Day to day. Informal. Formal. How do you recognize?

How Do You Recognize? Three Types of Recognition

The dictionary defines recognition as “the state of being recognized,” which is not exactly helpful. To really understand recognition is to understand what the purpose is. Employees who feel good about their jobs tend to perform at a higher level.

Your company can become more successful when you recognize and reward performance that matches your corporate goals. There are three types of recognition that you can use to help your employees reach those goals: day-to-day, informal, and formal.


This type of recognition gives immediate feedback on performance. Some examples of day-to-day recognition include:

  • Saying thank you for a job well done
  • Sending a personal note
  • Giving a pat on the back or handshake

Day-to-day recognition provides employees with the immediate feedback they want and helps build an internal culture. The 6Q Blog gives many wonderful examples of this type of recognition.


Informal recognition is usually given when employees hit milestones. Some examples of informal recognition include:

  • Thank you cards
  • Treats given to staff
  • Copying an employee on a complimentary email sent to the employees’ supervisor

Buying a team lunch for hitting a goal is an example of informal recognition. This type of recognition keeps their spirits up when they’re in the middle of working on a big project.

Employees eating together


Formal recognition is a bit more detailed. You’ll create a program that has structure and criteria that goes along with your corporate goals. Formal recognition has a nomination and selection process, just like what the Oscars and Grammys do. Then you have a ceremony where your employees are honored in front of their peers. Some examples include:

  • Years of Service
  • Performance Awards
  • Safety Awards

Formal recognition is red-carpet style. Formal. Fancy. Big. Typically it takes place at a company event.

Use these three types of recognition with your employees and watch how they help your company reach their goals. Use the types that work best with your employees so you have the greatest impact possible. Recognition is just one tool managers have to build culture in their organization.

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  • Reply Viggo Crowe

    I love that you touched on giving performance awards to those that are displaying exceptional work. My aunt is a manager at a local business and she wants to find ways to support employees. I think it’s a great idea for her to use some plaques as a way to show some recognition for her coworkers.

    at 7:17 pm
  • Reply Levi Armstrong

    It’s great that you mentioned formal recognition as one type of recognition for employees. This type of recognition needs to be held during a formal where awards are given. My mom plans on opening her own small company soon, so I’ll share this with her. I’ll suggest she holds a formal event during her company’s anniversary and provide her top employees custom award plaques to recognize their hard work. Thanks.

    at 8:19 am
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