What does good recognition look like? We get that question a lot. If you think the answer should be obvious, try to think back to the last time you gave someone recognition that mattered, that moved them, and that actually connected to them in the way you had hoped. It’s more difficult that you think!

I can recall a time that I wanted to tell a co-worker that they really mattered to me, that their contribution was so important, and to PLEASE NEVER LEAVE ME!!! What ended up coming out was some awkward attempt at a muffled “thank you”. I walked away feeling creepy, uncomfortable, and frustrated that the opportunity to make a difference to that person (and to me) was lost on the weird exchange.

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Aside from how you give it, the amount of times you give it is important. According to Harvard Business Review, the praise-to-criticism ratio is important to team and individual effectiveness (not to mention one’s sanity, happiness at work, and frankly liking those you work with). For every one negative comment or piece of feedback, it will take five to six positive ones to overcome. Think about your day today, and think back to the last time you gave positive feedback to someone in any form, much less a productive, effective, actionable way.

So, the question of “what does good recognition looks like?” is good question. Employee recognition and fostering happiness at work can happen on many levels. Inside the Kazoo system (an employee recognition software), we see all kinds. Saying a simple “thank you” versus expressing a genuine note of gratitude are both key, but do very different things to the sender and receiver. We’ve taken a cue from Barbara Fredrickson’s 10 positive emotions research, and then added some of our own to outline all the ways you can say thanks, connect with someone, or continue driving happiness at work through recognition. Having a little fun with real examples taken from real customers of Kazoo, below are ways to send meaningful recognition:

10 Ways to Give Recognition

Who knew you could give recognition on so many levels? Happiness at work is amazingly simple, but as we all know, human emotions are not. Giving the right recognition at the right time can go a long way. Next time you are thinking of recognizing a coworker, the first step is to simply do it! The next step is to consider what matters most at the time, or which emotion you are trying to convey, and get a little more specific with your recognition. The impact can be profound.

I want to close with one question. Comment below and let us know the last time you gave meaningful recognition to a coworker. Mine was yesterday, and this is what I said through the Kazoo system to someone on the team: “Where would I be without you?”

For more ideas on how to recognize and engage employees, click below for the Ultimate Guide on How to Engage Millennial Employees:


Happy GenY Girl
Happy GenY Girl

For related posts about Employee Recognition, CLICK HERE