by Roy Saunderson | April 01, 2013
When giving recognition to people, our task is to make this act as memorable of an experience as possible. Unfortunately, improper execution of recognition giving can kill the moment. When we recognize employees, we need to be thinking more about what the recipients would like to have happen, and make sure they know that this recognition is genuine. These top 10 tips will guide you in giving real, authentic recognition.
 
1. Never Give a Gift or an Award Alone
When any tangible gift or award is being given to an employee, accompany the presentation with an expression of meaningful words of acknowledgment. Make the words of appreciation, whether spoken or written, the icing on the cake — even the cherry on top.
 
2. Be Consistent in Giving Genuine Recognition 

Research shows that consistency in the giving of regular and meaningful praise and acknowledgement is just one way that demonstrates authenticity. Employees repeatedly tell me that authenticity in the recognition and praise received is essential.
 
3. Take Extra Care of Delivery and Presentation
Let’s say you know what you’re going to say or give as an act of recognition. However, it is equally important to make sure you do it right. Orchestrate the presentation in every sensory way possible to make sure that the recognition experience special.
 
4. Respect a Person’s Individual Preferences 

Sit down with the recognition recipient ahead of time and learn how they like to receive her recognition. Discover whether they would prefer to receive the planned recognition publicly or privately and then respect her preferences. Some people prefer just a small, private affair. Others prefer to celebrate their recognition publicly.
 
5. Find Out an Employee’s Likes, Dislikes, and Personal Wishes
Always remember how you want an employee to feel with the recognition being given. Determine what is meaningful to each person. Get the “right” person to make the presentation for the recipient. With a little more thought and planning, recognition will always be well received.
 
6. Be Sensitive as to How You Say Things
Represent yourself and the organization properly with what you say to people and always be mindful of remembering the individual. Think about your choice of words carefully, and use an appropriate tone of voice when speaking to people.
 
7. Get Ahead of the Generalities and Be Specific 

When you’re giving recognition to a person, tell them specifically what it is that he has done that merits being acknowledged. Too often we just use trite, short, general statements like “well done!” or “good job.” Instead, pull out the stops and thank him for everything he has contributed.
 
8. When You’re in the Room, Be in the Room

Authentic recognition is also demonstrated when givers show genuine excitement and enthusiasm toward the recipient and her contributions and achievements. Recognizers need to give their complete attention to the person and celebrate what she has done.
 
9. Bring the Difference the Recipient Has Made Front and Center
Always tell the recipient, and share with those present, specifically how that person’s contributions have made a difference to his peers, his customers, or to the company as a whole. Share an account of how that individual’s actions have impacted others.
 
10. Never Forget the Importance of Using Someone’s Name

Make certain you are using the person’s preferred name and not just her given name. A person’s name is music to her ears, so make sure you are pronouncing it and have it spelled right. Remember to use her name as often as is appropriate in the presentation.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and Chief Learning Officer of the Recognition Management Institute, a consulting a training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at [email protected]. Also, tune in every Tuesday to his radio show, Real Recognition Radio