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Employee Recognition

How To Use Staff Shoutouts To Provide Meaningful And Timely Feedback

Nathan Ojaokomo

As teams work across regions, offices, and from home, ensuring employees feel included and rewarded for their efforts is more critical than ever. 

Although many organizations run some form of employee recognition program, they often fall flat, feel hollow, and waste scarce resources. Many programs become simply another box for managers to check. Some end up favoring a select few, thus leaving the rest of the employees feeling left out. 

How can you ensure every employee feels appreciated for their work?

When properly implemented, staff shoutouts are one of the most effective means of keeping employees engaged and happy. Employee shoutouts make employees feel valued and recognized for the work they do.

This article will discuss all the essential things you should know about staff shoutouts, the benefits of company-wide shoutouts, and how to create a meaningful staff shoutout program.

What Is A Staff Shoutout?

A staff shoutout is a casual way to recognize employees for their contributions and hard work. 

Employee shoutouts can be about anything:

  • Sending thanks to individual staff members for their work
  • Birthday or wedding announcements
  • Sending encouragement to an entire team for successfully carrying out a task

Think of these shoutouts as the equivalent of standing on a desk and letting everyone know something good about a coworker.  

Shoutouts can be highly effective at making employees happy and productive — as Gartner reports that recognizing employees can lead to an 11.1% increase in their performance.

What Are The Benefits Of Writing Employee Shoutouts?

Employee shoutouts are a way to recognize your staff and thus offer the same benefits as recognizing your team frequently.

Research across the years has produced consistent results regarding the benefits of this kind of recognition.

Here are some of the attractive benefits. 

Increased Productivity

Employee productivity is an essential component of a healthy workplace. However, building a business where things get done and goals are met can take time and effort.

This research paper confirms that workers are more productive when they experience gratitude from coworkers and managers. Another report reveals that groups work better when members believe they are respected and appreciated by their colleagues. 

Higher Level Of Engagement

A Gallup survey of thousands of employees across the United States, UK, and Ireland revealed that when employee recognition hits the mark, employees are:

  • 73% less likely to feel burnout very often.
  • 56% less likely to be looking for new job opportunities.
  • 44% more likely to be ‘thriving’ in life overall.
  • Five times as likely to feel connected to the company culture.
  • Four times as likely to be engaged.
  • Four times as likely to recommend their organization to others.

Based on these results, it’s no wonder more companies are interested in how to improve recognition. By investing in something as small as a staff shoutout, companies will be able to receive a myriad of positive benefits.

Promotes A Positive Work Environment

Shoutouts breed positivity at work. And positivity is critical to the success of an organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a negative workplace atmosphere costs companies $3 billion annually.  

So, use shoutouts to build a positive environment and save costs. When you praise workers regularly, they’ll consider the company a part of their lives. They are thus more inclined to go the extra mile when carrying out their tasks. 

You can use employee recognition software like Nectar to facilitate shoutouts and praise your team.

Reduces Staff Turnover

No company wants to lose its employees — especially considering the costs and efforts involved in hiring and bringing new employees up to speed with organizational practices.

If you're in the constant hire and turnover circle, making any progress as an organization would be challenging. 

You can drastically reduce staff turnover and its adverse effects by using shoutouts to commend your people for their work.

Improves Situational Awareness

It's easy for people, especially those working in large organizations, to get caught up in a bubble. Before you know it, months have passed, and you've entirely forgotten about entire departments doing heroic things behind the scenes.

But with shoutouts, these heroes are recognized for all they do. With this form of recognition, employees get more situational awareness, humility, and respectfulness for others. In addition, they are reminded that they aren’t the only ones doing good work.

The benefits of a stellar staff shoutout program

How To Create A Staff Shoutout

At Nectar, we’re all about celebrating the big and small things that make your team great. If you aren’t sure how to create a staff shoutout, here are a few occasions and templates to make giving recognition feel easy:

Celebrating Big Wins

Shoutouts come in handy when a team or individual has a big win. For example, they might land a big client or give a fantastic presentation — what constitutes a big win varies from organization to organization. 

For example, you could say, “Well done to Tom for landing XYZ client. I’m amazed by your hard work and consistent performance.”

Praising Simple But Great Work

You can give a shoutout before employees do something grand. Praise your team for efficiently doing their simple, everyday tasks.

Such praise is extremely powerful because it makes the recipient know that even their little efforts are appreciated. 

An example of a shoutout is, “Your consistent positive behavior makes a huge difference in our team. Thank you for being you.”

Going Above And Beyond

You could give a shoutout if you observe that one of your people consistently goes the extra mile to help others on the team or improve their own work.

Praise them by saying something like, “Thank you for bring your __ skills to the table. This has immensely assisted us to advance the goals of the company.”

Living By Company Values

A shoutout is deserved when employees embody the company's core values. Many of us want more staff members who understand what we stand for.

So you could say, "You built our organization up when you displayed (company value) at ____. Your hard work understanding and living the company's values does not go unnoticed."

At Nectar, every post must have one of your company's core values attached. 

Acknowledging Soft Skills

Some employees possess impressive soft skills and should be praised.

"Thank you for always showing up to meetings on time and being prepared. Your presence always makes meetings move more smoothly!"

Utilizing Power Words In Your Staff Shoutouts

Do your staff shoutouts have the impact that you desire? One of the best parts about staff shoutouts is how specific and helpful they are to the receiver and the company. We've put together a list of 100 words you can use in your shoutouts to improve the language and the results.

100 Staff Shoutout Power Words
Accomplish Consider Enforce Manage Save
Achieve Consult Engage Navigate Scale
Action Context Enthuse Network Share
Add Convey Evaluate Organize Ship
Adjust Counsel Evangelize Own Smart
Advance Courage Experience Plan Strategy
Ally Create Expert Power Structure
Amplify Credit Express Predict Study
Analyze Crucial Extend Prioritize Support
Announce Cultivate Format Produce Surpass
Aware Curate Help Promote Synthesize
Belief Demystify Influence Propose System
Build Design Inspire Publish Target
Coach Drive Invest Quality Thrive
Collaborate Edit Launch Remind Transform
Color Effective Learn Report Understand
Communicate Empathy Leverage Resolve Update
Community Enable Listen Results Upgrade
Confirm Encourage Lower Review View
Connect Energize Magic Revive Visible

How To Ensure Staff Shoutouts Are Relevant

As we’ve discussed, giving shoutouts to employees is essential in enabling them to work better and live happier professional lives. A robust employee recognition platform can provide a springboard for positive feedback to be delivered consistently. 

This section will discuss how all managers or team members can ensure their shoutouts are relevant. 

Make Them Timely

Staff shoutouts are most effective when given regularly and right away. You don’t have to wait weeks before giving team and individuals shoutouts. 

If you see someone doing something well, give a shoutout as soon as the recipient has the time and mental capacity to appreciate the feedback. 

Increasing the time between the target behavior and reward devalues the reward and diminishes the value of the recognition. 

Provide Context

Not all shoutouts are created equally. Non-specific shoutouts seem insincere and generic. It's the pat on the back and 'great job' type of feedback — it might look good, but it doesn't improve morale or push people to be even better. 

Shoutouts should provide context and dissect the WHY and HOW behind someone’s good work. 

There is power in pointing out what someone has done well. By giving specific positive feedback through shoutouts, you’ll teach the recipient why and how their work or efforts were effective. 

By providing this laser-focused feedback, they learn how to continue and improve on what they’ve been praised for. 

Now, many recognition platforms offer the opportunity to give shoutouts, but they may not encourage users to be specific and provide context. 

Nectar’s meaningful meter encourages users to provide more details about the shoutout. 

Therefore, shoutouts feel more genuine and can be helpful to the recipient. 

A screenshot of sending a shoutout with Nectar's meaningful meter.

Deliver Shoutouts Personally

You should endeavor to deliver shoutouts and recognition personally.

The fact that a manager or coworker is taking time to recognize or praise an employee indicates the importance of recognition to the employee. 

Get Everyone Involved

Feedback and shoutouts can be even more powerful when it comes from different people, not just the manager or CEO. 

Leaders and managers are mainly responsible for getting everyone else involved in giving shoutouts. 

So, managers and CEOs should promote this culture of feedback and shoutouts by openly giving recognition. Employees should also be allowed to add on to recognitions given and provide their own shoutouts. 

The time peers or subordinates take to recognize and give a shoutout for a job well done or achievement can be a more significant reward because they're unexpected.

Recognition platforms like Nectar provide managers, leaders, and employees with the tools they need to participate and offer feedback. 

Display Shoutouts

Shoutouts in a public space inform the whole organization of individual or team accomplishments. In addition, public recognition can do wonders for the morale of the team or individual praised.

Nectar is an excellent tool to help display these shoutouts and serves as a virtual shoutout board. This peer-to-peer recognition platform gives everyone access to shoutouts and feedback via chat tools, mobile devices, and even office televisions. 

Our social feed instantly shows which people are getting shoutouts and why they are receiving them.

5 Ways To Give Employee Shoutouts

There's nearly no limit to how often you can shoutout your people for a job well done or an accomplishment.

So we've created this list of ways you can use to show how much you value workers. 

1. Social Feed

A social recognition feed, such as Nectar's, works like social media but only for your company. It instantly shows whoever gets a shoutout and the reason for the shoutout. 

Using a social feed is an excellent choice for organizations that want to create a culture of appreciation and feedback. Using a social media-style platform makes it easier to give positive feedback daily.

2. Newsletters

Newsletters are company assets that make it easy to pass important information to staff. Whether electronic or physical, it's a means of keeping everyone aware of the latest developments in the company. 

However, newsletters can do much more than pass information—you can use them to recognize deserving teams or employees!

Companies can encourage managers and staff to give shoutouts in company newsletters. It might be a brilliant idea to have a shoutout section as a running feature in the newsletter. 

3. Birthday or Anniversary Celebration

Another excellent avenue where you can offer shoutouts is when an employee is celebrating their birthday or work anniversary. You can use the opportunity of these events to commend employees for their hard work and diligence. 

So while you celebrate the milestone, you can go even further and use the special day to praise their other accomplishments and tell others how much of a great worker they are. 

By expanding their anniversary or birthday into an even bigger celebration, you open up the way for them to receive praise and shoutouts from other team members. 

4. Social Media

Want to give your staff even more social currency and elevate them before people who aren't working in your company? Then consider giving a public shoutout on social media.

Giving a shoutout on Twitter, LinkedIn, or similar social networks lets the world know how much you value them. In addition, it'll likely boost their esteem and morale while showing their professional network how great they are. 

Furthermore, encourage other team members to comment and generally back up the shoutout. Recipients of this type of shoutout will appreciate it. 

Before using this method, ensure your employee is comfortable with recognition in such a public space. 

5. Meetings

Another opportunity to give shoutouts arises at weekly team meetings. You can begin the meeting by recognizing outstanding staff accomplishments since the last team meeting. 

You could also encourage team members to offer public praise to a colleague at these meetings.

Adding staff shoutouts to your meetings

How To Build A Successful Staff Shoutout Program

When creating a shoutout or recognition program, companies must build programs that suit them and help them achieve their desired goals. The steps below will help your organization create a successful staff shoutouts program. 

1. Lay The Right Foundation

The first thing to do is to lay the proper foundation for the program. This foundation will affect how things work in the future. 

As an HR leader, ask yourself or the team these questions:

  • Why are we creating this program?
  • What goals do we hope to achieve with the program?
  • How will the program be organized?
  • How will we rate the success of this program?
  • What strategies can we use to get leaders, managers, and employees involved in this program?

If you have answers to these questions, you're on the right path. As you begin, ensure that the program aligns with company values and is within budget. We have great resources to help you:

2. Involve Your Employees

A shoutout program that doesn’t consider your employees' opinions will most likely fail. 

Therefore, talk to your employees to identify the awards and rewards they'll appreciate the most. 

Their answers might surprise you, and based on the information they provide, you can build a better program.

3. Craft An Effective Execution Plan

Execution is what matters when it comes to recognition and shoutout programs. 

One rule of thumb is to keep things as simple as possible. So don't set unrealistic standards. You should also always keep your word on promises you've made. 

By setting realistic standards and doing what you’ve promised, employees will have deeper trust and faith in the program. 

While a shoutout board is a good idea, we still recommend that you take advantage of technology. There are tools and platforms mainly designed to aid employee recognition goals.

One of the best options is our platform Nectar. With a simple interface and custom configurations, you can improve staff happiness without much stress. 

4. Secure Buy-In

One of the best ways to ensure that your shoutout program is successful is to ensure company-wide buy-in. 

Therefore, make everyone aware of the program and encourage them to take it seriously. 

Demonstrate how the program promotes the company's core values and lead by example, using every opportunity you get to give positive feedback to others. When introducing the program, provide a brief training. Talk about:

  • What a good employee shoutout looks like.
  • How to give out points meaningfully (if you use a points system.)
  • Topics or words to avoid during shoutouts.
  • What to do if employees see an inappropriate shoutout.
  • How this program helps elevate the work employees and leaders are doing.

5. Keep Track Of The Program

It can be challenging to ensure utilization when building a staff shoutouts program. However, knowing that the program is being used will help you make a case for continuing to fund the program.

Track the use of the program throughout the month:

  • Who is being recognized? Who isn’t being recognized?
  • How often are recognitions being sent?
  • Who is getting involved in giving feedback?
  • How many people are talking about the program in different company channels?
  • Are executives and managers getting involved in this process?

If you decide to handle this program manually, you may need to do more work to ensure you have information like this. Leaning into technology will ensure you have the reports you need to prove the validation of your staff shoutouts program.

Creating a culture people won't want to leave with Nectar


Regular shoutouts to employees build trust, create an excellent work environment, boost productivity, and reduce employee turnover. The benefits shoutouts offer far outweigh any discomfort you might initially feel. 

Anyone, regardless of level, can offer and receive appreciation. So build a culture of appreciation today, and you might be surprised at the big difference it'll make in your organization.

Do you want to see Nectar in action? Take a quick tour of our platform.

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