The act of expressing recognition to a person or giving a tangible acknowledgment of appreciation can be such a quick and fleeting action.
Rarely do these exchanges of emotion and feelings last very long.
If you are not careful you can lose the impact of the whole recognition experience.
You should strive to capture these recognition moments in as many forms as possible. Then the recipient of recognition can relive their recognition moment over and over again.
Your goal is make every recognition experience a keeper.
1. Great Photos: I have the perfect photos on top of one of my many bookshelves. There are two photographs – one is of myself with my fellow milestone award recipients from my department at Rideau for my 10th year with the company. The other one is of our CEO, Peter Hart, with myself that captured spontaneous smile and laughter happening at the awards event. I don’t remember what triggered the smile but I can’t help smiling each time I look at the photo.
It was a truly professional photographer who was able to catch the perfect smiles and action creating immediate recollections of the event and feelings.
- Find a well-recommended photographer who specializes in events.
- Have them take several candid photographs of each person
- Select photos that show the positive energy and feelings of the event
- Groups of 2 or 3 people seem to work the best for a great horizontal shot
- Take photos of people standing as they look better than when sitting
2. Memorable Video: Recording a recognition presentation on video is something that can be replayed again and again. It is obviously a visual and auditory medium that captures far more than a still photograph ever can.
Make sure your videographer has early access to the venue for rehearsal and set up of his or her equipment.
- Have an audio recorder so you have a back up of the recorded sound
- Get the right lighting set up for all the presentations
- Concentrate on close ups so you get the emotion recorded
- Capture as much as you can of the celebration event for remembering
- Create a great edited version and deliver in a timely fashion
3. Favorite People: There is nothing like getting together with your family and friends after an award or recognition event, and recollecting the whole experience together. It is like being at the after-party at the Academy Awards.
Each person will have a different take on what transpired at the event that just further adds to all the magic and fun of the celebration.
- Find out way ahead of time who the significant people are in the recognition recipient’s life who they would like to see invited
- Ensure printed or graphically designed electronic invitations are created and sent out in a timely fashion for family and friends to RSVP
- Have a reserved table or seats for the designated number of guests
- Create opportunities for family and friends to mingle with the recognition recipient prior to or after the event at a reception
- Provide the chance for family and friends to take their own pictures when the recognition or award is presented
4. Meaningful Memento: The ideal memento to relive a recognition experience has to be perceived as valuable and memorable enough to want to be kept by the majority of employees. It should be something symbolic and seen as special and unique. Make sure it is personalized to each person receiving it.
And consider the idea of writing a personal note to accompany the memento from the most meaningful person to the recipient – immediate manager or senior leader – warmly expressing their thanks, admiration and recognition.
- Plan out the recognition mementos well in advance for necessary branding, design and crafting for each person
- Make sure any personalization respects the recipient’s name preferences versus full given name on HR records
- Have the memento front and center in all photographs with recipient and presenter
- Create an aura and story around the memento so it becomes something that is coveted to receive each year
- Send well designed note cards and envelopes for managers and leaders ahead of time with tips for how to write the perfect note to employees
5. Positive Experience: Reliving the receiving of a personal and sometimes public recognition comes primarily from how the presentation experience was planned and orchestrated. It requires examining every facet of the presentation and event before, during and afterwards.
Develop a master checklist for every aspect of the event from inviting, venue set up, catering, photography, memento or award ordering, to which person does what activity and when.
- Don’t take anything for granted when trying to make experiences meaningful, motivational and memorable for people
- Consider all you need to do ahead of the event so you and others can delegate what needs to be for all of the logistical requirements
- You have to be on demand during the presentation so have an assistant with you to keep you and everyone else on track
- Plan what you are going to do to make this experience linger on for the person and have positive memories after the event
- Evaluate how you and others did in achieving your objectives and enabling people to relive their recognition experience
It takes planning and putting a personal touch on everything to make and recognition moment one that is valued. Do whatever you can to help the recognition recipient to be able to relive their experience whenever they want to.
Question: How do you ensure each recognition experience is one that will be remembered and treasured?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.