How you present your reward and recognition is almost as important as what you recognize and, arguably, more important than what you give as a reward. If in giving the best reward you can afford for a special occasion you simply drop the award off on the employee's desk while mumbling a "thank you" on the way out the door, you've wasted your money and may even have done more harm than good.
Recognition that means anything is given with sincerity and thoughtfulness. It must be treated as special, because that's what it is. It should not be treated as some necessary evil. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. Recognizing an employee is not an end in and of itself. It's a means to an end — making the employee feel valued and reinforcing desirable behavior.
How to give recognition. Generally if something is worth recognizing, it is worth publicizing. Unless you have an employee who is extremely shy and introverted, a little celebration is a good way to bestow recognition, whether it takes the form of a plaque, a bonus, a certificate, or just some words of praise and a "thank you."
Some suggested ways to bestow recognition are:
If the employee is shy and likely to feel uncomfortable, you may choose to
send an e-mail message or a memo publicizing the achievements of the employee
instead of having an in-person gathering.