a banner of appreciation to hang in the work area.
- Greet your colleagues by name and take a few minutes to see how they are doing.
- Write a newsletter/newspaper article describing a special achievement.
- Take out an advertisement to thank colleagues, including names and/or pictures.
- Give a memento (pen, cup) with a UA/department logo to commemorate an achievement.
- Make personalized note pads with your colleague’s name on them.
- Ask for a colleague’s opinion or ideas on a project or to help implement a new process.
- Say a simple, sincere 'thank you.'
- Set up a flip chart in a common use area to record 'thank you’s' — legit graffiti.
- Create a picture poster of a colleague or group to celebrate an accomplishment.
- Create a thank you 'traveling trophy' that can be passed from colleague to colleague.
- Wash a colleague’s car in the parking lot at lunch.
- Write several 'thank you’s' on post-its and hide them among the work on his or her desk.
- Make a contribution to the colleague’s favorite charity in his or her name.
- Create a display arrangement (streamers, stars, flowers, figurines) for a special occasion.
- Give an inspirational poster to a deserving colleague who can put it up in his or her office.
- Recognize and thank colleagues who set the example by regularly recognizing others.
- Pass on positive remarks you hear about a colleague to that person as soon as possible.
- Give a book by the colleague’s favorite (professional) author.
April 1999—Adapted by Human Resources, the University of Arizona from sources by Bob Nelson, the City of Seattle, and others.