Employee Wellbeing

Informal Recognition


In addition to the annual university wide event, all managers are encouraged to maintain a culture of recognition and appreciation at the unit level.  Managers are encouraged to establish clear expectations of performance with measures such as:  quantity, quality, timelines and tone and to clearly articulate goals, priorities and expectations. People want to be good at what they do and they appreciate being recognized for their efforts and accomplishments.  Recognition meets the needs of your employees.  Studies have found that most people want/need these things from work: a good boss to make a difference, friends at work, the opportunity to learn,  grow and become proficient, to be respected and treated fairly, clear expectations and honest feedback, to be a part of something important, to be proud of the department and the people and to be recognized for accomplishments.

What can and should be recognized at the Unit level?

    • People who have supported a university value or priority
    • Staff who have contributed to improving a system or process
    • People who serve as a positive role model by helping others be successful
    • For doing the right thing in a stressful or crisis situation
    • For excellence in their daily work
    • For presenting great ideas for improvement
    • People who support a recognition culture through their daily actions and words
    • Things that you want to see more of: good customer service, teamwork, collaboration, attainment of new skills, etc.

Recognition at the Department level should be:

    • Presented in a manner that is genuine and authentic to the presenter
    • Personalized to the receiver – one type of recognition does not meet the needs of all people.  Ask your staff how they want to be recognized.
    • Completely positive.  Recognize and celebrate progress and small wins.  Don’t cloud the process with recognition followed by . . .  you can do better!
    • Specific to the behavior that is being recognized
    • Timely.  Recognition should be given soon after the effort or event to clearly make the connection between effort and recognition.
    • Concentrate on the right things.  You will get more of what you recognize as outstanding or valued actions.  Recognition teaches “what is important around here”.
    • Fun! Celebrate individual and unit accomplishments

High performing teams are made up of high relating people who really care about each other and the success of the department.  Employee recognition and appreciation engenders a sense of togetherness and teamwork which connects people to each other in a pursuit of important common goals.  Regular expression of appreciation leads to job satisfaction, higher levels of self-esteem, improved morale and higher productivity. There are many informal ways to thank people for their efforts and accomplishments.  Browse the following pages of ways to recognize good performance:

Samples of Informal Employee Recognition

Employee Recognition Frequently Asked Questions

Attributes, Behaviors and Competencies of Effective Teams