Tips from a Trainer: 4 Ways to Recognize a Job Well Done

By Laure Pou, Manager of Talent Management Services at UT Chattanooga

laure_pou-webWhat do you think motivates employees more, monetary compensation or recognition?

Many managers believe money is the top motivator and that recognition efforts aren’t meaningful when tight budgets make financial rewards difficult. However, research shows that one of the best ways to motivate employees is by acknowledging them for noteworthy performance.

Here are four ways to help ensure you’re recognizing employee contributions and expressing appreciation in meaningful ways.

Tip 1: Make it a Habitinfo-regular-sched

Get into the habit of recognizing performance in a timely manner by routinely scheduling opportunities for feedback, such as planning one-on-one conversations or adding time for recognition to standing meetings. Remember, you’re scheduling time for your most important investment—your employees.

Tip 2: Focus on the “What,” not the “Who”info-behavior

When recognizing performance, it’s essential to focus on the behaviors exhibited, not just the people. This is especially important when recognizing employees in a group setting. You want team members to see that you’re evaluating and recognizing performance rather than showing favoritism.

Tip 3: Delivery is Key


Be sincere when expressing appreciation for a job well done. We usually can tell when expressions of appreciation are sincere, and perceptions of insincerity can erode trust and damage relationships.

Tip 4: Tie it to the Big Picture

A good way to enhance sincerity is to tie contributions to the operations of the department, division and University. It can be easy to lose sight of why our work matters, and reminding employees of the importance of high-quality work can increase their motivation to continue meeting and exceeding standards.


Are you interested in more tips for recognizing a job well done? If so, contact your campus human resources office for information about available trainings and one-on-one guidance.

“Tips from a Trainer” appears in every issue of For Your Benefit. To read previous Tips, visit