Work Fulfillment


GW Employees


Recognition is an important part of engagement and a way to show appreciation for your colleagues. From day-to-day recognition to formal recognition, letting others know the positive impact of their work is a great way to build relationships and provide feedback. Employee recognition also is a powerful way to develop and retain employees, enhance performance, and build university culture.

Mark your calendars for recognition related events like the Proud to be GW Festival and Career Milestone Awards.

Recognition Toolkit

The Recognition Toolkit provides ideas and resources to help you provide and promote meaningful recognition.

Recognition can be given in many ways: through saying thank you, giving praise, supporting flex-friendly schedules and more. Many studies on the workplace have shown that being recognized for specific achievements and knowing that overall contributions matter to colleagues and the organization all have a considerable impact on employee satisfaction, commitment, and motivation.

For more information about GW Recognition Programs, please contact us at [email protected].

Day-to-Day Recognition

By providing genuine, informal expressions of appreciation, day-to-day recognition has the greatest ability to impact employee performance. It is typically low- or no-cost, often intangible, and helps peers and managers communicate gratitude. These can include thank you notes, certificates that employees give to one another, and verbal praise.

Day-to-day recognition can create a great place to work by establishing higher levels of employee motivation, engagement, and retention throughout your immediate workplace and the university.

Employee Recognition Profile (PDF)

Not all employees like to be recognized in the same way. A good starting point is to have your staff complete the Employee Recognition Profile to learn more about how they like to be recognized for their good work.

The Power of “Thank You”

A simple “thank you” or “great job” can be one of the most meaningful forms of recognition, yet basic praise is often overlooked or too vague to be effective. Follow these straightforward steps to make sure that your praise is truly meaningful:

  • Thank the person by name.

  • Specifically state what they did that is being recognized. It is vital to be specific because it identifies and reinforces the desired behavior.

  • Explain how the behavior made you feel (assuming you felt some pride or respect for their accomplishment!).

  • Point out the value added to the team or organization by the behavior.

  • Thank the person again by name for their contribution.

Day-to-Day Recognition Ideas

  • Certificate of appreciation (PPT)

  • Hand written thank you cards

  • Submit a Positive Vibe

  • Personalized sticky notes

  • Recognition Print & Post Cards (PDF) - fun cut-out cards you can send to colleagues to express appreciation

  • Bring in breakfast (bagels, doughnuts, muffins, etc.)

  • Start staff meetings with recognition of recent tasks completed

  • Show you care about what's important to your employees

  • Send an email to your boss praising an employee (CC the employee)

  • Keep a recognition box in your office for all employees to recognize their co-workers for a job well done

Informal Recognition

Informal recognition focuses primarily on performance achievements, goal accomplishments, and other milestones by individuals or teams. It provides an atmosphere of continuous and spontaneous praising and rewards. It may occur monthly or quarterly and impact fewer employees than Day-to-Day recognition. The types of contributions that might be recognized in informal programs are:

  • Staying late to help someone prepare a presentation for the next day.

  • Volunteering to cover for a co-worker who is out sick.

  • Going out of your way to help boost morale or create a positive, inclusive work environment.

  • Exceeding expectations for a goal or milestone in a long-term collaborative project.

  • Implementing a business process improvement idea.

Employee Recognition Profile

Not all employees like to be recognized in the same way. A good starting point is to have your staff complete the Employee Recognition Profile to learn more about how they like to be recognized for their good work.

On the Spot Recognition & Rewards

On the Spot Awards are delivered at the time of achievement. These acknowledgments provide praise for contributions when the desired behavior occurs. This type of recognition can be given to individuals, teams, or work groups. They may come in the form of candy, flowers, lunches, group events or outings, movie tickets, etc. These awards should not exceed a value of $100 per individual per year. Make sure you are familiar with the GW Policy on the Taxation of Gifts, Prizes and Awards to Employees.

Positive Vibes

Publicly thank, congratulate, or recognize a GW colleague on either a job well done or a special occasion. Positive Vibes peer to peer recognition can be used by employees and managers to recognize and appreciate each other. This is a great nonmaterial recognition vehicle.

Other Informal Recognition Ideas

There are many great no-cost and low-cost ways to give recognition. The Recognition Profile should be used to find out employees preferred ways to be recognized.

  • Write a letter/email of praise recognizing specific contributions and accomplishments. Send a copy to senior management and the employee’s personnel file.

  • Print and distribute these creative GW Employee recognition cards.

  • Allow employees to leave early or take a long lunch.

  • Support “flex-friendly” schedules

  • If you have a department newsletter, publish a “kudos” column and ask for nominations throughout the department.

  • Encourage and recognize staff who pursue continuing education.

  • Establish a place to display memos, posters, photos, and so on to recognize progress towards goals and thank individual employees for their help.

  • Send handwritten thank-you cards to employees who go the extra mile. Optional: include a set of movie tickets or a chocolate bar (based on preferences).

  • Invite employees to workshops/seminars or plan a brown bag lunch for your team.

  • Give Certificates of Appreciation or Recognition (PPT) highlighting what they did.

  • Hold informal retreats to foster communication and set goals.

  • Bake/bring a gift (cookies, bread, etc.) for an outstanding employee or team.

  • Encourage and allow employees to attend university events.

  • Plan a surprise achievement celebration for an employee or a group of employees.

Formal Recognition Programs

Formal recognition is different from informal and day-to-day recognition in that it is typically supported by a defined structure and process. GW’s formal recognition programs foster a sense of unity and promote institutional goals and values across departmental divisions.

Faculty, Staff, & Students

Multicultural Student Service Center - Martin Luther King Jr. Award

The MLK Award is the highest honor someone can achieve in recognition of service within the GW community. Students and staff member are recognized for their contributions to the GW and D.C. communities with the university’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award.

Student Activity Center - Excellence in Student Life Awards

This recognition program is presented by the Dean of Student Consortium, Hallmark Events and honors individuals, student organizations, and university employees whose efforts have enhanced the university and student life at GW. Offices from across campus come together to present over 20 awards during GW's largest celebration of excellence. One of the awards is the Wall of Fame, which is dedicated to the men and women who, as students, staff, and faculty, provide leadership and service and contribute to the quality of student life at the university.

Faculty & Staff Only

Proud to be GW Festival

This HRMD-sponsored event recognizes all faculty and staff for their contributions to strengthening our academic excellence and making to make GW a great place to work.

GW Holiday Party

The GW Holiday Party is an opportunity for faculty and staff to come together and enjoy each other’s company while celebrating the holiday season. The holiday party is planned and executed by an all-volunteer committee. This committee plans the decorations, promotes the party, selects the menu, organizes the popular door prizes, and also organizes charitable initiatives such as the blood drive, Toys for Tots, Give a Gift, and the GW Faculty/Staff Campaign Fund.

Student Activity Center - Excellence in Student Life Awards Presented by DOS, Hallmark Programs

The Spark A Life Award is granted to a selected number of faculty and staff who have significantly impacted the holistic development of a student or registered student organization thus causing a “spark” of inspiration. Individuals eligible for this award are faculty, staff, and GPS Guides who have formed a positive mentoring relationship which has impacted the development of the student or registered student organization and the contributions they make to the GW and or Washington, DC communities.

Staff Only

Career Milestone Awards

The annual Career Milestones Celebration honors those who have achieved milestones (every five years of service at GW). Employees are notified of their milestone during the month in which it is achieved and are encouraged to choose a recognition gift.

In December, recipients from the past calendar year are invited to celebrate their milestones together. Employees celebrate milestones of 20 or more years are invited to a luncheon in their honor. Employees celebrating milestones of 5, 10, or 15 years are invited to a reception in their honor.

View a photo gallery from the 20+ year celebration on December 18, 2017 and a photo gallery from the 5, 10, 15 celebration on December 20, 2017.

For questions about this year's Career Milestones Celebration, please email us at [email protected].

Upon request, employees who achieve a Career Milestone (of 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 years) and retire before the occurrence of the Career Milestones event, will be eligible to receive their gift. To request a gift, please call Brenda Singletary at 202-994-6551.

Alumni Only

GW Development & Alumni Relations – Alumni Recognition Programs

The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is the highest form of recognition given by the university and The George Washington Alumni Association to an alumnus/a on an annual basis. Each recipient has made a lasting impact on society though outstanding professional, voluntary, or philanthropic accomplishments.

The Alumni Outstanding Service Award is given to those alumni who advance the mission of the university through dedicated volunteer efforts in support of its programs, thereby ensuring the university's impact on our community and future generations of students.

The Jane Lingo Alumni Outstanding Service Award is awarded annually to a faculty or staff member who is also an alumnus/a of the university and who consistently advances the mission of the university through dedicated volunteer efforts in support of its programs, thereby ensuring the university's impact on our community and future generations of students.

Recognition Resources

These resources provide guidelines as well as ideas and materials for recognition.


Current Positive Vibes

Positive Vibes are a free and easy way to publicly thank, congratulate, or recognize a GW colleague on either a job well done or a special occasion! Submit a Positive Vibe today! 


Annie Lubeley

myGW Automated Testing - While not something big and flashy, this functionality saves time and improves quality. Thanks Annie.


Andrew Garrett

Dr. Garrett has been a huge resource for many internal and external GW stakeholders! His latest efforts have helped inform several hundred critical members of the community how to safely fulfill their mission. The presentation he gave received rave reviews!

From those you help

Blue and navy stars

Gabrielle Richardson

Thank you for your persistence, patience and determination to resolve an issue that has been lingering for over a year.  I am grateful for your professionalism and kindness and the extra time and energy I know this took.  And I am especially grateful you are at GW and on our team!

From Rachel Brown


Cassandra Allen; Renea Williams; Lauren Crisp

Thank you to our graduate student coordinators for your incredible passion, hard work and dedication both while on- campus and today as we navigate supporting students and cultural programming virtually!

From All of us at the MSSC


Jovanni Mahonez

Thanks for creating a supportive space and system to make joining the GW Community easy and inviting. Your investments in your education, your work, and our staff are genuinely inspiring. Thanks for leading the way so well!!

From William  Brummett

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The Registrar's Office

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” – Cynthia Ozick......I just wanted to take a second to send a public shout out to all the members of the Registrar's Office as I am sure that you guys are swamped with all of our emails and questions...I appreciate you guys!

From Your Biggest Fan!


Joyce Cage-Ford

Joyce, thank you for converting all the reports to Tableau. This was a year long project and thanks to your hard work, good planning and efficiency it is all successfully completed . You are always ready to help and this is very much appreciated.

From Maya Balabanska


Matt Hindman

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true
You're a pal and a confidant

If you threw a party
You would see
The biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say
"Thank you for being a friend."

From Trevor Hugh Davis


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Shelley Rich

Shelley, it is really admirable the way you are able to balance the demands of home and work.  Your in-laws and granddaughter are very FORTUNATE to have you, and we at FSSC are lucky to have you as well.

Stay happy and healthy!

From Gaby


Christine Speranza

Thanks for all your hard work on the fabulous Preview Day videos and website! Truly a girl who codes!!

From Cassie Pitts


Victora Botana

Knocking it out of the park with the multitude of ads across all the platforms!! Keep it up!!

From Cassie Pitts

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Kelley Vargo

Kelley has been a beacon of positivity, connectivity, and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has worked exceedingly hard to be a unifying force for faculty, staff, and students amidst all the other job-related tasks she has on her plate, and she deserves recognition for being such a pillar of our GWSPH community.

From Thank you for all you do, from all of us in the [email protected] program!



Kristin Barrow

THANK YOU so much for all you are doing to keep our students on track and this program running. I know it's been tough to start a this new position and then face COVID, but you are doing marvelously!

From DADH!


Emma Gilpin

Thank you for staying in touch with the Program and doing a great job updating our website! We miss seeing you!

From Erin & Kristin

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Antonio López

Dear Tony, 

Thank you for your truly amazing dedication to RGSLL these past two years as our interim chair, your efforts are humbling. I am inspired by your professionalism and tireless commitment to this task. We will surely miss you!

From RGSLL colleague


Nicole Campbell, Haley Bogomolny, Joshua Fulton, Danielle Goldstein, Yadira Molina

Thank you for being an awesome group of people and for all the hard work during this strange time. Go Grad Admissions! 

Thankful for all of you. 

From Mindy Galvan


Kerri Dorsey

Thank you for your commitment during this turbulent time in public health.  We are grateful for your flexibility and willingness to pitch in wherever help is needed.

From all of us on the SID Leadership Team

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Gordon Mantler

Gordon, you are doing a great job during this difficult time! We really appreciate your leadership and your thoughtfulness.

From The First-Year Writing Program Administration


Christine Butler

You are such a joy to work with!! What a contagious positive attitude and work well done! It's a privilege to see you work!

From the Cisneros Institute


Sara Evans

Thank you for all of your hard work, dedication and leadership as we manage our way through this difficult time. Please know that you are valued and all of your efforts are greatly appreciated.

From your CCAS Finance Team

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Leila Kramer

Thank you for all the diligent and thoughtful work you do to support students.

From An Orioles Fan