Dining ServicesDining Services has a strong tradition of recognizing employee accomplishments.

Planning your recognition initiative

There are many reasons and many ways to recognize employees for their contributions to the department/university. Consider your department’s culture and employee perspectives as you make decisions about what accomplishments/behaviors to recognize and whether recognition will be formal or informal, or a combination of the two.

What to recognize

Performance/behavior supportive of organization goals and values, for example:

  • Achievements that relate to Rutgers Workplace Priorities and/or support the university’s values.
  • Assisting, training, and mentoring coworkers
  • Collaboration with other departments
  • Long-term commitment to organization - for example, service anniversaries
  • Maximizing university/department resources
  • Ongoing commitment to organization - for example, outstanding attendance
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Outstanding performance of normal work
  • Project completion
  • Safety milestones
  • Taking on challenging new assignments
  • Team efforts and peer collaboration

Formal recognition opportunities

(managed on a unit/department/division-wide basis)

  • Assign outstanding employees to develop a formal, department-wide recognition system, covering
    • form/frequency of rewards
    • internal coordinator for the program
    • kinds of program/awards (for example: Employee of the Month, Employee of the Year, Customer Service Star of the Month)
    • selection criteria
  • Develop a system to ensure that this information is regularly forwarded to University Human Resources for consideration.
  • NominatNominate significant* employee accomplishments for the bi-monthly A/P/S newsletter. Develop a system to ensure that this information is regularly forwarded to University Human Resources for consideration.e employees for professional association or university awards.
  • Nominate significant* employee accomplishments for the Improving Our Workplace web site.
  • Send each employee a letter of congratulations on every service anniversary.
  • Sponsor a recognition luncheon to honor employees for significant accomplishment.
  • Sponsor an annual picnic, retreat, and/or holiday party for all employees.
  • Sponsor staff appreciation days.

* Awards, presentation of workshops/seminars, recognition by professional association, leadership appointments, publications, etc.

Informal recognition opportunities

(managed by individual supervisors)

  • Announce employees’ achievements in team or staff meetings, group email, departmental bulletin boards, or other public venues.
  • Celebrate a promotion with an item that will be useful to an employee in a new position; for example, a new supervisor might like a new day planner.
  • Celebrate personal events: birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, marriages - to honor employees as people as well as workers.
  • Copy senior management on your thank-you note to the employee, to advise them of an employee’s efforts/accomplishments.
  • Delegate higher-level tasks that enable employees to build new work skills and expose them to new people at higher levels.
  • Give employees appropriate levels of autonomy and independence. Communicate goals and specific objectives, provide training and resources, monitor progress, and avoid micromanagement.
  • Greet employees every morning, reinforcing the message “I’m glad you’re here.”
  • Honor employee subgroups in your department with their own day or week (e.g., Student Worker Week, Custodian Week) and present them with flowers, candy, breakfast, etc. during that time.
  • Host a pizza party to celebrate individual or team achievements.
  • Include employees in special projects that use their unique skills, training, and education.
  • Involve employees in decision-making to promote a sense of buy-in to change and reduce employee stress.
  • Offer training and professional development opportunities on work time. If budget allows, support employee involvement in professional conferences.
  • Present a Life Saver Award (packs of Life Saver candies and a gift certificate) to an employee who pitched in during an emergency or staff shortage.
  • Reach out to internal Rutgers departments and individuals with periodic gifts (for example, bagels, doughnuts, or candy) to thank them for their support of your department.
  • Recognize highly-skilled employees with increased responsibility that will develop new skills that may be helpful for advancement.
  • Recognize the importance of a new employee with a large Welcome! poster.
  • Reinforce employees’ sense of belonging and value to the organization.
  • Share information about the university, department, and your unit on a regular basis, whether or not it is directly applicable to a person’s job, to reinforce sense of participation.
  • Submit information about your employee’s achievement to the editor of your department newsletter.
  • Surprise your work unit with a picnic instead of the expected staff meeting.
  • Volunteer to do your employee’s least liked task for a day.
  • Walk the talk. Lead by example. Practice what you preach.
  • Write a personal note of appreciation immediately to acknowledge a job well done.

Have you used other ideas effectively to recognize your employees’ contributions? We’d like to share your successes.