Do Your Employee Recognition Strategies Work? Here are some winners!

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We all know that recognition is important and cost effective, but it is easy to get stuck in a rut. Are there some proven best practice recognition strategies?

Over 100 years ago, the Hawthorne Studies demonstrated that recognition, pay attention to staff, making people feel special, and linking rewards to production improved work performance.

Back in the 1950’s, Herzberg demonstrated that recognition was a key factor in motivation and employees feeling positively about their workplace. Being recognized for achievement and being made to feel special not only impacted their feelings about their workplace but had an impact upon their work performance.

HR is always trying to find recognition strategies that are effective and unique. Perfect Attendance, Gotcha Awards, ABCD (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty) are common in healthcare. Let’s not forget the ubiquitous (and mostly unproductive) Employee of the Month program!

We know recognition should be ongoing and continuous. I can’t write about recognition without giving a shout out to some recognition experts. For some great ideas, check out

So what is your most unusual recognition strategy? I am more interested in how you recognize rather than what you recognize. Really cool recognition strategies can be applied to a variety of achievements.

Current Favorite

Here is one of my favorites for what it is worth: name part of the building for an individual or team for a specified time period based upon whatever achievement. Think about it–the “size” of the naming can match the size of the achievement.

Temporary banners can be printed and the room, floor, cafeteria, auditorium, lounge, can be named after an individual or team for 30 days.

We had a ceremony to unveil the banner with the employee and his family. So it was the “John Smith Cafeteria” for the next month, or the “Jane Doe Orthopedic Unit”, the “Henry Smith Radiology Suite”, etc.

You get my point. Anything can be temporarily renamed physically (of course we did not rename the site on directories or permanent signage. We put a temporary banner at the location.)

This is a way to publicly honor achievement. You can imagine how an employee feels going into the cafeteria or other site and see that everyone is seeing his/her name. We also covered the unveiling in the organizational newsletter

Depending upon the achievement, there may have been other rewards but employees loved this! It also could be done within the individual departments for more localized rewards.

I have been using it for years and am not sure where I got it from. So if you deserve the credit, I will try to recognize you is some meaningful way!

That’s mine. If you’ve got a favorite, add it to the toolbox!

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