How to Make Recognition Intentional

Recognition can amplify your culture and foster engagement. But when it doesn’t happen naturally, how can you make it happen intentionally?

We have talked a lot about the power recognition can hold, especially when it is authentic. However, it does not necessarily come naturally. You have to be intentional about recognizing others. We’ve come up with a list of strategies to help you on your journey to intentional recognition!

Set recurring goals

The best way to be more intentional with recognition is to set concrete goals. Set a weekly reminder to spend 10-15 minutes thinking about who you can recognize. Then find a way to deliver that praise, gratitude, or acknowledgement. Tailor your goals to your workplace and position. A goal for a busy manager could be walking around the office daily to say good morning to employees. For a leader of remote employees, it could be sending one card per month to a remote employee’s home. For a front-line employee, it could be recognizing five different people per week.

Recognize the good when you see it

If you see something you like, make sure whoever is involved knows. Let them know in a timely manner and do it frequently. Your employees will feel appreciated and motivated if you offer up recognition for the small things on a daily basis. Best of all, you can reinforce the company values and inspire others to model the positive behavior of your best employees.

Get organized

Create a calendar with employees’ birthdays, anniversaries, and any other important moments. Consider keeping records of who you have recognized most recently. That way you can be sure to spread the “wealth” of appreciation. It may also be helpful to take note of the preferences and unique facts you learn about each employee. Do they prefer private or public praise? What is their favorite snack? What hobbies do they enjoy in their free time? The answers to many questions like these are helpful to write down. After all, we don’t all have the exceptional memory of an elephant.

Utilize your recognition program

If your company has an internal recognition program, use it. If you don’t have one, consider making the investment (which does not have to include a large budget). Many can be tailored specifically to your companies needs. A social platform, points, eCards…the possibilities are endless. You can even set up reminders so you can stay organized and on track with recognition goals. Open the door to not only manager-to-employee praise, but also empowering peer-to-peer recognition.


Recognition can be simple. It can be inexpensive. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a bit of work and intentionality. Without goals, timeliness, frequency, organization, and a solid program, recognition may fall through the cracks. If you haven’t already hopped onto the recognition train, come aboard to start elevating your workplace today!