internal comm photo

Recognizing employees is important to any organization. When employees do good work, appreciating their efforts in a motivating way reinforces the behavior and encourages others to follow suit.

But recognition isn’t easy; we’re all busy and it’s tough to find the time to praise people. That’s why you need to find time to pay a visit to a theater (or Redbox) near you. Popular movies can show you every facet of recognition—from a small moment to a big spectacle.

To demonstrate, we asked Davis & Company team members to share recognition moments from our favorite movies.

Here’s what we said:

Alyssa Zeff: Miracle

Plot: An underdog hockey team sets out to win the Winter Olympics gold medal.

After a tough journey reaching the 1980 Winter Olympics medal round, Team USA surprisingly defeats teams that were considered better than them, including a tough Soviet Union squad. Once the U.S. team wins the gold medal, team captain Mike Eruzione is brought onto the podium to receive the medal. He gives his teammates the recognition they deserve, bringing every member up to the podium to celebrate.

Christine Burri: Mean Girls

Plot: A girl struggles to be accepted in high school.

A math teacher, Ms. Northberry, has a new student, Cady, who does exceptional work on her math tests, but intentionally answers incorrectly because she thinks being smart is uncool. Ms. Northberry gives Cady the push she needs by recognizing Cady’s smarts and helping her reach her full potential.

Courtney Swartzel: Forrest Gump

Plot: An Alabama man with a low IQ finds success.

Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, awards Forrest the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War. Shortly after issuing the award, Forrest drops his pants and shows Johnson his wounded buttock.

Danni Francis: The Greatest Showman

Plot: A visionary rises from nothing to create a show that becomes a worldwide sensation.

P.T. Barnum recognizes the potential in every performer. He expresses his belief that each person has something special and his or her talent is needed to make the entire team function properly. They all come together to create a great show.

David Pitre: A Star is Born

Plot: A seasoned musician helps a young woman with her music career. 

After witnessing Ally singing at a bar, Jackson sees her potential. He works with her to nurture her musical talent and gives her constant positive recognition to push her in the right direction. She accepts his belief in her and becomes a star. 

Donna Marino: Legally Blonde

Plot: A fashionable sorority queen becomes an unlikely Harvard law school student. 

After a tough time at law school, Elle wants to give up. While taking a moment at the Lincoln Memorial, her classmates appear and talk her out of quitting. They give her little slips of paper with each one highlighting a special skill that she has. She uses this boost in confidence to finish her quest to become a lawyer.   

Janice Comes: Monsters, Inc.

Plot: Employees at power plant scare children for electricity.

The two best employees at the power plant, Sully and Mike, love being at work. That’s because when they work well, they receive recognition—which comes in many forms, including a board posted in the main room that shows their results, the CEO expressing his appreciation and fellow colleagues communicating how proud they are to work with Sully and Mike.

Kathleen Lota: The Wizard of Oz

Plot: A lost girl in a strange world tries to find her way home.

Each character in the movie is looking for something (heart, brain, etc.), which they think a powerful wizard can provide. Instead, the wizard gives the Scarecrow a diploma, the Lion a medal and the Tin Man a ticking heart-shaped watch, helping them see that they already had the attributes they sought.

Kim Cuffe: Rudy

Plot: A boy wants to make the Notre Dame football team.

Rudy would love to play football, but he only makes the practice team. But he works so hard that the team captain and seniors ask the coach if Rudy can suit up for one game. The coach puts Rudy in for one play, during which he sacks the opponent’s quarterback. Rudy is recognized by being carried off the field on his teammates’ shoulders as the audience cheers.

Luisa Michaelson: Dead Poets Society

Plot: A math teacher seeks to reach his students.

A new English teacher, John, is introduced to an all-boys preparatory school that is known for its traditions and high standards. John uses unorthodox methods to reach out to his students, who face enormous pressures from their parents and the school. With John’s help, students Neil, Todd and others learn to break out of their shells and pursue their dreams.

Rob Tepper: The Lego Movie

Plot: A ragtag group of characters comes together to save the world. 

A group of heroes thinks that Emmet is a prophet called “the special.” Emmet thinks he is just a regular guy. He then learns through the help of his new friends that everyone has the potential to be special, as long as you find your confidence. Emmet figures out how to believe in himself until he, in fact, becomes the special.

Vaishali Benner: Hidden Figures

Plot: Three women serve as the brains behind the flight of astronaut John Glenn.

Karl asks Mary about a spacecraft. Karl recognizes Mary’s potential and her ability to come up with complex solutions. He states that she should reach for the stars and try to work for NASA. Mary is hesitant because she’s a black woman. He convinces her what a brilliant mind she is and that she needs to strive for greatness. This gives her the push to go to NASA.