Business and Finance.

recognition tips for managers

Recognition IdeasPlanning | Funding Policy


  • timely, sincere and specific

  • relevant to the person

  • appropriate for the achievement

Recognition Tips for Managers

Managers and supervisors can help build employee engagement by noticing, acknowledging and recognizing the efforts, contributions and accomplishments of their staff and colleagues. 

One of the best and simplest ways to find out what forms of recognition are meaningful to a specific employee is to ask.  Find out how, when, where, why and by whom they would like to receive recognition. You can keep a record of what foods they like best, whether they prefer to receive praise face-to-face or in writing or prefer a lunch invitation to a certificate.

The answers you receive may vary by the situation or accomplishment. 

RELATED LINKS: SUN Award | ASU Service Awards | ASU Retirement Certificate
Recognition Training for ASU Managers & Supervisors (a 19-minute narrated presentation)


All ASU employees are encouraged to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of their coworkers.

  • Praise your employee for work well done (privately or publicly, depending on what that person prefers); be sure to state the specific attitude, behavior, or contribution that you are recognizing.
  • Write a note of thanks or send a personal email.
  • Send the employee a SUN Award.
  • Write a letter of commendation and cc the employee’s personnel file and unit/department head.
  • Email a message to the team that describes the employee’s accomplishment and how it supports the unit’s goals and objectives.
  • Publicize the accomplishment of individuals and teams via departmental newsletter or website.
  • Pass on positive remarks about a colleague to that person and their supervisor.
  • Create a wall of honor that displays employee accolades and accomplishments.
  • Create a “Graffiti Wall” with poster board where staff can write notes of praise to coworkers.
  • If funding allows, present a small personalized award to the employee (e.g., coffee mug, favorite food, certificate) as you describe the action that you are recognizing.
  • Create a humorous or creative certificate or award.
  • Tie a balloon to the employee’s chair with a note of congratulations.
  • Bring in food items to celebrate accomplishments
  • Give the employee an opportunity to attend training of his/her choice as a reward.
  • Give the employee the opportunity to participate on a committee, team, or task force of his/her choice.
  • If funding allows, invite the employee out to lunch as a reward.


How a recognition award is presented can be more important and meaningful than the award itself.  ASU service awards and retirement certificates are tokens of appreciation given in recognition of the employee’s ongoing commitment and contributions to Arizona State University.  The goal of any award is to make the recipient feel valued and connected to ASU.

Make the presentation a meaningful celebration that honors the award recipients for their commitment and contributions to ASU.  Involve peers in the celebration to build camaraderie and a spirit of community.  Make the award recipient feel valued.

  • Plan the celebration. Decide when and where to hold the event.
  • Obtain the award or certificate.
  • Plan for refreshments.
  • Invite others to attend.
  • Ask the employee’s supervisor and colleagues for positive input.
  • Consider the personality and preferences of the employee being recognized.  For example, does the employee prefer to receive recognition in a public setting with lots of people or in a quieter setting with the team.

The presentation should contain key information about the employee being honored, including:

  • Recipient’s Name (know how to say it),
  • Employee’s anniversary date and number of years of service and
  • Current job title and responsibilities.

Recognize the highlights of the employee’s contributions and accomplishments during the presentation and specifically describe the impact of the employee’s contributions and how they support unit and department goals.


Financial Services Manual, Policy 420-04
  • Employee nonmonetary awards not exceeding $100 per person (for example, plaques, pens and clothing) may be purchased by departments on nonsponsored/nonstate agency/organizations without VP approval and without notifying HR.
  • Employee nonmonetary awards exceeding $100 per person require pre-approval by VP and dept must notify HR for taxation.
  • Employee monetary awards, including cash equivalents such as gift certificates and gift cards in excess of $25, must be processed through the payroll system as additional employee compensation.