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20 fast and easy ways to recognize your employees

Written by: John O'Brien, Vice President, Employee Performance Group
(View Author Bio)

A recognition-rich culture allows organizations to develop, engage and create loyal employees. Making employee appreciation integral to your workplace culture can be achieved through meaningful and intentional practices.

We know that when employees are recognized, they are more committed, put more effort into their work and are inspired to achieve great things both for the company and your customers.

Review and this list of ideas you can quickly incorporate into daily practice.

Enjoy and have fun inspiring your employees!

  1. Welcome every new hire via text a few days before their start date.

  2. Greet each of your new employees by name the first time you encounter them on any given day. Have a conversation and show you are interested and engaged in their personal and/or professional well-being.

  3. Get to know at least one thing about each employee on a personal level like hobbies, volunteer activities, pets, children or leisure pursuits. Once again, this shows you are interested in them as a person.

  4. At the end of the day, ask at least one employee what went well for them that day and reinforce their success.

  5. Use an employee complaint as an opportunity to get feedback on how things could be done differently in that specific situation and on a wider scale moving forward.

  6. Recognize an individual or team's small successes as well as larger, more prominent ones.

  7. Ask employees for feedback. Sometimes the best recognition you can give is to simply listen. Listening tells an employee you value their opinions and are willing to take the time to hear them out.

  8. Hold a light-hearted "humbling" session. Ask each employee to brag about one positive contribution they make to the team or the company. It can be as simple as "I support client mailings" or "I prepare recaps to keep us organized."

  9. Show employees how much you respect them by sharing key organizational statistics and milestones with them on a regular basis. Employees should see the connection between their work and how it impacts overall company success.

  10. Have fun and allow people to represent their true personality. Reinforce the notion that an enjoyable work environment does not have to be at the expense of an efficient work environment.

  11. Acknowledge employee work anniversaries every year. Make sure they know you value their loyalty.

  12. Don't be afraid to smile and laugh at things that genuinely make you smile and laugh. It creates a bond with your team members. Attitude is contagious - both positive and negative.

  13. Ask your employees what they need from you to do their best. Listen carefully. Reinforce that you will do your best to support their needs, but only promise what you know you can deliver.

  14. Share messages of praise from customers, suppliers, managers and other employees. Show the message to the mentioned employee first and ask permission to post it publically inside the organization or read it at a group meeting. Never do so without their knowledge.

  15. Tell your superiors about your special employees. This helps them get to know who may be ready for career advancement. It is also a testimony to your great management skills.

  16. Create a short, non-intrusive survey for new employees to fill out on their first day. Include things like preferred name, previous employer, alma mater, family, hobbies, etc. Pass this information on to colleagues so everyone has some quick conversation starters when meeting the person.

  17. When you implement a suggestion made by an employee, make sure to let their colleagues and your managers know where the idea came from. Doing this generates respect for the employee and gives you credibility throughout the company.

  18. Help a good employee develop professionally if it's something they're interested in. Suggest specific company training classes, additional education, books to read or seminars they might attend to build their skills.

  19. Ask employees about current work in a way that starts a conversation: "Tell me about what you are working on right now." Listen carefully. End the conversation with a "Thank you."

  20. Be honest. When you make a mistake or can't follow through on a promise, make sure to communicate quickly and clearly with the affected employees. Although they may be disappointed, they will appreciate that you are treating them with respect.


For more information on how BI WORLDWIDE can help your organization focus on employee recognition, visit or contact us at


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John O'Brien

John O'Brien

Vice President
Employee Performance Group

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Employee Performance Group, John O’Brien’s primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of employees to align with customers’ business objectives. An expert in Employee Recognition Strategy, he educates HR professionals around the world on how to best engage their employees through employee engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.