Think "Proud & Productive" When Writing & Delivering Employee Recognition Speeches

Summer may be a quiet time in many workplaces, but it’s also a time of great transition. People wrap up projects before they head off on vacation. Some leave to take on new assignments. Others retire. So it’s no surprise that managers and supervisors often find themselves on the hook to write and deliver employee recognition speeches. How well they do depends on the approach they take.

A tempting path is to string together some “nice” things to say about the person and leave it at that. But, with a bit of thought and planning, a speech to honour an employee can be a more meaningful experience for both the honouree and the audience.

The place to start is by looking at the occasion as an opportunity to reinforce employee engagement. Employee engagement is a measure of how well people understand, support and work towards achieving the organization’s goals. “It isn’t about making employees happy,” says Priya Bates, president of Inner Strength Communication Inc. and a specialist in designing employee engagement programs. “It’s about making people proud and productive.”

Stories and anecdotes can give an employee recognition speech a human touch and leave lasting memories in the minds of the audience. To make the speech even more meaningful, the speech giver should choose tales that reinforce the beliefs, behaviours and business practices the organization values most highly.

So before you start writing, take a moment to consider what’s important to your organization, and then make sure to include the answers to the following three questions in your speech:

What did the person do or contribute to the organization?
What impact did those efforts have on helping the organization meet its most important goals? And finally…
How did the person’s behaviour reflect the organization’s most cherished values?