How Should a Manager Recognize Employees?

When and How Often To Recognize

Managers need to understand how to recognize employees, when to recognize, and how often they should recognize. Most experts recommend using frequent, specific, and timely recognition to show employees that their contributions are valued and appreciated.

When to Recognize
Step #1: Identify the behaviors that should be recognized.

Step #2: Reward the behavior immediately. Prolonging the time before employees receive recognition often diminishes the positive effect.

How Often to Recognize
Daily! Recognition should be exercised daily using tactics such as personal praise, thank you notes, and public praise. This type of daily recognition does not need to be formal or time-consuming to make a positive impact on the recipient.

The frequency of formal recognition should be determined when developing the employee engagement strategy to define which program best meets the core objectives.

What to Say
Preparing to recognize a deserving employee is the most important part of any recognition event. Managers often stop in their tracks just before the presentation because they don’t know what to say. The words used will affect the engagement level of an employee. When a manager can make their employees feel appreciated in the moment of recognition, the employee engagement level will increase!

Take the fear out of this experience by training your managers to effectively communicate their thoughts and feelings. Managers at your organization can use the statements below to help phrase their thoughts in a personally meaningful way!

  • I saw what you did…
  • I appreciate it…
  • Here’s why it is important…
  • Here’s how it makes me feel…

Build Your Action Plan – Train Your Managers to Succeed
Managers can be trained about recognition in a variety of ways. In-person training is the most common, followed by online education. In-person and online training are the most effective because they are interactive. Managers must be able to link the company vision and values to recognition practices. These methods allow managers to see examples and receive direct instruction while they practice.

Provide your managers with the tools they need to implement recognition in a results-oriented way to watch the program succeed.

When building your action plan for manager training, start by establishing the primary purpose of your recognition training program. Follow the steps below to get started.  

Identify Trainees:

  • List the managers
  • List employees, employee groups, or departments

Determine the Training Method:

  • What type of training session is best?
  • What should the trainees be able to do at the end of the session?
  • How will you measure the success of the training session?

What other company resources can help make the training session a success?

Training Matrix
Use the matrix below to plan for the training session:

  • Identify Training Objective
  • Identify Training Format
  • Schedule Training Session

Click here to Download Your Action Plan Template

Training Matrix






Identify Trainees






Identify Training Objective






Identify Training Format






Schedule Training Session






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