The work we do is hard. It’s important to recognise and celebrate this. You celebrate these achievements to encourage sustained high-quality work and to boost team morale.

In this blog post, I outline my methods to reward exceptional performance.

Team celebrating together Photo by Edmond Dantès:

1. Recognition

I promptly acknowledge outstanding performance privately and publicly. You can do this through email, in a team meeting, Slack, Teams or one-on-one conversation.

I like to recognise achievements during meetings with senior leaders. This not only highlights the talents of colleagues but can also open doors for future promotions or engagements with senior leadership.

Also, don’t forget about contractors. In some places, I’ve observed that people ignore contractors. They are part of your team, so deserve the same level of respect. I remember the first time I messaged a contractor via Slack, and how surprised and appreciative they were of the praise and feedback.

My preferred way of recognising high-quality work is Slack. I share recognition in our daily team communication channel and, broader company channels. It’s important for people across the business to understand the good work taking place. In digital, there’s an assumption that things are easy, but your praise can highlight the complex work it takes to deliver exceptional work. If there isn’t a public ‘Praise’ channel, then create one.

Here’s an example of how to convey recognition for top performance: “I wanted to recognise [Team Member’s Name] for their exceptional effort in the recent project. Their dedication and creativity exceeded our expectations. Their meticulous attention to detail in the coding phase of our project helped us identify and rectify potential issues before they became problems.

Make the recognition as specific as possible.

2. Nominate for an award or a promotion

If you can, nominate someone for an award for exceptional performance. These awards might take the form of certificates, bonuses, vouchers, or small gifts, symbolising the manager’s commitment to their team’s success and strengthening team bonds.

Discussing long-term career goals with the team member and exploring how exceptional performance can leverage career growth are also valuable.

3. Encourage knowledge sharing

After something goes wrong, it’s normal to conduct a post-mortem to learn lessons. Why not do that when things succeed? Those lessons can help other teams in the future.

Share insights via a show and tell, blog post, Slack post or video. This can help other team members learn and grow.

For instance: “[Team member name], could you share with the team what strategies you used to achieve such outstanding results on the project? Your approach might provide valuable insights for our future projects.


These examples highlight the importance of showing appreciation and going beyond the expected to recognise exceptional performance. By incorporating recognition into team meetings and surprising team members with thoughtful gestures, managers can create a positive and motivating work environment.

What if a team member is underperforming? Here’s what to do.