Recognition awards are a way for an employer to reward their employees for certain achievements, behaviors, special anniversaries or milestones. It gives you the opportunity to communicate to the employee in order for them to feel appreciated for their hard work and years of service. In a 2016 Gallup analysis, they state that two out of three employees feel unrecognized for their good work. We can safely assume that number has gone higher from the recent events impacting our economy and mental health.
Why Does Employee Recognition Matter?
It matters because it will help boost productivity, morale and lead to higher engagement levels for employees. In fact, a Mckinsey article shows that companies are facing an exodus of employees from exhaustion and starting to question what work really means. A simple pay upgrade or bonus does not always satisfy this question. In the end of the day we are all human and instinctively we crave social construct and belonging. This issue can be mitigated by offering corporate recognition awards or programs to your employees.
Where to start?
Companies typically invest 1-2% of their payroll for corporate awards as an incentive to keep productivity and morale’s high. Your typical employee of the month or years of service awards are great but they are based on tenure. Tenure based awards typically do not have as high of an impact when it comes to recognition because it is something that is common and kind of expected in today’s world.
If you want your employees to truly feel recognized, it is best to come up with unique approaches to give that recognition. To start you want to know and understand some best practices for employee awards.
- Consistent recognition matters: Repetition is the path to progression as someone once said. This applies especially when recognizing an employee since as time passes, emotions vary. Be vigilant for moments that deserve a simple “Thank you” or actions that deserve a paid lunch. Maybe even a custom engraved coffee mug so they can remember their good deed every morning.
- Create awards that reflect your company values: Remember, when you give a corporate recognition award it communicates to other employees on what determines to be good work. So think to yourself, what actions will help progress your company to it’s yearly goals? Also, don’t only give an award for most sales completed but maybe give awards for best team player.
- Create an employee recognition system: Whether you use pen and paper or a computer program, find a way to keep track of all the great stuff your employees have done. By keeping log and reviewing it occasionally will help give you ideas. Your employees may also appreciate that their hard work is being paid attention to.
- Bring some humor to awards: Think of some funny awards for employees to bring a good laugh for the team. Instead of just your standard plaque of recognition, maybe incorporate a unicorn trophy to let them know their service is extremely rare and appreciated!
- Give public recognition: Public recognition will make someone feel appreciated for their hard work they’ve done behind the scenes. It also gives a sense of belonging to a community where they feel they have value and is appreciated by their peers.
- Recognition from managerial positions matter: When the recognition is given from a higher up in the company it brings more value and authenticity to that appreciation. Getting recognized by a higher up can have a high impact on motivation vs some pay incentives.
Keeping those best practices in mind, lets discuss some subjects that will help you as a leader come up with some creative award names and ideas to give recognition to your team. Before we begin, try taking a look at our full selection of different types of custom recognition awards.
18 Employee Recognition Award Ideas.
1. Most improved employee
Rewarding those that has made an obvious improvement from categories they were struggling in is a perfect opportunity to boost team appreciation. Not only will it make the individual feel accomplished and appreciated but others will recognize that individual deserved this recognition. It will send a clear message to everyone that you pay close attention to specific aspects of the team and reward those who over come.
2. Employee of the month
Though this award is pretty common it is still a good way to spotlight key players in your team for others to follow. This award is typically given to outstanding characters that go the extra mile to get the job done. To make it more enjoyable, instead of calling it the “Employee of the month” maybe give it a different name like “This month’s MVP” or “The monthly GOAT”.
3. The Tech Specialist
We all have some sort of computer or fancy tech in our office. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for the technology to not function the way you want it to. If your lucky enough to have an individual who is helpful enough to help others with these problems make sure to give them the recognition they deserve. In today’s world, some positions rely solely on tech and having it function properly during work hours is crucial.
4. Customer Service Award
Customer’s typically are willing to spend more money with a company if they are provided good service. Just like how an employee feels appreciated, the same can be applied to the customer. Make sure to highlight those who provide outstanding service to your customers. Not just from a professional stand point but as a great human being.
5. Sales Award
Without sales, there is no business. Whether it be selling a service or a product some go over the top to ensure the sales keep coming. Make sure to award them properly for this action. Whether it be a paid lunch or a nice trophy at the end of the year, make sure to recognize their outstanding performance.
6. Safety Award
Do you have someone on your team that is a safety expert? Maybe someone who can point out some dangerous electrical outlets or that corner desk that everyone runs into. If they fit that description then this is a good opportunity for you to highlight. It will show your team that you care about their safety by noticing the individual who cares about everyone’s well being.
7. Years of Dedicated Service Award
For those dedicated individuals that contributed many years to the company deserves a special thanks. Not only do you want to give them a memorabilia such as a crystal award but you want to make the day special and build up to giving them that award. Make sure to include everyone for that special day and think of it like a birthday. Make sure the day is filled with fun before presenting the quality memorabilia that they can place in their home. This way every time they look at the memorabilia their mind is filled with that special day that was deserved for their hard work.
8. Mentor Award
Maybe you have an individual who is always helping others that are new and struggling. This act of mentor-ship will help boost productivity for your team and bring them closer together. Make sure to recognize the person who is kind enough to help.
9. Creative Ideas Award
Is there someone on your team who just always seems to think outside the box? Someone who comes up with creative solutions to a problem that makes your company unique? Make sure to give recognition to these type of people since it is a trait that should be appreciated for any team.
10. Employees Choice Award
This type of award is based on the feedback of the entire team and a great way to get honest feedback. One idea to do this is by creating an anonymous poll among your team to vote for individuals based on categories. You can create categories such as “most helpful teammate”, “most improved employee”, or “most outstanding character”.
11. Best Attendance
This one is straight forward and worth mentioning as well. If you have employee(s) that are always on time and never misses a day then this is definitely worth giving recognition for. Of course it is understandable that majority of people will have some off days so maybe not praise this one too much as others will feel it is unfair. A simple lunch or some extra free coffee should be suitable.
12. The Million dollar person
Do you have an individual that just seems to work like a robot? Someone who is just always locked in on their work evading all social contact (introverted?). Not too many will be this way but if their position is capable for working like a robot and they are consistent at it then make sure to give that recognition to them. An introvert has feelings too so though they may not express it as much, they will truly appreciate the recognition they get for their hard work like anyone else.
13. The Caretaker
Keep an eye out for those who seems to go over the top on taking care of the workplace such as cleaning up shared areas. If you have a dedicated janitor then there is a good chance the recognition will go to them. Give them a special thank you with a gift card or a free lunch which is nearly always appreciated. This will show your team that every member of the team is valuable, not just those contributing to the bottom line.
14. The Joker
There a good benefits of laughing in the office. If you have someone on your team that makes everyone laugh at the appropriate times then make sure to give recognition to that individual. Work can be stressful at times and you never really know what someone is going through that day. A simple laugh can help reduce that stress and keep the wheels of progression rolling.
15. The Defuser
Whether it is in a classroom or an office space, conflicts are inevitable when there are people gathered in a confined space for long periods per day. Highlight those that have the ability to defuse these situations and give them recognition. This recognition may be good to give in private as to not stir more conflict up. Either way the individual who can defuse the “bomb” should be appreciated.
16. Lamp of Knowledge Award
If you have an individual that is a jack of all trades and seems to have useful knowledge on many problems then award them with the Lamp of Knowledge. This award can encourage others to brush up on their studies resulting in a more knowledgeable team giving you an higher edge to your competition.
17. The Combat Vet
If you have a military veteran on your side make sure to give them the credit that they deserve. Thank them for their service and make them feel appreciated. They served the country and giving recognition for their service is just a great thing to do.
18. The All-star Team
We’ve been discussing recognition awards examples for mainly individuals but another idea would be to give an entire team recognition for their outstanding performance. Give the entire team credit for the hard work they’ve done to make them feel special and communicate to other teams what they should be aiming for.
Employees these days do not feel they are recognized enough for their hard work. Investing 1-2% of the payroll can go a long way to keep your team satisfied and brains rolling for important work. Remember to keep best practices in mind when giving corporate awards and put in some effort to give authentic recognition. We hope our recognition award wording examples for employees has helped you spark ideas for different types of best employee awards. In the end you know your team best and we hope you can use or modify one from our list to make people feel appreciated.
What are some awards and recognition?
- Employee of the Month
- Years of Service Awards
- Employee Achievement
- Sales/Service Awards
- Performance Awards
What is an employee recognition award?
An employee recognition award is a special award such as a plaque or trophy made custom for an employee who reached a certain goal, outperformed their peers or exhibited behaviors which are worth giving an award for.
What do you award employees for?
You award an employee for unique characteristics or traits that they use to perform for their job. Typical tenure (tied to how long they’ve worked at the company) awards are not as effective as unique awards that are authentic in reflecting their hard work.
What can be given as an award?
Some common awards that can be given are plaques, crystal awards, trophies or other memorabilia that has value. You want the item to be valuable enough both physically and mentally for the individual to place it in a special place in their home or office to reflect upon their extraneous work.
What are the best awards for employees?
Some of the best awards for employees are awards that are not tenure based or common among society. When you give an award you want them to feel special and possibly have some humor. Funny awards for employees or something unique that not everyone gets will make them feel appreciated.
What type of recognition do employees want?
The type of recognition that employees want are ones from their higher ups or public recognition. Recognition from a higher up makes them feel worthwhile and public recognition not only boosts the employees confidence but signals to your team what your expecting from them.
Are staff awards a good idea?
Yes, they are a great idea. In fact organizations with strategic recognition programs exhibits up to 28.6% less frustration rates than with companies without recognition programs. Praises from higher ups even beats out some financial incentives.
What should I put on my award?
Think of something unique or fun to put on your award. This article has a list of 18 ideas to help spark your brain for some great names. Another place to possibly look are video games. Video games have award systems with awesome names and titles for achievements.