30 Years of Success 100% Guarantee Exclusive Products Proven to Increase Productivity & Retention
call

Employee Recognition Award Ideas

Many businesses have instituted at least some kind of employee recognition program to boost engagement, but they may not be doing all they can to ensure their employees are more than just satisfied with their work situations.

There is more to reaching - and maintaining - higher levels of employee engagement than just giving your top salesperson a nice bonus, setting up small incentive programs or providing the occasional team lunch for a job well done. The key to success in this regard is to recognize your employees for all the hard work they may do over a given period and let them know that everything they do at the office is invaluable to keeping the whole ship afloat.

With that in mind, setting up an awards program that clearly defines a number of categories in which employees can get proper recognition for their efforts will give everyone something to strive for, whether they've been around for years or they're just starting out at the company. As an added bonus, presenting the recipients with their prizes as part of a big awards ceremony can make the recognition feel even more special.

List of 15 Employee Recognition Award Ideas

  1. Employee of the Month Awards
  2. Work Anniversary Awards
  3. Department MVP Awards
  4. Teamwork Awards
  5. Sales Awards
  6. Employees' Choice Awards
  7. Most Creative Awards
  8. Safety Awards
  9. Leadership Awards
  10. Character Awards
  11. Mentorship Award
  12. Innovation Award
  13. Diligence Award
  14. Customer Service Award
  15. Top Performer Awards

Engage Employees with These Award Ideas

The following nine categories will help you hit the ground running with these awards, and ensure your employees remain engaged on an ongoing basis:

Employee of the month (quarter, year, etc.) Awards

Recognizing top-flight, all-around achievement is the bog standard in business: Many companies have such an award in place, and it's therefore a good place to start with your own recognition program. However, you can get a little more creative with it, or more clearly define what you're looking for in an employee who will be eligible to receive such an award.

It's worth noting that if you're giving out an "employee of the week" award, that should perhaps count toward a larger "employee of the month" prize, which can then be plussed-up to "employee of the year" recognition, with bigger rewards at each step of the way. That's a great way to keep even people who are already top achievers engaged.

Years of Service and Work Anniversary Awards

Recognizing employees when they reach important milestones is important and makes them feel as though the many years they may have put in were worth it. As such, you should create a database of every employee's start date and either give them unique presents individually on the anniversary of those dates, or at the awards ceremony closest to them. This is just a great way to say "thank you" for all the years of hard work they've dedicated to your business.

For long-tenured employees who have put in years or even decades with your company, taking the opportunity to celebrate employee's aniversary – 5, 10, 20 years, etc. – with an award and more can be a great idea. This kind of employee recognition, which could be accompanied by a staff party or more formal award presentation, is not only a great way to show how much you respect and appreciate that worker, but also to encourage people to stick around so that they can one day earn a similar reward for all their hard work.

Awards for employees who have been around for years are an excellent idea for worker engagement, but so too are notable rewards for every work anniversary. Depending upon the size of your team, you might only have a handful of such anniversaries to celebrate per month, so giving that employee something simple to show you value the time and effort they’ve put in over the previous year.

Teamwork Awards

Retaining loyal employees is extremely valuable to your business, because replacing salaried employees can cost nearly 10 months’ worth of salary per employee. One way to give employees who have worked with you awhile something to look forward to the longer they stay is to hand out employee awards based on milestones of work tenure.

It's always important for departments or those within the company as a whole to be able to work well together, and as such it's vital to recognize the people who have a positive impact on morale. It's not that everyone needs to be a cheerleader for teams to have success. As long as there are one or two clear leaders who go out of their way to ensure everything runs smoothly - whether in terms of the actual work being done or simply managing interpersonal relationships - it's easier to pull in the right direction.

Rewarding people who take the wheel on such endeavors is a great way to encourage more strong, positive collaboration.

Employee MVP Awards

This is similar to "employee of the month" awards, but it recognizes the people who represent the best their individual departments have to offer. Whether that's human resources, sales, production or even janitorial staff, hard work deserves to be recognized and rewarded no matter who does it.

Determining who these MVPs are could help you whittle down the field for that top weekly, monthly or annual prize, as well. Working with department heads who will already have a strong grasp on performance management will allow you to identify the best candidates.

Most Improved Awards

While it's a great idea to reward your top performers for obvious reasons, there's also a clear purpose behind recognizing the people who put in the extra effort to take their game to another level. Whether attempts to improve as an employee come in the form of redoubling efforts to buckle down and tackle big projects, or because the person sought additional training or certification to really excel in their chosen area of focus, companies should recognize such initiative for the invaluable addition it can represent for an office.

Employees' Choice Awards

While many managers often take it upon themselves to tackle the job of trying to motivate employees, that shouldn't be seen as solely their responsibility. In many cases, an employee who works well with others and positively contributes to the company culture overall deserves to be recognized.

With that in mind, it's a good idea to ask around for nominations, either formally - through a suggestion box or online form - or informally via normal conversation. The idea that this award was given to the winner after careful deliberation among their coworkers, rather than supervisors, could make it all the more meaningful. Peer recognition often feels great because you know it's people you work with every day seeing what you do and saying, "That represents the best of us."

Most Creative Awards

Just as there are many different kinds of creativity, there are many different avenues where you can take an award for creativity. For instance, you could recognize someone who came up with a unique, creative solution to a problem that had been tough for a department to tackle, as their contribution may have unlocked a previously unexplored area for growth.

Likewise, you could take creativity in a way that's a little more straightforward to recognize an employee who was the driving force behind a great real-world advertising or social media campaign that helped improve your bottom line. Don't feel you have to marry yourself to one type of creativity to have a great award of this type.

Above and Beyond Awards

Every manager likes an employee who goes the extra mile to get something done, helps a coworker with a problem or takes on special projects on a regular basis. Recognizing that kind of effort will likely encourage others to follow in the award recipient's footsteps, and if you can get even a handful of employees to give just 5% more effort, the cumulative effect on your bottom line will likely be noticeable.

Safety Awards

For companies where workplace hazards are common, it's important to keep a strong safety record so you don't deal with workplace injuries or have to shut down operations. With that in mind, incentivizing safety - and rewarding the employees who are often the best at upholding those standards - may go a long way toward ensuring all due caution is taken with any work-related task.

Workplace safety around hazardous materials or equipment isn't always easy to uphold, so it's critical to recognize those who excel at it, and also keep a watchful eye out for areas that could present a risk to themselves or coworkers.

When you're trying to put together an awards program, it's a great idea to make sure you have the right gifts picked out for all winners. Something tangible and memorable, like branded awards or customized company clothing, will help employees remember why they're working so hard - as well as how much you value their contributions. Successories will always be able to help you find the right products to meet your team's needs - and your budget.