The days of “you get a paycheck and that’s enough appreciation” are long gone. The primary purpose of appreciation at work is to demonstrate respect and show that you value your co-worker, subordinate or boss. To that end, it’s critically important that appreciation be customized.

Definitions

When showing appreciation, it should be noted that gifts and awards are separate items and events. A gift is an exchange between two people. This is something that should not be publicized less hard feelings amongst other co-workers arise. An award is a public presentation for a particular action on behalf of your entire organization, and should be given in front of other co-workers.

Gifts

If someone steps up and helps you out in a crunch, how do you say thanks? A handwritten note can be a tangible way to say thanks. Another option is to provide your co-worker with a small gift. To determine the best way to gift your co-workers, it’s important to find out what they value. A short questionnaire can be a fun way to get to know your co-workers and find out how they treat themselves.

For example, find out their favorite beverage stop. Are they a coffee fan? A $5 gift card to their favorite coffee stop would be a nice way to add a personal touch. A candy bar, gift certificate to a movie or box of tea bags, when researched and honestly given, can be a great way to show your appreciation privately.

Awards

For the team member who goes way above and beyond, official trophy awards can be a great way to celebrate the effort of your co-worker. If trophies are outside your budget, you can do a lot with a well-designed certificate and a classic yet inexpensive frame. Make the presentation sincere, and any award can be heartfelt and will be appreciated.

Personal Considerations

Many businesses include personality testing in the hiring and orientation process. When planning to give awards to any employees, refer back to this data. While an extrovert may be pleased and excited to be given an award in front of the entire organization, dragging an introvert to that same podium may feel more like a punishment than an award. Do not spring an award on anyone. Give them a heads-up so they know what to expect and can plan accordingly.

We all have a lot to do, and appreciation can feel like another chore without the proper tools. Build a simple questionnaire to determine personal preferences of your co-workers. Utilize the personality testing data available. This data will make it possible to personalize a gift or award and make sure that your appreciative gesture hits the mark.

Author: Kara Masterson

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.