How does your workplace approach recognition?

Helen Anderson on December 22, 2018

There's been a lot of talk of recognition and congratulating people for a job well done around my office and I wondered what kind of approach other... [Read Full]
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I got a star once. It wasn't much. Just a small marking on a planning board. It was erased in due time, but made me happy while it was there.

On a more serious note, if I'm doing well in a job I request more money. I don't want to seem shallow, or greedy, as I do enjoy my work. All that other stuff is nice, the meals, cards, well wishes, and should be handed out commonly. However, if I'm really doing a good job, then I'd like a proper reward.


We got celebration meals and an annual award for those who put extra effort in their jobs, but what I really like is that, each semester, we have a feedback from the team leader and, if you are doing really well, you get a raise or a promotion without asking


That's a good way to deliver feedback and take the awkwardness over negotiating a pay rise.


Good call. That leads into another good #discuss question... how to negotiate that.


The reason I joined my current company was gratitude. I attended an all-hands/all-comers-welcome meeting before I joined. They had an hour-long gratitude circle where people got to anonymously talk about an act or attitude that they were grateful for from somebody else in the company. It was pretty incredible, and got me really interested in working for them.

We sometimes ask "what are you thankful for" in standup. Has a similar effect.


My company uses a service called Motivosity. Every employee gets $10 to give to whomever they want throughout the month in as little as $1 increments. Give it away or you lose it. Someone does something nice for you or something cool, hop into the app, write it up, and give them a buck or two. The dollar amount isn't relevant, but the recognition is. And it's easy to do so folks really do it.

I love it.


My work has a similar app called "High Five". These are great for three main reasons:

  1. The earlier the reinforcement the better. If someone let's you know 5 minutes after you helped that they appreciated it, it matters more than if they do it 3 weeks later (if they remember)
  2. It's not based upon hierarchy. Anyone can appreciate anyone, so it's not based upon your boss noticing or thinking your contribution was "better" than your other team members.
  3. It's public. Someone telling you did a great job is great, but that's mostly between the two of you. Having an open space where you can see how everyone is thanking each other is great for two reasons. First, it gives it more visibility so it's more likely that other people know that that person X thinks you did a great job. Secondly, it promotes the whole idea of helping appreciating and valuing others which helps create a better team-based culture.

The idea of picking someone feels a lot like high school. Everyone deserves to be recognized and I'm certain mostly everyone is doing a great job job if they're still on the team. So picking someone can undermine your coworkers as well.

One on one I think is a better way to congratulate people. And simple words like "great job." Or "You really came through here." Go a LONG way. So many managers underestimate that.

I once received a simple handwritten thank you letter from a co-worker and it really changed my opinion and relationship.

Meals, bonuses, etc. Everyone should get that if they still work for the company.

Companies just have to stop faking it. Just be genuine that way human beings are meant to be.


We have a peer acks app in which you can anonymously acknowledge a colleague for something they helped you with or something awesome they did during the week. Our VP of Engg reads out all peer acks during the weekly company meeting. I find this system encouraging and fun!


At my previous workplace there were like four teams in the same department from all around the globe. There was a DBA of the month title awarded every month. Guess what. The award almost always went to someone from the biggest team from the most votes arrived :D


Has anyone been offered a 'discretionary bonus' before? I had one that is substantial (about 4 weeks paycheck worth). It required me to "continue to perform at a high standard" for 12 months to be eligible but at the sole discretion of the company. IMHO it would make more sense if they break this large reward down and offer some up front as a recognition.


My last job had a thing they called "top banana" where you could nominate anyone you liked for doing something cool that fit in with the company values somehow. At the end of every month, all the nominees got a selection of confectionary (usually themed to the time of year) and the winner got some cash. The overall most-nominated person at the end of the year got their choice of £500 or a week of paid leave. That was pretty neat.

The place I am at the moment has (or had, I don't know if it's still a thing) a tradition at the summer and winter parties of having cards you could anonymously write to anyone else saying something you appreciated about them. Then at the meal, which would have planned seating, everyone would have their cards waiting for them. That was also kind of nice - I thought it sounded twee at first but it was actually ok.

We generally have a meal out somewhere for the team after a project is complete or something is launched.

One of my project managers gave me some stickers recently, too.


I love the idea of the cards waiting for you at the summer/winter party, that sounds like such a personal way to recognise your teammates.


Feedback is incredibly important to me and i have made it a goal of mine to both seek it in my work and give it when others ask (or where appropriate).

From personal experience there isn't much appreciation for things you can't see unless you have been exposed to that world.

I do my best to take notice of what other people in my team are working on and recognize their achievements but what makes this nice is it is infectious. In turn it has spread to other members of the team creating a more supportive workforce and bringing us all closer together.


One time we were on the phone with a client, a bad ui and ux was on their original website, and it was a huge eyesore. So we started building their new website and we were trying to all figure out a way to display the data best. Since the client was on speaker phone, I didn’t want to propose a bad idea, so I leaned over to a project manager and gave my suggestion. I’m not a designer so I expected it to get shot down immediately. But they liked it, and followed up with me to explain it more. She nodded at me and then spoke up with the client and proposed it. The CTO of our company (literally my immediate superior, very small company) said, yep, that’s it, sound good to you? And the client agreed.

I was okay not receiving credit, but the project manager came back to me after the phone call and told me that it was a really good suggestion. And I gotta say, I want more of that.


We have a company wide recognition system, but it's not very consistantly (or fairly) used in my opinion. People who are more visible on a project tend to get recognition as oppossed to the people behind the scenes who are doing the work (and often interact with the nominators).

Recognition is attached to points in varying denomiations and those points can be redeemed for cash or giftcards. I feel like I work pretty damn hard, but I've only gotten one, maybe two awards this year (one may have been a team award). :-/

I'd like to see a system like you mentioned in your post. Where everyone is strongly encouraged to lift up others within the team or department. I think it would help boost morale and keep hard workers feelings engaged in the work that they do.


Funny thing, reading this I've realized that my current company doesn't do anything like this. The only positive feedback I am getting is they paying my at the beginning of the new month :D


Maybe it's time to start the ball rolling with some team recognition. Do you think your team and management would be open to it?


Not really. But then again, in Poland it's still uncommon thing, I only worked in one such place where they really recognized an individual or a team.


Just do your job well and don't care about recognition.


We're not robots. Even a small recognition does wonders for morale especially when a team or individual really pulls through on a tough assignment.


We basically have the same type of recognition system, the differences aren't important enough to spell out.


I personally think the only way to recognise someone at a workplace is $.

$ is the ONLY thing to respect a professional professionally, all the rest is just meaningless bullshit.

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