On-the-Spot Recognition

As the saying goes, “Employees don’t quit their jobs. They quit bosses.” Feeling unappreciated by their boss is one of the primary reasons hard working employees leave their jobs. Having a simple on-the-spot recognition program in place can help reduce employee turnover and increase overall employee satisfaction.

On-the-spot recognition might feel awkward at first. It can seem a little silly to “celebrate” simple things happening around the workplace. In reality, on-the-spot recognition, done year-round, inspires ongoing motivation and higher performance. It’s time to make recognition an everyday activity.

Your employees want to be recognized. Everyone from the new hire becoming part of your company culture to the veterans who have been part of your team for 20 years wants to know that they are appreciated.

Employees that receive appreciation on a regular basis are invigorated to continue working hard. Giving praise or saying thanks right after they do a job well helps them to understand what they are doing right and shows your appreciation for their efforts. Their dedication increases and their performance levels improve.

It’s simple to give on-the-spot recognition. Sometimes pat on the back could be all it takes to get an employee through the daily grind.  On-the-spot recognition harnesses the power of showing gratitude. When managers and other workplace leaders share their gratitude, the good feelings of appreciation grow and spread among employees.

Download our Handbook for Happy Employees for FREE Printable On-the-Spot Recognition cards you can use in your workplace!

Download Handbook for Happy Employees


And talk about affordability. Saying “thank you” is FREE! There is no catch to showing an employee how much you appreciate their work with just two little words. Other affordable ways to show recognition include sending an email or writing a note to say thank you or to congratulate and employee on a job well done. A little goes a long way when you share on-the-spot recognition with small gifts of appreciation such as branded merchandise, flowers for their desk, or a lunch out with their supervisor. Here are some on-the-spot ideas you can try in your own workplace:

  • Studies show the first 30 days on the job make the biggest impression. Write thank you notes to employees on their one-month anniversary.
  • When you hear or see a positive comment about an employee, recognize that person in five minutes or less by sending them an email or speaking to them in person.
  • Celebrate diversity by taking your team “around the world” with monthly luncheons or potlucks. Invite employees to share family recipes and bring foods that celebrate their heritage.
  • Use your company’s Facebook page to recognize team accomplishments. It’s a great way to show off your team to prospective clients and recruits.
  • Pick out a variety of low-cost gifts to use for on-the-spot recognition. Try to connect the item to an act. For example, a mini-flashlight for someone whose positive attitude shines in dark situations.
  • Recognize employees in front of their peers. This makes the recognition more meaningful and reinforces desired behaviors to the rest of the team.
  • Post thank you notes around the office and break room addressing the whole staff for a job well done.

Recognition given in the moment can have tremendous impact on your staff. More and more organizations are realizing the value of on-the-spot recognition and have implemented the practice to complement their total rewards strategy. Positive reinforcement throughout the year will energize your employees to perform enthusiastically while achieving their personal and company goals.

National Women’s Health and Fitness Day