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How to Recognize Your Top-Performing Employees

Employee Recognition Best Practices

There are many kinds of employee recognition, from on-the-spot verbal praise   to employee of the month programs. But employee recognition awards for your  top performers are a special category. These awards are typically   presented quarterly or bi-annually to recognize employees who have set a new  bar for achievement in any number of employee recognition award categories. They’re often awarded at an event or ceremony and are on the premium side because they recognize such important achievements.


There are three ingredients to creating the perfect recognition program for your top performers: The categories, the event and the employee recognition awards themselves. We’ll go over them here so you can get started honoring your best employees


Employee Recognition Award Categories

Don't think of employee recognition awards as being for salespeople only. You can – and should – reward top-performing employees in every department. Just make sure you’re following a system of measurement so that your employees know what to work toward. Here are some popular ideas by department:

  •          Sales: Most sales made
  •          Customer service: Most customer complaints resolved
  •          Engineering: Most bugs fixed
  •          Product: Fastest product turnaround
  •          Human resources: Most recruits

You can also create employee recognition award categories that are chosen from the entire company for accomplishments like:

  •          Attendance: Fewest sick days taken
  •          Years of service: Longest-running employee
  •          Personal development: Most goals achieved
  •          Promotions: Largest promotion given


Employee Recognition Events

So you’re ready to hand out employee recognition awards – make a big deal about it! These awards are for the best of the best, and the ceremony should reflect that. For larger companies and international companies, an annual convention or conference is an ideal time to give out these awards. But even smaller companies can create a yearly event that will excite employees and give them something to look forward to – and you don’t need a huge budget to make it fun. Just follow these steps:

  1. Choose your theme: A theme makes everything more fun, including employee recognition awards ceremonies. “Shooting for the Stars” and other space themes are popular; you can also have a Hollywood theme and honor your own “star actors.” International companies can choose a global theme, highlighting all the different countries they operate in. Other popular themes include luaus, casino nights, winter wonderlands and the roaring ’20s.
  2. Pick your venue: Try to rent an indoor venue to avoid any weather problems, and make sure there’s plenty of seating. Choose a location that’s close to your office to accommodate different commute times and to avoid seeming biased. If you’re really on a tight budget, you can have the party at your office.
  3. Get food and drinks: Top-notch award ceremonies will provide dinner and drinks, but it doesn’t have to be fancy. Whether you go for food trucks, hors d’oeuvres or a full sit-down dinner, the important thing is to give your employees a chance to socialize over food and drinks.
  4. Choose your employee recognition award categories and winners: Check out our list above to get started, then get creative. Winners can be chosen by vote or by committee, depending on the setup of your recognition program.
  5. Prepare your speeches: Have the CEO and members of upper management give speeches throughout the evening. For larger companies, this is often the only time employees get to interact with these senior positions. When handing out awards, give a short speech about the employee, the accomplishment and how it helped the company.
  6. Have fun! Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan and organize. You’ll be less stressed and have more fun when the day arrives.


Premium Employee Recognition Awards

The final ingredient for incredible employee recognition awards is a high-quality, premium trophy or plaque. You want to send the message that only the best awards will do for your best employees. Here are our top premium options:

  • Vases and bowls: Hand-blown and hand-cut from fine European and Oriental 24% lead crystal, our vases and bowls are elegant and sophisticated employee recognition awards.
  • Trophy cups: Reward a big accomplishment with an equally sizeable trophy: These are some of our tallest and most impressive trophies. They come in shining metal, sparkling crystal, and even blue cobalt, and add a triumphant touch to any desk or office.
  • Crystal awards: Our optical K9 crystal is the highest clarity and best quality on the market. It’s precision cut, polished and personalized with your thoughtful message using state-of-the-art etching techniques.
  • Plaque awards: Premium plaques are an attractive addition to any office. In stunning gold, handsome hardwoods and contemporary glass, there’s a plaque to fit any company brand or employee style.
  • Art glass awards: Give a dedicated employee a truly unique employee recognition award by recognizing them with an art glass award. These awards are hand-blown and each piece is one-of-a-kind, as the techniques used to create different patterns of bubbles each time.

When it’s time to recognize your top performers, it’s all about creating a distinctive atmosphere that makes them feel special. Ready to choose your employee recognition award categories and get started? We’ll see you at the ceremony!