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STAR tips for giving employee recognition and feedback

By September 27, 2018 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

Giving recognition is something that should be taken seriously, and if you are trying to develop a culture of recognition it is important to follow a few basic rules.

First of all, put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and always consider the person being recognised.

Then ask yourself this question. Why are you doing this?

Employee recognition shouldn’t just be a tick box exercise just because you haven’t done much on the employee recognition target or KPI this week or month. It should be because you understand and value the positive impact it can have on the individual, those around them, and also the long term business benefits. It has been proven that staff who receive regular feedback perform more consistently at a higher level than those that don’t receive feedback, and are more likely to stay with you.

Using the STAR acronym might help you remember while you are becoming a recognition expert. This stands for Sincere, Timely, Appropriate and Respectful.


If you don’t really mean it don’t do it. Recognition must be authentic, relevant, natural and sincere. Making an individual feel awkward because you’re not comfortable giving recognition and saying thanks is not ideal. Practice your approach until you feel comfortable. If its sincere recognition you should be able to feel better about giving it in a timely manner. Many companies are turning to online tools to support this, and this gives you the opportunity to give feedback that others will also see.


Planned employee recognition events like meetings or award evenings are OK, but spontaneous recognition must be the main avenue for feedback. Ensure your recognition is given at an appropriate time for the person receiving it and that they aren’t on a deadline or rushing out the door.

That way the person you want to show your appreciation and recognition for is able to engage with you fully about it and feel that appreciation. It would be a shame for a sincere moment of employee recognition to be hurried and not fully enjoyed by the person receiving it just because of bad timing. Again, this can be backed up with an online platform, but these should not be seen as a substitute for giving feedback face to face. They supplement that.


Is the recognition appropriate for the action or behaviour that you are recognising? If an employee helped a team member with a task for example, whilst that’s really great team work and should be appreciated, a simple “thank you” might be appropriate.

However, if an employee has taken on or been involved in a project and completed it when you know their ordinary day job is a challenge at the best of times, a thank you card or nomination entry into a small prize draw might be interpreted as a bit insulting.

The acknowledgement or recognition doesn’t match the effort involved and commitment shown by that employee.  It can help to have a bit of a reference and bench marking guide in the business when it comes to recognition activities and gestures, particularly when any reward or monetary value is involved.

The individual recognition giver and company overall should try to ensure wherever possible that recognition is given consistently and transparently. You may also want to ensure that it is distributed on an all employee basis also. It should be a company-wide activity so no-one feels excluded, that could include part time, seasonal workers and contractors.


Consider the recipients preferences and their personality type. Are they an extrovert or an introvert? They may not appreciate your public acknowledgement if they are reserved or a very private person. On the other hand extroverts often like that limelight so make sure that’s what they get too. It’s also a great way of showcasing to others what the company values and encourages others to behave the same or better.

Hopefully these tips will help you to develop confidence in recognition giving and hone your approach and ability when giving actual recognition too.

At Brownie Points we believe recognising performance and giving positive feedback really works… and we can make it work for you.

Brownie Points is working with thought leading organisations around the world to tailor employee feedback and recognition programs that have a positive impact on the bottom line.

With our growing network of alliance partners we are able to offer cost effective solutions for any business.

To learn how Brownie Points could make a difference in your business, call the team today on + 61 (3) 9909 7411 and book a free demonstration, or for more information email us at


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