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Instant 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. Our instant recognition collection makes it easy to recognize employees. Get budget-friendly instant recognition now!

Instant Recognition

What is Instant Recognition

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 acknowledgment 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. Affordable and popular, Recognition pins can be pinned to clothing or partition walls as a constant reminder of their commitment.

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 Acknowledgment.

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.

Tips for Using Recognition to Develop Top Performers

It's been said that you can get where you want in your career by helping other people get where they want in their careers. This is why leaders must recognize the people that make it happen. Recognition allows leaders to send performers the message, "You are getting where you want to go." This message is heard by the performer's co-workers, boss, friends, family and everyone else in the room (or that hears about it later).

Get the message out and keep your top performers on the right track by using these recognition tips for leaders.

Leaders that do not recognize will fail. The leader that recognizes will develop leadership in others, and take them to a point that they would not reach on their own.

Leaders need to be directly involved in the process. Don't just delegate to marketing or HR.

Recognition needs to be given a context that the leader creates. Decide where the group or individual needs to go, then reward them accordingly.

Recognition awards need to be given by the leader. Describe the award and give specific examples of what the recipient did to earn the award. 178% of quota is not good enough! Tell about the demanding customer, the flaming hoop that was navigated, or the competition that got beat.

Awards can't be stale. The same old plaque does not work, change it up and make it fresh!

Don't fail to recognize your staff! You may need to cut your budget and wait until things get better to get the bronze sculpture, but you can't just skip doing the recognition until then.

Let awards be agents of change. Recently I met with a customer that was experiencing tremendous change and needed employees to act differently. I suggested that in the next North American meeting they recognize the people that had already begun to "get it" with some special awards.

Recognize spontaneously! Don't feel that it needs to be announced way ahead of time. When someone deserves to be recognized, just do it!

Don't worry about people that are not doing a good job getting their feelings hurt. Tough for them! You will undermine your entire operation if you don't recognize people doing well because of the people that are not doing well.

Play an active part in award giving as the leader. It's worth repeating! Be inspiring! Other up-and-coming staff will want to be there too.

Don't let people take their awards and hide them. Get mileage by making it a rule that they must be displayed at least for awhile. This will encourage the people that feel that displaying their awards is "cocky." Follow up with a voice mail or e-mail to express again how pleased you are.

Have winners make a speech. (Too many people skip this, and lack of time is a bad excuse.) The speech should include a thank you, a description of what the award means, advice to others, and should end with another thank you.

In addition to sending strong messages about performance, your recognition skills will also send a message about who you are as a leader. You'll send the message that you are a developer of people, someone who gets excited about others' personal progress and success.

"Good Job!" Recognition Training Benefits & Tips

Many of us have been eager to recognize a coworker for an achievement and struggle to find the words to best express our appreciation. Often, we resort to the old stand by, "Good job!" as we pat the person on the back and hurry along, leaving them wondering, 'Good job? What did I do right?' Since general comments do not communicate what actions took place, that person is unable to repeat the desired behavior, defeating one of the goals of sharing praise and recognition.

Managers' intentions are good, but without training, many do not know how to recognize their employees effectively. The ability to motivate others is a natural gift for some people. It is part of their personality. For the majority of supervisors, sharing effective recognition is a leadership skill that needs to be developed.

An emotional link, between the employee and manager, is important to motivating a higher level of performance. Too often, managers only provide feedback when there is a problem, leaving many achievements unnoticed. Loyalty and trust develop when employees receive appropriate amounts of both coaching and recognition.

One recognition survey found that 90% of employees stated, "Receiving recognition motivates me to improve my job performance." Yet, only 47% of those surveyed said, "My manager provides ample and effective recognition." The results demonstrate the critical role supervisors play and the importance of training.

Informal verbal recognition is powerful. It is the most important aspect of recognition because it has the potential to reach the largest number of people, with the greatest personal impact, at the lowest cost.

The next time you have the opportunity to recognize a coworker, keep these tips in mind to create the greatest impact:

Timely Recognition - One of the keys to effective recognition is recognizing the person immediately following their accomplishment. Delayed mention of the event is similar to a belated Birthday card; it is perceived as an afterthought and loses its value. Make time for recognition.

Specific Recognition - Share specific details of the employee's accomplishment. Repeating their story identifies they key aspects of the achievement and motivates them to repeat the desired behaviors. It also let's them know that you really understand the level of their contribution, which adds sincerity to the message. Tie in the impact their efforts have on the company, customers and the rest of the team.

Earned Recognition - In order for recognition to be effective, it must be earned. Many managers think it is a good idea to recognize employees who are struggling in hopes of motivating them to improve. Their intentions are good, but the results are detrimental. Doing so reinforces the wrong behaviors, condones poor performance and may discourage the high performing employees. Instead, privately ask questions to determine the root cause of the issues and encourage the employee. Once they have improved to a higher level, recognize their achievements.

Sincere Recognition - Be sure you know how to pronounce the employee's name correctly and familiarize yourself with their job and above & beyond contribution. This may sound obvious, but a mispronounced name or the wrong information will be perceived as insincere. The tone of your voice should be upbeat and genuine. Positive body language is essential, so smile, make relaxed eye contact and enjoy yourself!

In today's competitive and challenging business environment, innovative companies realize the importance of training managers responsible for their most important asset...People.

Top 10 Ways to Use Instant Recognition

  1. Cost Savings Programs. Reward those who come up with ideas to save your organization money.
  2. Peer Recognition Programs. Have employees submit co-worker's names for exemplifying company values.
  3. Emphasize Efficiency. Offer incentives for ideas to streamline processes.
  4. Recognize Above and Beyond Customer Service. In tough economic times, service can be your winning edge - and appreciated employees pass on the positive spark.
  5. Encourage Team Efforts. Reward teams that pitch in to help other departments and reach beyond their assigned roles.
  6. Acknowledge Great Attitudes. Those whose positive demeanors keep morale high should be rewarded.
  7. Recognize Big Ideas. Foster a climate of innovation and vision with incentives.
  8. Personal Encouragement. Affordable cards with personalized or handwritten notes do wonders for morale.
  9. Anniversaries or Promotions. Treating employees with respect and recognizing their efforts increases job satisfaction and employee retention.
  10. "Collect Them All" Programs. Offer incentive programs where larger rewards such as time off, free lunches and more are achieved each time an employee accumulates a pre-set number of cards, certificates, pins and/or medallions.
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