Exercise spontaneous gratitude with employee recognition!

Photo via Jodi Green, Flickr

Employee recognition boosts workplace engagement, productivity and—ultimately—your bottom line. But if you want employee recognition to be memorable, surprise your staff!

Joris Luijke,  Squarespace’s “VP of People,” wants employees’ Squarespace experience to build lasting, positive memories.

In his article, “HR folks – Try this surprising way to make people remember your hard work,” he names two key elements to this goal:

  1. Employees must experience an environment where they are able to do their best work.
  2. Employees need to remember that great experience.

According to Luijke, we quickly forget great moments, whether they occurred at a company holiday party or during a positive project experience.

So how are we supposed to build lasting memories? With a surprise, of course!

Surprise Creates Lasting Memories

When you remember something clearly, it’s probably because a surprising element sparked your memory. “You would have definitely remembered the company party if your manager was breakdancing on the dance floor,” Luijke jokes.

When something surprising happens, you create a clear and long-lasting memory.

The Importance for Employee Recognition

Creating those lasting memories is important! The time, energy, enthusiasm, and resources that people invest in creating inspiring work environments are worth remembering“That,” says Luijke, “is why we want to constantly surprise our people.”

Surprising Experiences

Squarespace rebranded its office administration team as the Experience Team, which develops positive and surprising employee recognition experiences.

“These experiences can be small, like surprising people with ice-cream on a hot summer day, or organizing unannounced in-office events, sending new parents a big baby-basket, or ensuring that everyone is supplied with a gift to take home on Valentine’s Day.”

There are also formal employee recognition events, such as a Friends and Family Day, with games, treats, and surprises for adults and kids alike. The team also provides tools for managers to surprise workers and for employees to recognize each other, including:

  • Enabling managers to take their teams out for quarterly meals or group activities
  • Offering an online portal where managers can easily arrange a team event
  • Encouraging group encouragement via online workflows where employees can submit “Cheers” requests to surprise colleagues with a small gift and a personal note

Surprise Guests

A visit from a celebrity to cheer workers on—whether it’s for a important project or a fundraiser—is certainly a welcome surprise. To recognize employees for participating in its breast cancer fundraiser, Kohl’s invited Donald Driver to visit its corporate office, as reporter Rachelle Baillon writes in “Kohl’s Workers Get Surprise Visit by Packers legend Donald Driver, But Why?

“Driver’s visit appeared to have the intended impact — adoring fans hung on his every word.”

There’s an App for That

Instant employee recognition always surprises and helps employees remember that you value their contributions. Technology makes it easy! Communication firms like Melcrum and Telefonica offer on-the-spot recognition apps.

In “How to Use Technology for Instant Employee Recognition,” Melcrum references Telefonica’s senior internal communications manager Jennifer Hayward-Haines:

“We’ve created an app, Recognise_D, that works on any smart device—be it phone or tablet—as well as on a desktop. It allows all employees, regardless of geographic location, department or role, to instantly recognize colleagues who have gone above and beyond according to certain behaviors.”

Managers or colleagues can instantly send kudos to each other, and make a game out of counting how many they send and receive.

For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of workplace engagement and appreciation, be sure to download our free eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving” today!


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