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What are some meaningful ways that I can recognize the members of my staff?


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Recognition is typically one of the most cited reasons that people work yet is also something that most don’t receive. People want meaningful, important work that is noticed by others. Recognition from managers is very important to employees regardless of industry; recognition makes employees feel important.

There are many books available that offer ideas about how to recognize staff in ways that are meaningful but inexpensive. You can find lots of ideas on the Internet. Listed here are some ideas of simple and inexpensive ways to acknowledge the accomplishments and transitions of your staff:

  • Make a big deal to welcome and recognize new staff. Let everyone know when new people will be starting and share their background. Be there on their first day to personally welcome them and introduce them to the rest of the team. Help everyone feel significant. Be sure that one of your expectations is that all staff members welcome new staff and offer their help and support.
  • Think about the manager who does not let the staff know in advance about a new comer who is about to join the team. The new person just shows up and no one knows anything about this person’s background. How important does your staff feel? How does the new person feel?
  • A hand written note of recognition or thanks or congratulations shows people you care. It makes them feel significant. Keep a copy of your note in the employee’s file. Make it timely. Write the note as soon as possible after the event.
  • Share accomplishments verbally with the rest of the staff at a staff meeting or celebration, whichever is appropriate. Public recognition is almost always a motivator for most people (but not for everyone).
  • Spend time with the person; give feedback and coaching, mentor, get their ideas for the future, take the honoree to lunch (birthdays perhaps). They want to spend time with you; it makes them feel special.
  • Provide learning and exposure opportunities. Recognize them by sending them to a workshop and reporting back on what they learned. Have the person attend a managers’ meeting with you or represent you at the meeting.


-Patty Kubus, RN, MBA, PhD