Giving Sincere Recognition for a Job Well Done

Giving Sincere Recognition for a Job Well Done on

Here are five unique ways to reward your team and celebrate their success.


Behavioral economist Dan Ariely gave a TED talk in 2012 about what motivates us at work. It isn’t just money. A McKinsey & Company study backs this up. It reveals that employees would rather get a sincere thank-you instead of a financial incentive.

The team knocked it out of the ballpark. Now you want to reward them for it. Use the insight gained from the two sources above, and then choose one of these 11 ways to reward your team, and celebrate their success.

Things to Consider Before You Choose

Sharing food is one of the oldest and most basic expressions of friendship and common ground. It creates a mood of celebration.

Entertainment is important because it adds flavor to the celebration. Make it interactive, and you increase the reward.

Get your celebration away from the office. Make your team celebration an event.

Don’t require attendance. If the team celebration is meant as a gift, you can’t turn it into an obligation.

Now, on to some new twists on team rewards and celebrations.

1. Take the team out for a meal

But this is no ordinary meal. It’s at your place! Extend the invitation to spouses or significant others. Make it a catered affair, complete with a bartender who can whip up the team’s favorite drinks.

  • What makes this special: It shows a personal level of gratitude.
  • • What pushes it over the top: A special appearance by the head of your company.

2. Go bowling

You’re in for a surprise if you haven’t been to a bowling alley lately. They’ve gone upscale. Your team will enjoy an evening of socializing complemented by drinks and food you might expect to find only at top restaurants not to mention that bowling is just plain fun.

  • • What makes this special: It’s unexpected, and it’s a way to continue team interaction.
  • • What pushes it over the top: Bowling shirt gifts with embroidered team names.

3. Host a cooking class

With a little research, you’ll discover many options. Retail cooking store chains and local upscale supermarkets offer these programs. They’re equipped to help you pull this off. The team can take part in preparing the meal, or they can watch as a professional chef creates it for them.

  • • What makes it special: It’s unexpected. If the team participates in the meal, it’s going to be fun.
  • • What pushes it over the top: You could go with embroidered chef’s hats or aprons as a memento of the occasion. But why not let the team vote on who’s the worst cook, and award that member with a gift of more classes?

4. Take them out for drinks

The looks on the team’s faces will change when you add that this isn’t just a trip to a bar or lounge. You're heading to a bartending academy or a microbrewery. Or, maybe it’s an evening with a wine expert who’ll take team to a new level of appreciation for Malbec. The evening isn’t as much about drinking as it is about education.

  • • What makes it special: Celebratory hangovers are soon forgotten. Learning how to make a good martini is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
  • • What pushes it over the top: A souvenir bottle of the appropriate libation for each team member.

5. Go fishing

Charter a luxury boat for the afternoon. Have a savvy captain and crew who know the waters. Get them to take you out to their favorite fishing spots. Those who don’t want to fish can enjoy the scenery. Those who like to fish can work on the catch of the day. It’s an afternoon of activity and fun, and you’ll end it with a meal back on land. Maybe the entree will be what the team reels aboard!

  • • What makes it special: It’s a quality experience that doesn’t make people feel they’ve given up a free day.
  • • What pushes it over the top: Bring along a photographer or videographer. Turn the highlights of the day into a lasting memory. The only thing that might be better is the biggest fish caught turned into a trophy.

Now that you’ve got the idea…

These five suggestions should have helped you start thinking outside the box. Ways to reward your team with a victory celebration don’t have to break the bank. They only have to be heartfelt.
Just remember the four main elements: food, event, entertainment, and interaction. Here are more ideas to fuel your imagination:

  • A golf tournament
  • A tennis clinic
  • A Texas-style barbecue
  • Salsa night
  • A painting class

Your team probably expects the same old boring victory party. Surprise them.
Make it valuable to the team by making it personal. It’s not about the budget. It’s all about going beyond what’s expected. After all, that’s what the team did for you.