Using Recognition Items To Improve Your Work Environment

In ever-larger workplaces, it can be very easy for employees to feel lost in the shuffle and unappreciated for their contributions to the organization’s goals. Managers first realized long ago that people want to be treated as more than just a number when they are at work. Employees like to be recognized for their hard work and publicly praised for their dedication.

Employee recognition award

photo credit: TSLAC / Flickr

While there’s never a line item on a profit/loss statement that shows income directly attributed to providing recognition to employees, it is nevertheless an effective investment in employee morale. There are good reasons why these expenditures will pay dividends for years to come as you work to build an exceptional workplace.

Reminders For The Employee

Have you ever sat down to write a list of your awards and recognition? You probably kept thinking of more and more accolades you had achieved over the years, and eventually ended up with a list that was longer than you would have expected.

Sometimes we forget the ways we have been recognized by employers. When that recognition involves a tangible thing like a plaque that can hang near your desk on a permanent basis, it’s much easier to remember that your employer has taken note of your good work. And the easier it is to remember that, the easier it is to feel good about your job and to be enthusiastic about sustaining the efforts that led to the recognition.

When we provide workers with a physical token of their success, they are more likely to feel energized and motivated to continue working hard. That’s where the quality recognition items made by companies like can play such an important role in your overall morale picture.

Inspiration For Others

When someone receives a plaque or other recognition item, think about where they normally place it. It doesn’t usually end up on the wall opposite the recipient’s desk, but the wall behind it or beside it.

Why does that matter? It matters because awards and recognition aren’t just for the recipient. They are also for the other people in the workplace. When you enter someone’s office and see a plaque recognizing ten years of perfect attendance, for example, it does two things to you. First, it should motivate you to attain that goal yourself, and second, it should tell you that the employer cares about attendance enough to recognize it.

Recognition items help to spread the positive impact of a single person’s achievement throughout the organization.

Company Image

That brings us to our last point. If management recognizes certain accomplishments, those goals are clearly important to the organization. The particulars will vary from workplace to workplace, of course; observing a year with no lost-time accidents is not quite as noteworthy in an office as it is in a factory. But the point is the same: This company has certain goals for its employees that extend beyond profits, and we want to recognize the workers who meet those goals.

Where does this take you? First, it maintains that internal momentum toward ever-greater achievement, but it also sends a clear message to customers, vendors, contractors, and even potential employees about what matters in that workplace.


Many managers get caught up in a mindset of only spending money on things that will return money directly to the company. This is good business practice over the short term, but other investments can yield meaningful returns over the longer term.

Recognizing the achievements of workers is great, but adding those few extra dollars to purchase a plaque or other commemoration can have a lasting impact on that employee, those who work alongside him or her, and even on future employees.


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