9 Ways To Boost Your Recognition Program

Recognizing individuals or sub-teams when they do something awesome can be surprisingly difficult. Time may be a factor—rarely are there extra moments floating around for identifying exceptional efforts—and so is the simple act of identifying those who have gone above and beyond in their pursuit of excellence. But a few simple strategies can keep your Project Team’s recognition program going strong.


1 – Get the rest of the team involved. The project office leadership groups shouldn’t rely solely on their own observations to determine who’s performing beyond expectations. Instead, this is a great time to involve the entire team in the recognition efforts. Encourage others in the Project Team to nominate fellow team members when they spot someone being a superstar.

2 – Make recognition a regular habit. Rather than allow other activities to push employee rewards down the priority list, Project Teams should build time into their routines for an ongoing recognition program. It doesn’t need to be frequent or elaborate, but it should be something that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

3 – Recognize individual acts along with overall results. Focusing too much on rewarding final outcomes could cause the leadership team to overlook specific efforts that are themselves worthy of praise. Look for standalone acts that go the extra mile.

4 – Pay attention to vendor comments. Some of your team’s best insights may come from its trusted business partners. If a consultant mentions a project management training‘s near-heroic efforts that led to resolving a scheduling snafu, for example, it could be a prompt to recognize that team member’s work.

5 – Acknowledge the accomplishments of an entire sub-team. When a sub-group’s accomplishments are top notch, consider recognizing them not only for what they have achieved, but also for their high-performing teamwork.

6 – Be creative with your recognition. Some organizations allow employees to be awarded with an extra day of vacation. Others let employees choose an item from the company rewards program. Even if your organization doesn’t offer anything official, you can still personalize how you recognize a PMP®’s efforts. Perhaps you could provide them with a week’s worth of lunches from a nearby deli (giving them the opportunity to select their favorite menu items, of course). Or maybe you treat a baseball-loving sub-group to an afternoon at an MLB game. Sometimes, the recognition that employees value the most doesn’t need to cost anything. Swapping a cubicle across from the copy machine for one that’s a bit quieter or tuning the radio in the lunchroom to their favorite station for a week may be surprisingly popular perks.

7 – Offer more work. For highly competitive PMP®s, the chance to spearhead special internal projects (the implementation of a new intra-team communication platform, for example) can be seen as a huge reward as well as a strong incentive. To recognize a sub-team’s performance, consider offering them the chance to perform a skit at the company picnic or a Project Team-level event. Be sure you know employees’ personalities so this doesn’t inadvertently turn into punishment.

8 – Invite the employee to present details of their achievements at the next executive meeting. Unless this would make the individual uncomfortable, it may be a fantastic opportunity for them to toot their own horn and receive some encouragement straight from the organization’s top leaders.

9 – Create an unusual gift. A plaque is good, but something that speaks to your team’s personality is better. Everything from goofy sunglasses to a broken caster from a desk chair mounted on a block of wood could be used to reflect the inside jokes and ongoing challenges running through your Project Team.


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