HR & Leadership

How Do You Recognize Your Team for Great Work?

August 4, 2021

When was the last time you told someone they were doing an awesome job? We’re willing to bet that hearing some positive feedback out of the blue totally made that person’s day. Everyone wants—and needs—to be recognized for great work, and it’s something the best leaders do on a regular basis.

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to make your team feel appreciated, we recently asked leaders in the OpenView network to share their favorite ways to shout-out a job well done. Here’s what they said:

“Deliberately create both personal and public moments of recognition. Shout-outs are fantastic when done specifically, but they can be even more impactful when accompanied by a quick personal note/email/call of gratitude. It helps to both praise people publicly, but also make a personal connection and create those impactful moments privately. It’s easy to get disconnected from how meaningful it can be for an employee many layers down, to get a personal note from the founder—but it can really show them that their contributions matter.”
–Dr. Julie Gurner, Managing Partner and Executive Performance Coach at Gurner LLC


“Our team has had a Slack channel specifically to call our members of the team that have demonstrated one of our five core values and have gone above and beyond in their respective role. It’s a small, powerful ritual that not only helps publicly recognize someone for their great work, but it helps reinforce our values and the type of activities we collectively value and celebrate in our culture.”
–Chris de Jong, Director of Marketing at 7shifts


“Recognizing great work is crucial, especially in remote settings. I use three channels to express specific recognition for great work, highlighting the outcome it created: the 1:1 meeting for a personal touch; a written email with relevant leaders CC’ed; and the team/group meeting shoutout to cultivate social praise. This is then utilized in financial rewards when and where available.”
–Anne Hollander, Senior Director of Product Marketing and Growth at Trimble


“Share the results publicly within the team and associated teams/management (i.e., the people who should be aware of the work and who should be able to acknowledge the person’s contributions, particularly when it comes time for reviews, raises, etc.). Also, where appropriate, provide some kind of appropriate thank-you gift—the more personalized, the better.”
–Saeed Khan, Founder of Transformation Labs


“Be intentional about creating time, space, and systems to do so. We use and track all of the giving and receiving on a weekly basis. We also still do a ‘team member of the quarter’ to acknowledge exceptional teamwork and leadership.”
–Ryan Frederick, Principal at AWH


“I’m fortunate enough to have a team of really, really good people. So great work happens a lot. As the CEO, I made a decision to always take a path of encouragement. So when there is a failure, it’s owned by the team and blamelessly presented as team ownership: ‘We failed to hit a number’ or ‘This product update hasn’t hit the mark on engagement.’ This is done via all hands and we own the result as a team, discussing the merits of what was going well and then why it failed.

When something is specifically great, I reach out to those people personally on Slack to thank them for the effort and further encourage them to promote the aspects of the work that made it great or successful to the fellow team members. They will be the future leaders of our company as we grow, so best to start practicing now. I also call out the win in our Slack #winning channel (which anyone can post into). Though I don’t call out the individual, I call out the initiative or objective and say how that was great and point out the aspects which I thought made it successful. The individuals already know I appreciate the outcome and are then excited as the rest of the team share props as a thread on the Slack post.”
–Chris Raethke, CEO at Notiv

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Partner at OpenView

Casey leads the end-to-end strategy & programming for OpenView’s network of industry experts, advisors & corporate partners. Her role is focused on creating connections between founders & their teams and the partners, advisors, board members & events they need to reach their goals. Additionally, she manages the OpenView portfolio peer networks and hosts the #WeeklyWalk series.