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How to Give Effective Employee Recognition, Illustrated

The Anatomy of Great Employee Recognition graphic -- displays a piece of employee recognition that is personal and authentic, timely, specific, and tied to impact

Want to give effective employee recognition? It’s as simple as 1-2-3-4!

Elements of effective employee recognition

1. Effective recognition is personal and authentic

Want recognition to make an impact? Make it personal. Mass celebrations (like service awards ceremonies) don’t cut it for employees. In fact, only 14% of employees find those awards motivating. By contrast, 81% of employees say they feel motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for them, personally. (And peer recognition works, too!)

So make employee recognition personal and authentic. In the example above, Akim recognizes this about Neha: “Neha, they say that great players make everyone better, and I see you consistently doing that with others on the Sales team!”

So say what you appreciate about the recipient specifically. Which leads us to…

2. Effective employee recognition is specific

What did you appreciate about the recipient? Include it in your employee recognition. “You’re awesome!” is less resonant and meaningful than “I saw you overcome your fear of personal speaking and give an incredible demo to our new CSO. It answered all his questions and knocked his socks off!”

A good rule of thumb is, “If the employee looked at this recognition a year from now, would they know what it was for?”


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3. Effective employee recognition is timely

Give employee recognition when it counts — in the moment! Or as soon after the moment as possible. In Akim’s recognition above, he notes that Neha helped Ryan yesterday.

Pro tip: If giving employee recognition isn’t second nature for you, try creating a calendar reminder each Friday morning to think back and recognize an employee or coworker for something they did in the past week.

4. Effective recognition is tied to impact

This is the easiest element to miss, and the most important. Be sure to explain not just what the employee did that you were impressed by, but why it’s important. This could be as direct as, “You helped us meet this KR or land this account,” or something less measurable but still impactful, like, “You’re an inspiration to the rest of the team.”

Got it? Good! Now go give some life-changing employee recognition!


Make employee appreciation easy with Kazoo

We hope this guide helped you understand how to give effective employee recognition. And if you like what you read, let’s talk.

Because at Kazoo, we’re passionate about bringing together all the tools you need to make work work better for everyone. That’s why the Kazoo Employee Experience Platform brings performance management and recognition and rewards — including Goals, Feedback, Conversations, Recognition, Incentives, and more — into one simple, easy-to-use platform.

If you’re ready to align, connect, and engage your workplace, check out our Kazoo overview. Or, schedule a personalized demo today.

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