Recognition Best Practices

How to write a meaningful, impactful recognition

  1. Be specific
    Notice when your team members and peers are doing something well and make sure they know exactly what they did that was so great. Your message should outline the results they contributed to and explain why it was worthy of recognition. This will make them more likely to repeat the behaviour.
  2. Be timely
    Recognize someone as soon as you can after their contribution or accomplishment. As more time passes, your recognition loses impact.
  3. Consider your words
    Language has tremendous power. Choose your words carefully and make your message brief but sincere. Include words like “because” and “as a result” to transition from action to success. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid only sending recognition that says “Thanks for all you do.”
  4. Connect to the bigger picture 
    Use recognition to help employees see that they are valued and an integral part of the success of their team, their department, and the institution overall. Wherever possible link recognition to departmental values and mission.
  5. Equal opportunity
    Aim to have each member of your team be recognized about once a week, and at minimum once per month. Remember that recognitions can come from a peer, a leader, or a client.
  6. Recognize leaders who recognize
    Help increase employee engagement by giving recognition to team members who lead by example and support a “recognition rich” culture.
  7. Say thank you
    Make sure somewhere in your message you include the word “thanks” or “thank you.”

Here’s an example:

Stephen, thank you for your commitment to delivering the leadership report on time. The outlier tracking you included enabled our senior leaders to easily identify our areas of focus, which helps us deliver more impactful programming for our students next year. Great work!

True Blue Recognition Platform

Your central hub for sending informal recognitions and submitting formal staff award nominations. This digital platform is available for all faculty and staff at the University with a UTORID (appointed and non-appointed). On this platform you can acknowledge a peer for their stand out daily contributions or nominate your colleagues for an award.

Send recognition