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Balancing Instant and Formal Recognition

Now & later: The benefits of balancing instant recognition and formal recognition.

A vast majority of businesses present their key contributors with traditional formal awards at the end of each year. The value of recognizing their best in a special meeting or ceremony is unquestioned.

While their numbers are growing, fewer organizations incorporate consistent instant recognition into their award and motivation programs. The mere fact that this approach to recognition is somewhat informal does not, however, diminish its importance.

The truth is both instant recognition and formal recognition play very different roles in motivating your staff and, consequently, both are key elements of a well-balanced award program.

Catch Them in the Act:
Instant Recognition Creates Positive Energy.

It's often the minor adjustments, small improvements and extra efforts that lead to the biggest changes. These are the ideas and actions that not only affect your business' bottom line but also help to solidify your organization's culture. Given the amount of influence these seemingly insignificant events can have on success, it's important to make sure they don't go unnoticed.

By recognizing these special contributions when they occur, you're not only fostering an environment that offers instant acknowledgement of above-and-beyond thinking but also endorsing the value of initiative and creativity among your entire staff. An awareness that initiative is frequently rewarded throughout the organization creates a positive energy that encourages every member of your team to remain focused on continuous improvements as they perform their day-to-day responsibilities.

Regardless of how you choose to acknowledge these accomplishments, you can be sure that the effect of instant recognition on the recipient far outweighs the financial investment:

Keep it simple and heartfelt. Send a recognition greeting card with a handwritten note of thanks.
Take a lighter approach. A uniquely shaped stressball with an imprinted motivational message lets them know you appreciate their hands-on attitude toward their job.
Give them a chance to display their pride. Recognition pins can be pinned to clothing or partition walls as a constant reminder of their commitment. Affordable miniature acrylic "awards," like our Mini-Raves, are also becoming increasingly popular.

Make a Big Deal:
Reserve Formal Recognition for Longer-Term Achievements.

At the most basic level, formal awards give you the opportunity to publicly display your appreciation for the outstanding accomplishments of your key performers. While the importance of this function cannot be underestimated, formal awards also operate on several other levels.

By acknowledging significant contributions that have required a more sustained commitment, these awards demonstrate your organization's commitment to dedication, passion, continuous improvement and an ongoing focus on excellence. In addition, they allow your organization to create role models that other staff members can look to as they strive to make their own important contributions. This aspirational aspect of formal awards serves to bring out the best in the emerging talent within your organization.

With hundreds of unique designs, a variety of materials and a wide range of price options to choose from, you're sure to find formal awards that meet your needs.

Capture their attention with acrylics. Many exciting new processes and original designs have made acrylic awards an attractive and affordable choice for many organizations. Full color acrylic plaques, a current popular favorite, incorporate beautiful photographic images into the classic plaque format.
Take an artistic approach. Finely detailed sculpted resin awards in eye-catching faux wood, bronze and stone finishes add a refined yet earthy element to your award presentations.
Make a statement. Crystal awards are the ideal choice when it's time to recognize your most important honorees and achievements. Choose a notable new design that will serve as an impressive focal point on any desk or credenza.

Cultivate an Atmosphere of Acknowledgement.

Building a culture where achievements both large and small are recognized on a regular basis lets every member of your team know their contributions are valued. While affecting cultural change can be daunting, balancing formal awards recognition efforts with a continuous instant recognition program will put you on the path to creating an atmosphere of acknowledgement throughout your organization.