Top GMs from across Hilton discuss how they use recognition to motivate their team, improve performance, and address business objectives. Watch video.

Corporate Recognition Best Practices

Part of our Mission is "to be the most hospitable company in the world." Recognizing and thanking our 160,000 Team Members around the world for living our Values is key to fulfilling our Mission. In addition to being a fundamental human need, recognition is good business, positively impacting retention, productivity, and overall engagement. Below are ideas to show your appreciation and "spread the light and warmth of hospitality."

Department Best Practices
Fun Holidays
Work Accomplishments
Team Member Milestones
Diversity & Corporate Responsibility
Catch Me at My Best

Department Best Practices

Use these ideas as a starting point for recognizing the Team Members in all of your departments. You can use any of these tips to recognize any team!

  • Give your Admin Professionals a recognition coupon good for one free lunch or anything you want.
  • Fill a basket with sodas, bottled waters, chips, and other treats for your Administrative Professionals.
  • Establish a "Behind the Scenes" award specifically for Architecture, Design & Construction Team Members, who are not usually in the limelight. You can download a customizable certificate here.
  • Schedule a mid-afternoon gathering to thank your Architecture, Design & Construction Team Members, and let everyone "design and build" their own sundaes.
  • Bring in a large "hero" sandwich to recognize your Architecture, Design & Construction heroes.
  • January 23 is Pie Day. Bring in a pie (or two), and give your Architecture, Design & Construction teams a big slice of recognition.
  • Recognize your favorite "Helpful Hero" in Commercial Analytics. You will find customizable certificates here.
  • Perk Up Your Team. Surprise your Commercial Analytics team with fresh coffee and pastries in the morning!
  • Show the "big cheeses" in Corporate Affairs you appreciate their leadership with a gift of cheese and crackers and a thank you note signed by the team.
  • November 17 is Electronic Greeting Card Day. Send an email HIGH FIVE to your Corporate Affairs team to thank them for living our Values.
  • December 12 is International Cocoa Day. Hand out candy bars with custom wrappers to your Development team.
  • December 21 is Look on the Bright Side Day. Thank Development Team Members for "spreading the light and warmth of hospitality."
  • Recognition That Sticks. Have other departments write sticky notes of appreciation and post them where Finance/Legal Team Members work.
  • Give chocolate coins to Team Members in Finance/Legal and Revenue Management.
  • Looking for a gift to recognize your "bean counters" in Finance/Legal and Revenue Management? How about jelly beans and a note of thanks?
  • Recognize Global Brands Team Members who make great customer service a priority with a customizable certificate
  • Just to Say Thanks. Treat your Global Brands team to a short break, including snacks or lunch, and thank them for their hospitality.
  • Send an email HIGH FIVE to your Global Brands team today.
  • Post a photo of your Global IT team on social media during September, letting everyone know how special these Team Members are.
  • Secret Recognition! Leave a small treat along with a thank you note on desks of your Global IT Team Members before they arrive for work.
  • Create a Happy Basket. Stock a basket with small gifts and treats and deliver to your Global IT team.
  • July 9 is Sugar Cookie Day. Thank your Global Sales team by bringing in a batch of sugar cookies with notes of thanks
  • July 16 is Ice Cream Day! Hand out ice cream cones to your Global Sales team. Download customizable cone wrappers here.
  • Build a simple Global Sales-themed crossword puzzle online.
  • Put the spotlight on Hilton Supply Management Team Members who display Hospitality with a customizable Values certificate.
  • Use a black Sharpie to decorate white ceramic coffee mugs and present them to your Hilton Supply Management team as a token of your appreciation.
  • Sweeten Up the Recognition. Leave thank you notes with small pieces of candy in HRCC work areas.
  • Paint a giant paperclip gold to create a traveling trophy for your HRCC team.
  • Recognize HRCC Team Members who display Leadership with a customizable Values certificate.
  • Give a Recognition Coupon redeemable for a cold beverage or ice cream to Human Resources Team Members who are "cool under fire."
  • Thank your HeRoes of HR with a HERO certificate.
  • Thank your Human Resources team for wearing a lot of hats with a hat from a party store or a custom paper hat. Search for "make a paper hat" online.
  • March 10 is International Day of Awesomeness. Take a moment to recognize feats of awesomeness performed by your Marketing & Digital and eCommerce teams.
  • Don't Forget Your Marketing & Digital and eCommerce Teams. Leave hidden treats and thank you notes.
  • Put together an appreciation basket from a Dollar Store (or local equivalent) that feels like a million bucks for your Marketing & Digital and eCommerce teams. Find out more.
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Fun Holidays

There's always a reason to show your appreciation. Try celebrating fun holidays throughout the year, such as Popcorn Day, Random Acts of Kindness Day, or Laugh at Work Week. Need more ideas? Click here. Or search online using the words "fun holiday." (And be sure to download the 2018 Recognition Calendar, available in mid December, for an updated list of holidays.)


  • January 4 is Trivia Day. Quiz Team Members about our Vision, Mission, and Values. Make it fun and recognize correct answers.
  • January 8-14 is Pizza Week. Start off the year with a pizza party spotlighting 2015 successes and 2016 goals.
  • January 10 is Houseplant Appreciation Day. Surprise your team with a houseplant for the office and a note of appreciation.
  • January 11 is International Thank You Day. Download customizable certificates to thank your team.
  • January 19 is Popcorn Day. Butter up your team with some fresh popcorn and a shout-out like "Not to be CORNY, but we appreciate you."
  • January 20 is Coffee Break Day. Take a break and thank your Team Members with coffee and a mug.
  • January 27 is Fun at Work Day. Have fun and improve knowledge with a skill-building challenge or other fun team activity.
  • January 31 is Backward Day. Say "SKNAHT" to your teammates.


  • February is African American History Month. Celebrate Team Member diversity.
  • February 17 is Random Act of Kindness Day. Spread the "light and warmth of hospitality" by performing random acts of kindness today and throughout the year. Try one of these ideas.
  • February 21 is International Mother Language Day. Post a note of thanks in different languages representational of your team.
  • February 22 is Be Humble Day. Take time to recognize your quiet achievers.
  • February 23 is Digital Learning Day. Go to Hilton University and choose from more than 2,500 pieces of learning content.


  • March 1-7 is Write a Letter of Appreciation Week. Take time to write personal notes of appreciation to your team. Send them to their homes for added impact.
  • March 1 is World Compliment Day. You’re doing a wonderful job! Pass it on.
  • March 4 is Learn What Your Name Means Day. Create acronyms using Team Member names. For example, HAL = Hospitable, Amazing, and Likable.
  • International Women's Day is March 8. Recognize the women on your team today. It's also Women's History Month.
  • March 25 is Earth Hour: Turn off non-essential lights from 8:30-9:30 p.m. local time. Promote using a customizable flyer or eCard.
  • March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. Celebrate your team by giving them their own holiday.


  • April 1 - 7 is Laugh at Work Week. Humor plays a significant part in a successful business! Click here and preview "301 Ways to Have Fun at Work."
  • April 6 is Tartan Day. Whether it is a scarf, socks, or even a kilt, wear plaid and be proud!
  • April 17 is Haiku Day. Write a poem for your team or hold a poetry writing contest. For example, "Thank you to my team. Your hospitality shines. You are The Heart of Hilton."
  • Earth Day is April 22. Join 1 billion people across the globe to celebrate. Download custom recognition materials to recognize those who participate.
  • April 23 is Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Convert thy words of appreciation for your team into Shakespearean language using this online translator.


  • May 12 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Recognize those Team Members whose loved ones serve their country.
  • May 15 is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Celebrate with chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip ice cream, or both.
  • Learning at Work Week starts May 15. Encourage your team to take advantage of Hilton University and gain new skills.
  • May 19 is Pizza Party Day. Recognize your Team Members with a surprise pizza delivery.
  • May 31 is Hilton's birthday. Let us know how you are celebrating for a chance to win US $50.


  • June is LGBT Pride Month. Celebrate Team Member diversity.
  • June 1 is Say Something Nice Day. Ask Team Members to catch each other and "say something nice."
  • June 2 is Donut Day. Get a good start to the day by bringing in doughnuts and a note of appreciation that says 'I DONUT know what I'd do without you.'
  • June 18 is International Picnic Day. Bring your lunch and join a group of friends for an informal picnic, indoors or out.


  • Are you ready for some freshly baked cookies? July 9 is Sugar Cookie Day.
  • July 13 is French Fries Day. Whether spicy, salty, or made from sweet potatoes, this versatile side dish can be served with sandwiches or steaks.
  • July 14 is Tape Measure Day. Does something need to be measured in your office? This is the day to do it! One thing a Tape Measure can't show is how great your Team Members are!
  • July 23 is Hot Dog Day! Hold a cookout in honor of team and recognize your team with this classic food. Share hot dog trivia.
  • The International Day of Friendship is July 30. Reach out across borders and send an eCatch to a Team Member in another country.


  • August 6 is Friendship Day. Take time to get to know one or more new Team Members.
  • August 10 is S'mores Day. Give your team "s'more" recognition with this tasty graham cracker treat.
  • August 15 is Relaxation Day. Give your team a relaxation kit. Click here for ideas.
  • Lemonade Day is August 20. Have a pitcher of lemonade ready to thank your team for their refreshing teamwork.
  • August 27 is Just Because Day. Looking for a reason to recognize your team? How about "just because." Here are five "just because" ideas.


  • The International Day of Charity is September 5. Donate time or money, carry out good works, or help raise awareness of global charities. Education and giving are the essence of this special day.
  • September 11 is Boss/Team Member Exchange Day. Have fun trading places!
  • September 22 is Ice Cream Cone Day. Enough said.
  • September 24 is Global Family Day. Send a personal letter to Team Members and their families, thanking them for their dedication. Or have a potluck meal where family members are invited, too.
  • September 29 is International Coffee Day. Perk up Team Members with some coffee, tea, and/or hot chocolate for their break.



  • November 3 is Sandwich Day. Bring in a tray of sandwiches to share with your team.
  • National Sundae Day is November 11. Bring the fixings and let Team Members build their own frozen treats.
  • November 13 is World Kindness Day. Share a kind word with your team via an email HIGH FIVE, certificate, or Spirit Award nomination.
  • November 16 is National Fast Food Day. The perfect excuse for not eating at your desk!
  • November 21 is World Hello Day. See how many different languages your team can say "hello" in.


  • Cookie Exchange Week begins December 4. Bake your favorites and share with your teammates! What a great way to start the holidays! National Cookie day is also December 4.
  • December 7 is Letter Writing Day. Write a letter to your team celebrating their 2016 accomplishments. Send the letter to your team's homes.
  • National Ugly Sweater Day is December 15. Search your closet and find the ugliest sweater you have and wear it to work. Double points if it has some type of holiday theme. Triple points if it lights up or makes noise.
  • Create a Thank You Wreath. Ask Team Members to write recognition messages on green sticky notes. Display in the shape of a holiday wreath. Use red sticky notes to create the bow!
  • Hang holiday ornaments recognizing all of your Team Members. Have Team Members help create them.
  • December 21 is National Hamburger Day. Take a poll and see which local restaurant has the best burger, then make plans to meet there after work to make sure the winning location deserves the accolade.
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Work Accomplishments

  • Create a Traveling Trophy. Use office-related supplies to create a trophy for your team, like a "Golden Stapler" or "Mousepad of Hospitality."
  • Give a box of Captain Crunch to a Team Member who "comes through in a crunch." Click here for more ideas.
  • Using the customizable materials, create a "What a Nice Surprise!" certificate to recognize Team Members who show initiative.
  • Create an "ABCD" award to recognize Team Members who go "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty."
  • Recognize Team Members who take Ownership with a customizable Values certificate.
  • Nominate your best and brightest for the Spirit of Hilton Award, our highest form of brand-specific recognition. Deadlines are the last Friday of each quarter.
  • Recognize acts of hospitality with a glow stick or candle, along with a note thanking teammates who "fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality."
  • Fun With Food. Give a jar of salsa to someone who's on fire with hospitality, or a jar of jelly to someone who always helps out in a jam.
  • Stop by to visit your team just to say "thanks."
  • Send an email HIGH FIVE to Team Members who work at different locations.
  • Recognize creativity and innovation in your team with a "Brightest Bulb Award." Use a Sharpie to (carefully!) decorate a light bulb.
  • Buy a deserving Team Member a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and leave it on their desk with a note that says "Thanks for spreading the warmth of hospitality." Or give them a recognition coupon so they can collect their treat at their convenience.
  • Is someone at your office great at making incredible oral presentations? Show your appreciation by awarding them a chocolate microphone. Just go online and search for "chocolate microphone."
  • Did someone in your office just allow the team to close a deal by working long hours? Show them you appreciate them burning the midnight oil by giving them a scented candle. Or treat them to an extra-long lunch where they can relax and regroup.
  • Cha-Ching! Do you have a teammate who is always coming up with ideas for economizing at the office? Or maybe they just figured out how to save money on a major proposal. If so, help them save money by giving them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant.
  • Do you have frequent travelers in your department? Show your appreciation with a small gift certificate for music or eBooks or apps they would enjoy while out of the office.
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Team Member Milestones

Milestone events, such as your first day on the job, a service anniversary, birthday, and retirement, are important days for Team Members. Show them that it's an important day for you, too. Don't forget to recognize other important life events. Have your team recognize marriage, the birth of a child, a home purchase, promotion, a death in the family, and more, with an appropriate gift, card, and/or flowers.

  • Create a "Rookie of the Year" certificate to recognize first-year Team Members and encourage retention.
  • Present a "Welcome" flyer to new Team Members and invite other Team Members to sign it.
  • Also for new Team Members, buy posterboard at your local office supply store and fold it to make an oversized card. Write "Welcome to our BIG happy family" on the cover, and have everyone sign it. Then place it on the Team Member's desk on their first day.
  • For retirees, ask each Team Member in the department or hotel to write down a special memory about the recipient. Compile, print, and post for all to see. Print an extra copy for the retiree to keep.
  • Check out 50 tips for recognizing retirees.
  • Recognize One-Month Anniversaries. Why wait a year to recognize service? Studies show the first 30 days on the job make the biggest impression.
  • Add some fun to a one-year anniversary by ordering child-themed cake, such as one with Disney characters, that says "Your Hilton Career is One Year Old!"
  • Seize the day! Many offices have monthly recognition that includes all the birthdays and service anniversaries during that month. It's a great way for the entire team to honor the Team Members. Also make sure you acknowledge the actual day in some way. It might be a simple note or a verbal Happy Anniversary! You could send a service anniversary or birthday ecard or even a HIGH FIVE or eCatch, depending on the date, to acknowledge the event.
  • Click here for more ideas to recognize service anniversaries.
  • Send a Team Member an all-new service anniversary or birthday eCard.
  • Recognize days of service. Instead of recognizing three years of service, recognize 1,095 days or 26,280 hours. (One location took time during Team Member Appreciation Week to recognize days of service for all Team Members, regardless of when their actual anniversaries fell.)
  • Ask Team Members what their favorite food or treat is. Then use that information to provide a personalized treat or lunch on their birthday.
  • When you honor an individual with a prestigious award, like a milestone anniversary, invite their family to the celebration.
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Diversity & Corporate Responsibility

Try the following ideas:

  • Celebrate Team Member diversity. From African American history Month in February to LGBT Pride Month in June, there's always a reason to celebrate diversity. Download the Recognition Calendar for details.
  • Recognize your corporate responsibility champions and those that participate with a corporate responsibility eCard. Choose from multiple versions.
  • Do you have Team Member representing different nationalities? Download the Recognition Calendar and add holidays that are important to them. The calendar includes the functionality to automatically add holidays from different countries to help recognize Team Member diversity at your location.
  • November 15 is World Recycling Day. View recycling resources and best practices.
  • November 18 is Family Volunteer Day. For your next volunteer event, invite Team Members to bring their families.
  • December 5 is International Volunteer Day. Recognize Team Members who give back and strengthen our communities.
  • Organize a volunteer event for your team. You can download materials to promote the occasion and recognize champions.
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Here are some more ideas to recognize your team. And don't forget to tell us how you're recognizing your team for a chance to win a US $50 gift card. We'll also be adding your ideas to this list.

  • Download and print out our "Five Keys to Recognition." Share the tips with other managers to help create a more engaged team.
  • Bottle Up Your Recognition. Fill an empty bottle with treats and add a custom label. See how it's done.
  • Recognize a different Team Member every day of the week with a fun title, like a Monday Motivator and a Tuesday Team Player.
  • Post positive words describing your team, starting with the letter "A." The next day (or week), move on to the next letter. Don't stop until the alphabet is complete.
  • Create a Customizable Recognition Trophy. Add your Team Member's name and a personal message, then trim, fold, and present.
  • Take a few minutes to set 2018 recognition goals. Try to increase your efforts year over year. For example, if you made two Spirit nominations in 2017, make four in 2018.
  • Make a Plan. Take a few minutes to create a recognition plan using the 2017 planner. Download your calendar.
  • Sitting at a desk all day can give you a stiff neck. Bring a masseuse to the office to give your Team Members a 15-minute neck massage.
  • Recognize your team by cutting them a check for "A Million Thanks!" Just take a standard check and enlarge it on a copier for a great way to say thank you!
  • Say thanks by giving Team Members tickets to area events: movies, plays, sporting events, and other attractions.
  • Start a "You Rock" box that works like a suggestion box. Have Team Members submit notes of appreciation for each other that can be read at future team meetings. Use it to recognize your Team Members.
  • Leave a message of appreciation in a Team Member's voicemail, waiting for them when they come into work!
  • Make a CEO Light & Warmth Award nomination. Winners receive US $10,000!
  • Recognition doesn't have to cost a lot of money to have a big impact. Hand out packs of Extra® gum to Team Members who "go that extra mile," or offer a roll of LifeSavers® candy for those who save the day.
  • In these days of emails, tweets, and posts, a hand-written thank you note stands out.
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Catch Me at My Best

During Catch Me at My Best, we celebrate Team Members for living out shared HILTON Values. Send an eCatch to recognize your teammates at your office and across the world.

  • Check out over 101 Catch Me best practices. Some are hotel centric, but many are applicable to corporate locations.
  • Have a department-specific contest to see who can send the most eCatches.
  • Take a few minutes to catch five Team Members today. Already caught five? Catch five more.
  • Play Pass the Catch. Send an eCatch to a Team Member. Ask that person to catch another within 24 hours.
  • Keep it going.
  • Don't Leave Anyone Out. Identify anyone who hasn't been caught yet. Make sure they receive an eCatch before the end of the Catch me.
  • Send eCatches to offsite Team Members, or Team Members at a hotel or other corporate location.
  • Plan a peer recognition program after Catch Me is over. For example, use a box or bulletin board to collect notes of appreciation from peers and managers.
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We’re continually refreshing the website, adding new tools and best practices,
and updating program information. Keep checking in for new materials.