Recognition is an acknowledgment, an expression of appreciation for an individual or a team, their positive behaviours, personal efforts and contributions. When authentic, timely and adapted to the person, recognition can go a long way in enhancing employee engagement. From whom would you most like to receive recognition? What forms of recognition do you appreciate most?

According to Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul E. White, there are 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and they can be used as a process to determine how individuals prefer to be recognized by keeping in mind that:

  • There are different ways to communicate appreciation and encouragement to others.
  • An individual will value a certain language more than another.
  • The most effective communication of appreciation and encouragement occurs when the message is sent in the language of appreciation most valued by the receiver.
  • An individual may have a primary language, as well as a secondary language to consider.
  • Messages of appreciation and encouragement in languages not valued by the receiver will tend to miss the mark.

Summary of the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: A process to determine how individuals prefer to be recognized

Workshop on Recognition and Appreciation in the Workplace

For information about the Recognition and Appreciation in the Workplace workshop offered by HR's Organizational Development, click here.

McGill-wide Formal Employee Recognition Programs

For information on the formal employee recognition programs at McGill click here.

Examples of Local Employee Recognition Programs

Faculty of Medicine - Ovation Awards

The Dean of Medicine Awards of Excellence applaud the outstanding contributions of permanent administrative support staff and technicians from across the Faculty and its schools. Award winners are selected based on performance that goes above and beyond the call of duty. It includes dedication, creative problem-solving, initiative, motivation and the contribution to overall morale.

Student Life and Learning - Employee Recognition Awards

Recognizing the great dedication and work happening across Student Life and Learning, The SLL Employee Recognition Awards honours those who have gone above and beyond to advance the realization of the SLL mission, vision, and values. 

McGill Libraries - Excellence Award for Staff

Many Library staff members make outstanding contributions to McGill's continued success and exceptional reputation. The annually presented Excellence Award - Librarian and Excellence Award - Staff were created to officially honour the extraordinary service, important efforts and achievements of staff members. Each year, the McGill Library will present two individual awards of $1 000 to a librarian and support staff member whose work has had a positive impact on the Library and its users.

Teaching and Learning Services - Biweekly Shout-outs

Names of staff members who have performed an outstanding duty are given a shout-out at the unit biweekly staff meetings.

Building Services (FMAS) - Staff BBQ

To recognize the contributions of the six Building Services units a Staff BBQ is held annually.


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