20 Informal Ways to Reward Individuals

The following memos and advice outline various ways of recognizing individuals with both formal and informal rewards. They can be used for everything from a quick pat on the back for a job well done, to recognition of individual or group efforts that have made a significant contribution to goals and objectives.

"Pat on the back" awards:

  1. Send the employee a recognition memo from the Manager's Resource Center.
  2. Pop in spontaneously with the CEO or other high-level executive to thank the employee in person.
  3. Hold up an applause sign at the next staff meeting after you mention your employee's successes.
  4. Send out a weekly "Great Achievement E-mail Award" to the entire company acknowledging one outstanding employee.
  5. Award the employee with a "plum assignment"- their choice of what they want to work on for their next project.
  6. Send flowers to one of the less recognized "behind the scenes" individuals.
  7. Create a "Hall of Fame" in the lobby. Put up a picture of each employee of the month, and engrave their name on a master plaque with words of recognition.
  8. Hand out the "Bright Ideas" award for innovative thinking. The winner gets a free dinner, tickets to the movies, etc.
  9. Give the "High Five" award. Pick five people in the department and have them go up to an employee and say "I heard that you did a great job at . . . Good work!"
  10. Give the "Mint Condition" award of silver dollars to all who had perfect attendance at the end of the year.
  11. Offer employees something that complements their favorite hobby (a fishing pole, a golf club, sunglasses).
  12. Pay for your employee to go through a local car wash and get a tank of full serve gas.

Outstanding, above and beyond awards:

  1. Give out the "Golden (symbol of your company or department)" award that outstanding employees of the month can pass off to one another each month.
  2. After an employee has finished a project involving long hours at the office, send their significant other a letter of appreciation and a gift certificate for two at a quiet restaurant.
  3. Hold a monthly "Queen/ King of the Hill" day where the outstanding employee is given the closest parking spot, treated to lunch, and let off early with a gift certificate to the movies.
  4. Pay for the employee and a friend to go to a local all-you-can-eat restaurant, offering them the "Above and Beyond" award for extra long hours on the job.
  5. Offer a "Squeaky Clean Quality Service Award" where one outstanding employee in quality service gets free dry cleaning.
  6. Award the "Lean and Mean" award for cost effective work, within or under the expected budget. Give the recipient a 3 month membership to the nearest gym.
  7. Give an employee the "Gracefully Handled" award when they help the company pull through a sticky situation. Offer tickets for two to the symphony or ballet.
  8. Give an employee the "Golden Research Award" for detailed research they conducted to make a project successful. Offer them a subscription to their magazine of choice.

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