Dos and DontsRecognition opportunities should be available for all employees. Employee recognition is a powerful force. Done well, recognition elevates morale and motivates employee performance. With equal impact, however, thoughtless and ineffective recognition efforts can trigger long-lasting cynicism and negativity.

Recognition opportunities should be available for all employees.


How effective are your recognition initiatives, as compared with characteristics identified by the National Association for Employee Recognition? Are they:

  • Adaptable
    The diverse workplace demands alternatives, and creativity keeps a recognition program fresh.
  • Consistent
    Department goals and values should be clearly communicated and continuously reinforced.
  • Equitable
    In recognition as in all things, all employees should receive the same respect and opportunity.
  • Inclusive
    Recognition programs often focus on a limited number of outstanding accomplishments and performers, but it is important to recognize the value of the smaller achievements and successes as well.
  • Meaningful
    Effective recognition targets behavior and accomplishments that align with the university’s and department’s values, goals, and priorities.
  • Public
    Recognition is intended not only to gratify the individual recipients, but to spotlight their behavior and accomplishments as a way of illustrating and reinforcing organizational values for all employees. Reserve criticism for private meetings; reward and recognize in public!
  • Relevant
    What is important to the individuals being recognized? Offer rewards and acknowledgement that link with the recipients’ personal interests and priorities.
  • Sincere
    Effective recognition reflects a genuine expression of appreciation.
  • Timely
    Recognition should respond to the behavior it is intended to reinforce. Letting too much time pass between accomplishment and acknowledgement has the effect of devaluing the behavior.