The 6 Simple Secrets Of Giving Employee Recognition

“People crave positive feedback, recognition they put in extra effort, acknowledgement of leaders and peers, the glow that comes with knowing an achievement has been seen, appreciated and celebrated.”
Meghan M. Biro,


When we make an extra effort, we like people to notice. For many people an acknowledgement of the difference they have made is more motivating than financial reward.

Yep, you read that correctly. Many of your employees will feel more appreciated if you thank them for what they’ve done, than if you give them a bonus but say nothing.

That’s why WooBoard gives such a boost to employee engagement – because it’s all about showing appreciation. Shining the spotlight on excellence. Saying ‘thank you’ when it needs to be said.

Of course, the challenge is figuring out when to Woo, and how to do it in a way that’s genuinely motivating. Say too little and your staff may feel unnoticed and under-appreciated. Say too much and your thanks may sound insincere.

So how do you strike the right balance? When should you crack out the Woo – and how do you write recognition that really resonates with the recipient?

For a little help, here are the 6 simple secrets to writing the perfect Woo:


A culture of appreciation boosts morale within a company. So despite the debates about over-praising it’s better to be lavish than stingy with the recognition. But that doesn’t have to mean thanking people for showing up. It means being on the look out for genuine reasons to appreciate people.

If you pay attention you’ll notice the quiet little extras that people do every day. Who always fills up the paper trays or changes the toner in the copier, when everyone else walks away? Who takes the time to make clients feel welcome while they’re waiting in reception? Who stays back without being asked to update your database, so the whole team can get off to a great start in the morning?

The thoughtful daily touches that tend to go unnoticed can contribute as much to the efficiency and performance of your business as those big wins that always get celebrated. Giving recognition for the little things delivers well-deserved praise where it’s due and shows your people that you see, and care about, what they’re doing.


Offices are filled with different personalities. You’ll find that some people sing out whenever they do something special, while others will go about making life easier for everyone without drawing attention to themselves.

A culture of appreciation means noticing and thanking everyone for great work – not just the people who are good at self-promotion. Overlooking someone’s extra effort and forgetting to thank them will be demotivating if you made a fuss of someone else for the same thing last week.


Recognition usually has the most impact when it’s given immediately – because spontaneous appreciation tends to feel more real, while thanks received later can feel like an afterthought.

What’s more, the longer you wait to thank someone for their work, the more time they may spend wondering if anyone has even noticed their efforts – and praising them later may not dispel any feelings of disappointment. So as soon as the job is done (or as soon as you notice what they’re doing), show your gratitude and zap out that Woo.


Your Woo won’t have much impact unless it sounds like you mean what you say. It needs to be both appropriate and genuine, matching the scale of your response to the employee’s effort. A quick ‘great job’ would feel dismissive and ungrateful to someone who’d spent all weekend working to finish a project – but excessive thanks for something small like emptying the shredding machine won’t feel authentic either.

Try to avoid using standard wording for your Woos. You want people to know it’s you who’s thanking them and that you’re not just flicking out an automatic message. While your company probably has its own communication style, it’s important to make sure the Woo sounds like your ‘voice’, too.


A great Woo shows that you’ve really noticed how someone’s work has contributed to the success of your business and that you’ve taken the time to think about your response.

If it’s possible to tie their work to a specific corporate goal then great (‘Thanks so much for all your extra work designing the new website Jack. We’ve seen a 5% increase in conversions already’). But even if you’re giving praise for something less tangible, you can still highlight the impact their efforts have had, for example on the efficiency of the business or the morale of the team. For example:

“Hey Bill, I’ve just realized it’s you who gets in early each day to get the conference equipment online. Because of you we can all get straight to work, and that saves us so much time in that first hour when we’re always under pressure. Thank you for sparing us all a lot of stress every morning. It means a lot, and it really helps keep the team on track.”


The purpose of a Woo is to make the recipient smile and feel good – and the best way to do that will depend on their personality and preferences.

Some people thrive on public recognition and want a big helping of limelight with their praise. Others hate to be in the spotlight, and would get much more satisfaction from a heartfelt private message of thanks.
With WooBoard you can send your Woos to individuals or to whole teams at once – or post them publicly on your company or team wall.

So take the time to get to know the individuals in your team, and find out what would make them feel most appreciated – then choose the type of Woos you send based on what each recipient will like best.

Remember, in a culture of appreciation, recognition goes all ways – not just from managers to employees, but also from leaders to teams and peer-to-peer. Thanks from your peers can mean far more than a manager’s message sometimes – especially if they are the ones who will benefit most from your efforts.

That’s why encouraging and facilitating thanks and recognition throughout your company can have such a powerful impact on morale and overall employee performance.


Kickstart a conversation of recognition. Engage and motivate your employees with WooBoard.
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Photo credit: M Moser Associates

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