Have you ever received praise from your boss in front of a group of colleagues? Did you have a supervisor who took your team out to lunch to celebrate the completion of a big project? If so, you understand how it feels to be thanked and appreciated.

Employee recognition is a key driver of motivation and employee satisfaction in the workplace. Recognition of staff for special accomplishments, career service, retirement or other special circumstances can also enhance staff member relations and reinforce desired behaviors.

Consistent, timely, and meaningful rewards and recognition do not need to be costly or time consuming, but they should be a priority, as employee recognition is one of the leading factors contributing to employee satisfaction and motivation. Following are some suggestions supervisors can use to show appreciation for the hard work being done by employees at Duke.

Provide Team Recognition

  • Arrange for a healthy breakfast or afternoon snacks to say thanks, we appreciate you.
  • Hold a special meeting or awards ceremony to celebrate those people in your group with service award anniversaries.
  • Host an off-site team-building exercise.
  • Take your team out to lunch and tell them why they are appreciated.
  • Organize a social outing after work hours, such as tickets to a Durham Bulls game or performance at Duke.
  • Arrange for professional, career and personal development workshops or lunch sessions, such as a presentation by a Benefits representative about retirement planning or a Duke University Credit Union representative about financial planning.
  • Schedule regular 5-15 minute break times for all staff members, the break can be used to take a quick group walk around the office or to do some stretches.
  • Make arrangements to view one of the free films shown on campus through the Screen/Society.
  • Make arrangements to receive chair massages through LIVE FOR LIFE.
  • Pick a theme for each month and do an activity with your staff that relates to it, for example, October is National Cookie Month, so deliver cookies and milk to your staff.

Show Individual Expressions of Appreciation

  • Present the gift given during Duke Appreciation at a one-on-one meeting and tell each individual why you appreciate them.
  • Take one person to lunch each day during Duke Appreciation or throughout the year and talk about their goals.
  • Send an e-card or hand-written card with a special message about appreciation for that individual.
  • Send a letter of commendation to a person who made a difference and copy their boss.
  • Ask your staff member what motivates them and then customize your recognition to match.
  • Keep thank you and birthday cards handy to give out to staff members when appropriate.

Welcome and Recognize New Employees

  • Put up a welcome banner or sign.
  • Make sure they have office supplies ready at their desk before they get there.
  • Give them a small welcome gift, like a coffee mug.
  • Ask about the employee's lunch plans for that week, and make arrangements for them to go out with co-workers.
  • Take the employee on a tour of their office building and Duke's campus.

Give Us Your Suggestions

We want to hear your ideas about the ways you are showing appreciation and recognizing employees at Duke. Submit your suggestions so we can share them with the Duke community.