Most employees want to do a good job at work and need to hear about it when they do!

Formal Recognition Programs

Managers are encouraged to take advantage of formal recognition programs whenever appropriate. Just nominating someone for an award can demonstrate a deep appreciation for outstanding performance.

SMU's formal recognition programs include:

Service Awards

In addition to these nomination-based programs, the University offers a Service Awards program for staff members. The program recognizes employees at specific points in their service, starting at three years of service. This program is coordinated by Human Resources and managers will be notified when one of their team members is being recognized for reaching a service milestone.

Many divisions, schools or departments hold regular events at which they recognize employees for their service and other achievements. Often service award certificates are presented at these events. Making these events a truly celebratory experience for the recipient can communicate that you recognize their value, promoting retention of committed, engaged employees.

Informal Recognition

Providing recognition on a regular basis supports continued performance excellence and aids in retaining our top talent. Here are some tips to help you provide the type of recognition your employees will appreciate.
  • Be timely. Give her recognition quickly for maximum impact.
  • Be specific! Tell him exactly what worked well and how his action translated into a positive impact. Just saying "good job" doesn't tell him what to repeat in the future.
  • Get to know recognition preferences. Some people like public versus private recognition. Some want to know how their actions impacted the business goals or even you personally.
  • More recognition is better. If you're constantly "filling his bucket" when he does things well, he will listen to you intently when your feedback is more critical.

Positive recognition is a powerful motivator when used well and it doesn't have to take much time.

Questions about providing recognition?

Contact a member of the employee relations team by emailing us at