The 3 Rs of Employee Recognition Done Right: R2 to the rescue!

In this 3 part series, we’ll be taking you through the pillars of employee recognition broken down into 3 key focus points: Realize :: Recognize :: Repeat.

The Second R: Recognize

Imagine a succulent steak cooked to perfection with your favorite side dishes served steaming-hot on beautiful china & white linens on a neatly-set table. The waiter pours the perfect beverage to accompany your meal. Now imagine that same piping hot steak served on a garbage can lid in the alley out back.

Do the setting & presentation make a difference in your experience? The same concept applies to your employees’ experiences when you present them with their awards. That’s why the 2nd “R” of Recognition Done Right (“R2”) is Recognize.

In this installment, we reveal key concepts that will help you Recognize your employees in the most effective way possible.

Without further ado…

R2 to the rescue! (Let the nerdy Sci-Fi jokes begin!)


Did you know your employees’ levels of engagement will closely mirror (and NEVER exceed) that of their leaders? If your team sees your recognition program as something that is important to you, it will be important to them. So make a HUGE deal awarding your winners in a public setting.

The biggest company meeting you can come up with each month that involves the most team members- THAT’s the one you want. If this scenario doesn’t currently exist, make it exist. It’s that important.

“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.” —Abraham Lincoln

Take a picture of the management team with the winning employee and their award. Make the most of their “moment in the sun.” Then give the employee a copy of the photo so they can remember their special day forever! We can tell you from experience pictures make awards ceremonies feel WAY more official, increasing the trophy value of each award & that of your entire recognition program.


Yes, we just said presentation is everything, but timing is just as critical! Recognition doesn’t age well, so the sooner your team members get that pat on the back, the more impact it will have.

The reasons you Recognize them will be more closely tied to the behaviors they exhibited & will go a long way toward reinforcing that behavior.

Keeping your monthly recognition monthly & awarding winners as quickly as possible once the month is over maximizes the impact of your appreciation & proves to employees how important it is to your team’s leaders. Falling behind with your recognition program (and worse, staying behind) has the opposite effect.

Unfortunately, poor planning often robs managers of this enormous opportunity to show employees how important recognition is to the management team. Recognizing employees daily & on-the-spot is essential too and MyEmployees provides tools for that: Spot-On!

Click HERE to order your Spot-On kit or get a refill!!

Need more proof that timing is indeed as critical as we’re making it out to be?

Think about this analogy: A 12-year-old has just shown responsibility by taking out the trash, a behavior the parents would like to see repeated.

Would they wait three months or more before saying “great job”? Not if they want it to happen again during the next three months.

Planning the best time & place to properly Recognize your winners is an integral aspect of any employee recognition program’s success. But there’s one more factor that could be a deal-breaker…


Beginning to see the pattern with how crucial all of these things are, and how they all work together? Ever hear the old saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it?” Sincerity is the ultimate follow-through with the ultimate payoff.

Awards are great tools to help express appreciation, but to harness the full power of giving an award, the person presenting it will need to be sincere. The presentation is where it all culminates; one of the most significant & public opportunities to create “Patriot” employees instead of “Mercenaries.”

Our CEO, Dave Long, addresses this principle in his bestselling book, Built to Lead: If you show your employees that you “genuinely care about them,” they will “appreciate you in return.” They will be “loyal to you and to the company.”

If your leadership team invests time to set proper criteria for picking winners, measure employees’ performances, purchase awards, and set an appropriate time & place to award your winners…

Don’t waste all that effort by having someone casually or insincerely present your team members their awards!

The awards may still have some benefits if you’re doing everything else right, but not near the impact they could have.

Recognition must come from the heart, not just the teeth.

If your heart is in the right place, it will be apparent, as will the benefits to your winners & whole team. Anyone presenting an award should want to be doing so & for the right reasons.

Here’s another tip for painlessly achieving sincerity: Explain precisely WHY each person is being recognized. Getting specific makes recognition more meaningful AND (when done publicly) reaffirms what it takes to win for your entire team!

“Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”  —Sam Walton

Want more advice on how to make your recognition more specific and meaningful?

Check out this popular & helpful article: The Audrey Hepburn Guide to Employee Recognition

The 3 R’s of Recognition Done Right (Click on each to learn more)




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