Employee Engagement Recognition

Employee Engagement Recognition for Cross-Functional Teams

typography sample: open. have fun. repeat. in italics and serif font

Macy's is not a small company. It had 130,000 employees and earned an annual revenue of $24.8 billion in 2017. Employees work seemlessly with others across timezones and regional offices daily, with many corporate offices across the country. It is a brand first established in 1858 and a bonafied part of Americana. As a brand, it readily engages and recognizes key members of the community.

Internally, in 2013, Macy's employees made it known they felt the company could do more to recognize the daily efforts of team members that must deliver above and beyond to meet business goals. During the economy collapse of 2008 and the immediate years that followed, Macy's put its employees to task and not only weathered the economy, but grew the company with omnichannel inititives and working hard to modernize internal systems.

I was the visual designer brought in as part of a lean outreach team to create an internal recognition program. The program was piloted in 2014 and continues today.

The Challenge

Create successful employee recognition collateral and internal campaign that adds value to a person's day. Must remain on-brand.

  • Deliver unique, relevant graphic content users can physically deliver to team members for display recognition and gratitude for their everyday efforts and amazing feats under pressure
  • Create user engagement and loyalty through personalized physical interactions and the opportunity to be recognized for outstanding work
  • Allow users to easily, and in a fun way, put together compliments and details that can be used for team engagement and performance reviews
  • Provide Macy's management with direct data focused on the traits and efforts of individual contributors often dismissed or forgotten in large projects with multiple teams spanning the globe
  • Drive engagement and morale within Macys.com via recognition on proudly on display
  • Make the hours at Macy's thought of as fun, engaging and innovative work

The Solution

I wanted to work with the roots of the company - shopping - with an understanding to the complexity it takes to be available 24/7 to ensure the site is always fully operational and all systems are go. The backstory of macys goes beyond the last century and some of its core fundamentals established then are still survive today. Marketing, design, technical and logistical challenges can very much be rooted to this legacy. I wanted to show simply this is acknowledged and appreciated.

I drew a silhouette of a shopping woman, proudly holding her logo bags and wrote the copy:

Thanks for being so fabulous! we notice!

For a different option, I created a silhouette of a person juggling three stacked packages, two with the macy's logo, one with a hand-drawn heart. I wrote the copy to say:

Thanks for balancing it all! You help teams win!

with the idea of the visual metaphor being spot on for a large variety of employees from project managers, software developers, to merchant managers.

macys 2019 fireworks map
macys 2019 fireworks map

Macy's Corporate font for all communication was Helvetica Neue Ultra Light for internal marketing. It worked fine when printed, but not online. This became a key bargaining point within the organization. The initial printed run and designs had the ultra thin font, but later editions of the card were updated with a thicc version of the same font. In the beginning, only the red cards were produced and distributed. Later runs included multiple color selections. Users could download PDFs of their prefered design. The color and design stood out as pround receipients hung the cards by their monitors. Cards all come with ample space to write appreciations!

macys 2019 fireworks map

Visual Design & User Experience

typography sample: open. have fun. repeat. in italics and serif font
macys beauty experience
macys green
macys light blue
macys dark blue


macys homepages

Employee engagement went up and the office seemed a bit more cheerful, colorful. The true metric measured was qualified in individual employee's annual review process where they could show the cards and the written comments to help boost their performance reviews and annual bonus. The end product was more than just a physical card, when an employee gifted the card, an electronic receipt was delivered to corporate human resources engagement, the employees supervisors, and the employees (giver, receiver).

I’m open to new opportunities.

If you're looking to connect, let’s grab a coffee and chat!

crosswalk shot across from the sfmoma with painting that reads think outside the building.