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Working at CSU

CSU Activities Board looks to increase office recognitions

April 22, 2009

In a world of 24-hour news networks, text messaging and wireless Internet access, the ability to communicate comes easier and faster than choosing your morning coffee. Yet, there are many times when thoughts – good, complimentary, day-making thoughts – go unsaid.

The Colorado State University Activities Board wants to combat this apparent gap in communication by providing you with ideas on how to say “thanks” and “job well done” to the many people you see and work with everyday. These simple and creative ways to acknowledge one’s hard work can not only brighten someone’s day but also has the unique effect of brightening your day as well.

CSUAB’s Top 20 celebration suggestions

1) Bring in your grandma’s favorite dish for a potluck luncheon in honor of your colleague or have a potluck with a theme featuring his or her favorite type of food.

2) Raid your random, miscellaneous, and often overflowing gift wrapping stash (we all have them) and brighten that person’s office/desk/cubicle/door by decorating it with wrapping paper, ribbons and balloons.

3) Nothing says “you’re great!” like nominating that person for a University-wide award like Everyday Heroes.

4) Most of us spend hours each day staring at a computer, so why don’t you send an animated, interactive (and usually free) e-card to break up the monotony of our PC trances.

5) Feature that person on your department’s or office’s website or write a nice article about that person for your area’s newsletter. These are great ways to highlight great efforts.

6) On that note, music never fails to brighten people’s days! Make that person a fun mixed CD or exclusive playlist to enjoy while at work. In fact, the University of Illinois found a 6.3 percent increase in productivity when compared with the no music control group. Take that, budgets!

7) Home-baked goods are always a hit like colorful cupcakes, heartwarming pumpkin bread, chewy brownies or star-shaped cookies. For the calorie counters in the bunch, the healthy, low-cal, and low-fat versions will keep the guilt trips at bay.

8) Make your honoree a handful of “IOU” vouchers or coupons that could be used on a future date. For example: “IOU making copies”, “IOU an office supply run” or “IOU lunch”. The idea is to say thank you for the hard work by helping to take a load off.

9) Show your appreciation with a token of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be big, expensive, or complex. Place a single smiley balloon on the person’s chair, reward them with new colorful sticky notes, or tag a “#1” ribbon on their computer. Who says that once we hit adulthood, we can no longer hand out ribbons?

10) Declare a day to celebrate that person, and no, a birthday doesn’t count!

11) Think outside the box with candy rewards…$100,000 bars, Life Savers, Accomplish’mints’, Smarties, Kudos, “Help in a Crunch”…even those of us on perpetual diets need the occasional treat for a job well done.

12) Go Hallmark on them. Have each member of your area write nice things about that person and stick them in his/her mailbox. Better yet, hand-deliver them. Most people can’t help but smile after the Hallmark fairy has come to visit.

13) Bring in a stuffed animal, trophy or plant to serve as a rotating award within your work unit. Name and define the award (i.e. Thia, the “thank you” thistle). Present it periodically to employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty or let each honoree chose the next recipient.

14) E-mail them or, even better, write that person a letter of praise. Be sure to “CC” his or her boss, manager, or director.

15) Grab a cup of java with someone who deserves a pat on the back, your treat.

16) Make an award certificate for that person with a creative title like “Most Valuable Player” or “Team Cheerleader”. You can even frame it and present it during an office mini-celebration. Side note: Microsoft offers pre-made certificate templates.

17) Gather some free or inexpensive items like movie tickets to the local cheap theater or a $5 gift card for coffee. Give them to someone who deserves recognition.

18) Add a little diversity, say thank you in a different language: “gracias” (Spanish), “xie xie” (Mandarin), “merci” (French), “danke” (German), “Kiitos” (Finnish), “Tack” (Swedish), etc. Note: this only works if the person actually understands what you are saying.

19) Reward someone with a unique magazine subscription like one that relates to his or her career. This new material will likely give them a welcomed change of pace, plus it may lead to further personal development.

20) And here’s to the easiest and quickest suggestion on our list: Just give a from-the-heart, face-to-face “thank you!”

The CSU Activities Board realizes that Colorado State University is full of hard-working, thoughtful, and dedicated employees. We are proud to represent and recognize all of the great things that you do, but we can’t get around to everyone. We hope you found some fun, funny, and helpful hints to join us in our mission of celebrating all of you at Colorado State.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day. When’s the last time you took one to say “thank you"?


For more information on the CSU Activities Board, you are welcome to contact the Board’s President JoAnn Cornell at Joann.Cornell@ColoState.EDU or jump on to our website.

Special note: Some of the ideas above were borrowed from the 2007 University of Washington, Housing and Food Services, Recognition and Retention Committee and were re-presented with our own unique Colorado State flavor.

Contact: Katie Boeder
Phone: (970) 491-0993