Millennials and Gen Z look at workplace culture as a top factor, and they want both professional and personal development. An employee recognition program and awards for your employees can help you create a positive culture that rewards personal and professional achievements. A positive work environment like that will help your company attract and retain top talent.
Benefits of An Employee Recognition Program and Achievement Awards
An employee recognition program is a low-cost way to make a huge impact on your bottom line. Just look at the numbers:
- Increase employee retention: A study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 68% of HR professionals agree their employee recognition program helps with retention.
- Create a positive workplace culture: The same study found that employee achievement awards provide a positive workplace experience (89%), improve relationships (87%) and contribute to a positive organizational culture (86%).
- Improve motivation: A Gallup poll found that employee recognition boosts engagement and increases productivity. It’s simple – employees who feel their managers value their contributions are willing to work harder for those managers.
- Be more competitive: All of these things add up to the ultimate business goal: improving your bottom line and being more competitive in your marketplace. No matter what industry you’re in, that’s something any business can get behind.
Characteristics of the Best Employee Recognition Programs
Nearly 80% of companies have some sort of employee recognition program. But you want to make yours the best. The Gallup poll found that public ceremonies with an award or certificate were the most memorable type of employee recognition. They also have these traits:
- They’re tied to business goals: Attracting and retaining employees and creating an excellent culture are great goals – but your recognition program needs to be more specific. Need to improve your customer service? Want to create innovative new products? Or maybe you just need sales. Relate your program to your business goals and you’ll get double the results.
- They’re related to your values: Creating a positive company culture is one of the best results you’ll get from giving employee achievement awards, so don’t forget about your values. Give awards for things like teamwork, thought leadership and integrity, and you’ll promote those same things in the workplace.
- They involve all employees: The best employee recognition awards aren’t just given out by management on a whim. They take feedback and input from all levels of the organization, and they give out awards equally across departments. Make sure you don’t skip new hires, administrative departments and other “behind-the-scenes” employees when awards season rolls around.
- They have executive engagement: Of course, buy-in from managers and the company C-suite is necessary to get any program off the ground. Plus, recognition from the top tier of the company can make an award more meaningful. Your executives can sign a letter, or better yet, lead the awards ceremony.
How to Implement an Employee Recognition Program
1. Get Executive Buy-In
The numbers above are just the start. There are tons of studies that have proven the importance of employee recognition programs and achievement awards for attracting the best talent, improving profits and reducing turnover. If you’re an executive, you’re already ahead of the game – skip to the next step.
If you need to get executive buy-in, create a presentation for your C-level bosses using just the facts. Give them a detailed plan of how you’ll develop the program and what will be involved, including the money and time needed. Make sure you’re specific about what the executives will need to do – for example, presenting the awards or making a ceremony speech.
2. Choose What You Want to Recognize
You can’t give an award without knowing what you’re recognizing. Some of the most popular employee recognition program awards include:
- Length of tenure: Inspire a sense of loyalty by recognizing those who have stuck with the company. Depending on how old your company is, you can give 1, 5, 10 or even 20-year awards.
- Promotions: Corporate awards are a great way to recognize big promotions. Regional sales managers, department directors and C-level promotions are award-worthy.
- Sales and customer service: Every business involves these on some level. Rewarding those with the most sales or best customer service over a specific period of time is a sure way to improve these metrics.
- Innovation: Edison said, “There’s a way to do it better – find it.” In the race to stay ahead of the competition, rewarding innovation in any part of your company – from product to operations – is always valuable.
- Personal development: Younger employees don’t just want purposeful jobs – they want continuous professional and personal development. Employee recognition awards go hand in hand with mentorship programs or other development programs you may have.
3. Determine Your Criteria
The best employee achievement rewards have concrete criteria. This could be as straightforward as number of sales made or number of customer complaints resolved. For example, as part of your employee recognition program, consider “rating systems” in an innovation category. Employees would be rated on several criteria using a pre-determined scale. For less tangible awards, like those related to company values, surveys or a voting system are good methods.
In order for your employee achievement awards to be motivational and help your business goals, your workers need to know what they need to do to win. Criteria should be specific, documented and accessible to all employees.
4. Decide Who Votes
Any employee recognition program should involve all of your workers at some level, but they don’t necessarily have the final say. You could create a program in which anyone can nominate a candidate, and then a select committee (whether upper management or a team of volunteers) chooses finalists and a winner. This works well for awards like innovation and thought leadership, where not all employees will have detailed knowledge of the candidates.
A completely democratic process works well for an employee recognition program and awards involving company values such as leadership, social awareness or work ethic. Simple and representative, just send out a survey to all employees and take a vote.
5. Create Your Awards for the Employee Recognition Program
This is the exciting part – and you don’t need to spend a lot of money, either. Plaque awards are a great budget option and look ultra-professional hanging in any office. Trophies are perfect for fun categories and for sales and customer service awards. You can even create custom awards in the shape of your company logo or an item related to your industry. The sky is the limit, so start browsing!
Creating a Collaborative Work Environment
As a manager, leader, coach, or anything in between, demonstrating your ability to see and appreciate value in your team is the easiest way to earn loyalty, trust, and respect. Often, people just want to feel that the work they are doing counts for something.
At the heart of award-giving is the expression of gratitude for a job well-done. If a group or individual’s work is having or has had a positive impact on the success and trajectory of a company, team, or humanity, it should be celebrated with a teamwork award from EDCO.
There is an endless amount of literature on team building, employee engagement, and workplace success. As such, leaders have many tools at their disposal for fostering a collaborative work environment.
Given that different factors drive motivation for each individual, identifying the most effective strategy for fostering teamwork can be difficult.
Some leaders like to use competition as a means of driving performance. This can be effective in many areas like sales or sports, where outcomes are tangible and definite. For more ambiguous or elusive objectives, competition can kill the creativity needed to achieve a goal.
Other leaders might like to take a hands-off approach and let individuals guide each other towards the goals and objectives of the team. It is no secret that empowered employees are those who feel trusted to do a good job without constant oversight.
This may be effective in building individual motivation but could prove difficult for team-based work. Reminding individuals of their role within the larger picture is essential in fostering collaboration across the entirety of a collective mission.
Use Teamwork Skills to Improve Outputs
As a leader in the workplace, getting teammates to collaborate effectively can be a challenge. It is not enough for each member of the team to independently achieve their portion of a project. The team must be united by a singular goal and needs to have a good toolbelt of teamwork skills to work well together.
Some of the most essential skills for effective communication and collaboration are:
- Active listening: helps with clarification and understanding
- Logical argument: allows constructive debate on important project decisions
- Respect: keeps civility in team relationships
- Questioning: ensures that projects and goals remain in focus and on track
- Helping: makes teammates feel supported and valued
- Participation: builds a team-centric attitude
Oftentimes, it is difficult to ensure that all team members buy into the goal, mission, or objective of the project. Consistent acknowledgement of individual and group efforts will go a long way in providing motivation and perspective for any task.
No matter which motivational method you use to create a collaborative environment, pausing to recognize the result is paramount in having a well-rounded, cyclical leadership strategy.
Expressing Gratitude to Drive Performance
A Gallup poll found that direct supervisors typically provide the most meaningful contribution recognition for employees. By giving out special awards to recognize valuable contributions, you can significantly improve your team’s morale and provide increased motivation for employees to perform well.
Nothing is worse than the leader who pushes and drives results without ever stopping to say, “thank you.”
Investing time into your team is essential for driving results. These small investments can add up over time to build something powerful. You should express gratitude frequently, and award-giving is an easy, cost-effective way to make people feel appreciated and valued.
The EDCO line of awards, plaques, trophies, and branded products provides many options for leaders looking to express their appreciation. For teamwork awards, we offer many collaboration-focused products that can still recognize individuals in the scope of their role within a team.
Use Awards to Acknowledge Contributions
It is important to consistently acknowledge successes so that teams will feel motivated to aim high all year long. From buying lunch to organizing team outings, there are many ways to recognize teamwork.
Collaboration awards are a special way to pause collectively and allow individuals and groups to feel proud of their accomplishments.
Types of Collaboration Awards
Collaboration awards can take many forms, but ultimately you want something that accurately depicts the nature of the contribution.
At EDCO, we have many different award styles and designs that will reflect any type of accomplishment. From team trophies to individual awards, here are some of our favorite styles:
Nothing says: “you’ve just conquered the world” like a globe trophy. Some projects or tasks feel monumental and larger than life, and a globe award signals these major, lasting impacts. This type of award could be useful for recognizing both individual and/or team efforts.
For companies with a focus on the future, modern award designs provide a uniqueness that mirrors innovative contributions.
We offer many minimalist and contemporary awards styles made from sleek metals or metal coatings to fit different budgets. Modern designs like the Stellar Achievement Award or Circle Teamwork Award would be excellent options for teams who have propelled the company further towards the future.
If you want to recognize teamwork contributions on the individual level, figure awards are the way to go. You could even use figure awards to recognize duos that have worked in harmony, as one, to make a significant contribution.
Public achievement recognition can have a lasting impact on an employee’s resolve and commitment to their work. Perpetual plaques keep a running list of individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty and made a lasting impact.
Hang them up in your office to acknowledge dedicated employees for years to come and see how they motivate others to work just as hard.
All in all, employee recognition is one of the most powerful tools that leaders have in creating collaborative environments. It is important to find a leadership strategy that works well for your specific team, but acknowledging contributions is what keeps people performing at a high level.
EDCO collaboration awards are the perfect way to express gratitude, and they can go a long way in creating a forward momentum that propels your team into the future.