Creative Ways to say “Good Job”

In tight financial times, ongoing, meaningful rewards and recognition provide an effective, low cost way of raising morale and encouraging higher levels of performance. Here are some ideas for recognizing your “everyday hero”.  

Thank your Employees with Food:

  • Plan a surprise breakfast or lunch for your team.
  • Serve ice cream sundaes to all of your employees at the end of a project.  Provide a lunch for project teams once they have hit project milestones.
  • Plan a “Staff Appreciation Day” where the managers supply, cook, and serve food.
  • Give Mr. Goodbar (candy bar) Awards.
  • Throw a pizza lunch party for your unit.
  • Bake a gift (cookies; brownies.) for an outstanding employee or team.
  • Serve popcorn and drinks after a hard week.
  • Give a note reading, “Thank you. You are a Lifesaver!" Attach a roll of Lifesavers for a deserving employee.

Thank your Employees with Pictures:

  • Create a Hall of Fame wall with photos of outstanding employees.
  • Make a photo collage about a successful project that shows the people that worked on it.
  • Film a special event and post it on your social media sites.
  • Establish a place to display memos, posters, photos and so on, recognizing progress towards goals and thanking individual employees for their help.

Thank your Employees in Writing:

  • Post a thank you note on an employee’s cubicle.
  • Make a thank-you card by hand.
  • Send a letter to all team members at the conclusion of a project, thanking them for their participation.
  • Write a letter of praise recognizing specific contributions and accomplishments of an employee. Send a copy to senior management and the employee’s personnel file.
  • If you have a department newsletter, publish a “kudos” column and ask for nominations throughout the department.

Verbally Thank your Employees:

  • Call an employee to your office to thank him or her (don’t discuss any other issue).
  • When you hear a positive remark about someone, repeat it to that person as soon as possible (Face-to-face is best, e-mail or voice mail are good in an pinch).
  • Share verbal accolades – forward positive voice mail and emails messages.
  • Pop in at the first meeting of a special project team and express your appreciation for their involvement.

Thank your Employees by Offering some Fun:

  • Cover an employee’s desk with balloons.
  • Make and deliver a small gift basket.
  • Design and give magnets with appropriate messages.
  • Create and string a banner across the work area.
  • Keep a supply of appropriately funny notes that can be given as immediate rewards. Keep the supply visible – in a basket or box in your office.
  • Plan a surprise achievement celebration for an employee or group of employees.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate birthdays.
  • Hold informal retreats to foster communication and set goals.

Recognize your Employees' Accomplishments throughout the Workday:

  • Answer an employee’s telephone for a day.
  • Include an employee in a “special” meeting.
  • Acknowledge individual achievements by using employee names in status reports.
  • Recognize outstanding employees for their contributions in the “End of the Year” report.

Recognize your Employees' Accomplishments by the Work Assignments they are Given:

  • Assign projects to employees that they have specifically asked for and those that will enhance their skill set.
  • Recognize employees' personal needs and challenges as you assign their work.
  • Encourage employees to identify specific areas of interest in job-related skills. Then arrange for them to spend a day with an in-house “expert” to learn more about the topic.
  • Allow an employee to choose his/her next assignment.
  • Recognize a team accomplishment by designating that team as consultants to other teams.
  • Swap a task with an employee for a day – his/her choice.
  • Allow employees to attend meetings in your place when you are not available.

Establish Recognition/Suggestion Programs to Recognize your Employees and their Suggestions:

  • At a regular staff meeting, award an Outstanding Employee and have meeting attendees verbally recognize why that person is deserving of the award.
  • Publicly recognize the positive impact on operations of the solutions employees devise for problems.
  • Create an Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) Award.
  • Have staff vote for Department top employee of the year.
  • Name a continuing recognition award after an outstanding employee.
  • Ask your boss to attend a meeting with your employees during which you thank individuals and groups for their specific contributions.
  • Start an employee recognition program. Give points for attendance, punctuality, teamwork, etc.   Provide gift certificates to employees who reach certain point goals.
  • Start a suggestion program.  Widely publicize suggestions used and their positive impact on your department.
  • Prepare a “Notice of Outstanding Performance” for an outstanding employee.
  • Recognize an employee through LAUSD’s “Everyday Heroes” staff recognition program.