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Appreciation and Recognition Toolkit

Gratitude has been linked to benefits such as better mood, satisfaction with life, and an “upward spiral in human wellness.” In addition to being helpful, it’s a malleable concept meaning that you can find ways to feel and express gratitude that are a good fit for you. For tips on how to add the practice of gratitude to your team and coworkers read on, and stay tuned for other updates from the UREM Appreciation and Recognition committee.


Appreciation for work others do is one of the core Mountaineer values. The Go Beyond Recognition Portal makes it easy to recognize the people who make our University special. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff have access to the portal. You can:

  • Send e-Cards (with both public and private options)
  • Comment on a coworker’s wall to thank those who’ve gone the extra mile
  • Identify unsung Mountaineer heroes with the touch of an APPLAUD button

How do you get started?

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your WVU username and password
  3. Choose from e-Card, WVU Recognition Wall and more buttons Download the pdf brochure for detailed directions for using Go Beyond.

Hybrid Employees

As we have all adapted to the change in work environment in the last few years, some of us have become hybrid employees. Since some employees now have the opportunity to work both from home and in the office, the way in which we show appreciation for others must adapt to fit both remote and in-person environments. Below are some guidelines from organization BI Worldwide to make sure your hybrid employees feel appreciated and recognized:

  1. Make every interaction count – Interactions that employees have in a hybrid working environment mean more to them now than they did in an office environment at the start of the pandemic.
  2. Make it personal – More than ever, successful leadership involves a strong appreciation of each employee’s abilities, aspirations and how they work best. Success with this rule is critical to achieving all the others.
  3. Make it real, genuine and authentic – Empower your team members to own the recognition that they received. Your employees have an opportunity in every interaction to engage their peers, their managers and even their clients.
  4. Check in – While regularly taking time to say hello to employees and check in with them might seem like an unnecessary drain on manager productivity, these interactions are valuable points of connection for your team and for you.
  5. Conversations – Conversations are a very effective way of strengthening relationships. With Zoom and digital fatigue becoming more common, making a Zoom call with your employees to just “have a chat” can help support individuals.
  6. Virtual celebrations – Celebrating a birthday or service anniversary? Make a video call together for lunch or a drink. Decorate your backdrop, play games, wear hats. Being virtual is a great opportunity to get creative. And remember to treat your hybrid colleagues equally.
  7. Instant recognition – In a hybrid environment where you can’t walk over to a person’s desk to thank them, it’s important to make the recognition instant over video to make it meaningful and maximize impact. Understand from the person you are praising whether they are comfortable to be praised in front of a group (during all-team video meetings), or directly person-to-person on a video call.

Additionally, our friends over at Gallup have some suggestions for hybrid appreciation as well:

  • Start your next team meeting by recognizing someone on the call who did exceptional work in the past week while working remotely.
  • Every Friday, think of three people who really helped you this week. Recognize them privately or publicly, based on your knowledge of what they prefer. (If you don’t know how they like to be recognized, ask.)
  • Find creative ways to make recognition special.

The Remote Workplace Needs Recognition Rituals Too
Good recognition for hybrid employees is essential for workplace success

In-Person Employee Appreciation

Since some employees will still be reporting in-person, it is important to show recognition within the office. Below are some ideas of what supervisors and coworkers can do to show their appreciation.

  • Host a board game/trivia night, ice cream social or happy hour.
  • Take your employees out to lunch.
  • Encourage your employees to get outside and away from computer screens by picking a time for all to meet and walk on the rail trail or around campus.
  • Get together with other supervisors and rent a food truck and invite your employees to grab some food.
  • Bring in treats to the office. (And think about everyone’s favorites!)
  • Spruce up the office and workspace by bringing in new greenery or artwork for a fresh mindset.

Remote Employee Appreciation

Even though remote employees aren’t physically on-campus, we still need to find ways to engage with them and show them appreciation. We may not be able to pass around birthday cards or gather for lunches or celebratory meals, but there are other effective ways to show support and appreciation for remote employees.

  • Work anniversary celebrations, starting at one year
  • Mail them a birthday card or a handwritten note.
  • Treat on you! Send them a $5 or $10 gift card to their favorite lunch spot or coffee shop.
  • Team meetings or social events/pages to share small wins and public thank yous to co-workers. (Our Teams channels are perfect for this!)
  • Write them a LinkedIn recommendation
  • One-on-ones with upper management for achievements.
  • Host a virtual escape room or trivia night.

Remote Employees Who Are Within Commuting Distance to Campus

When considering the best way to recognize and appreciate your employees, you may also recall that some employees have chosen remote work but could still be in the Morgantown area or willing to commute for a particular event! Largely, this group can be recognized in the same ways as other remote employees, but they should also be considered when on campus events are offered. As we know, so many people on this team do so much wonderful work, and they should all be given the opportunity to participate in the events that may interest them. Supervisors can encourage their team to engage with the group if they are able as we all benefit from continuing to build community within our smaller and larger teams.

Different Kinds of Appreciation: Public vs Private

There are many kinds of appreciation that can be utilized in a work environment. The type of appreciation can differ depending on the employee you are trying to show appreciation to. There is public recognition where you are praised in front of others for the work you have been doing. Then there is private recognition, where you appreciate direct supervisors or coworkers to acknowledge your work and appreciate it, but it’s a direct appreciation or personal appreciation and not in front of others. There are many types of appreciation but most fall under public or private.

Here are some links to articles that go deeper into recognition.

  1. Public vs private recognition and how to determine what your employee prefers
  2. Types of employee recognition: The Who, What, When, Where and Why
  3. The main difference between public and private recognition
  4. The importance of recognition (statistics in the workplace)

Some Things to Be Mindful of

  • Talk with your employees and fellow coworkers and ask them how they want to be recognized and receive appreciation. Is it public or private?
  • As state employees, we cannot gift or receive anything over a $25 value.
  • Try and keep things during working hours, or if hosting things beyond the normal workday, provide plenty of notice so others can adjust their schedules.
  • Sweat the small stuff. It’s easy to celebrate the big victories but showing appreciation for all the small things your team does along the way can make a world of difference.
  • Appreciate all the hard work they put in at work and at home. Encourage your team to share their wins outside of work including buying a new home, graduating with an advanced degree, earning a certification, getting married, nailing a new recipe, getting a new pet, hitting a personal gym goal, etc.

We encourage you to recognize all accomplishments, not just the work-related ones, for your employees and coworkers. Appreciating not only the work they do, but the person they are, will give more opportunities to celebrate our team, but also creates a more genuine, authentic and supportive culture where we truly lift one another up.

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