Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges for HR teams in the post-pandemic era. While financial compensation remains crucial, soft motivators such as recognition, company culture, and non-financial employee awards are becoming increasingly important components of the employer value proposition (EVP).
Without a clear strategy, award programs can come across as a string of inconsistent and unmeasurable initiatives without lasting impact. On the other hand, well-designed strategic recognition and reward programs can help HR teams shape employee behaviors, drive productivity and boost engagement.
What are Employee Awards?
Employee awards are means to acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments and contributions of your workforce.
Conventionally, HR teams design structured award programs that are formally executed monthly or at regular intervals. Modern enterprises leverage HR automation tools that also facilitate unstructured peer recognition programs.
6 Major Benefits Employee Awards Companies Can’t Ignore!
#1. Higher Retention
Lack of career advancement is one of the chief reasons for attrition. Modern flat organization structures offer lesser hierarchical promotion opportunities. Employee recognition programs provide excellent alternative avenues for rewarding performance.
#2. Enhanced Employee Engagement
Engagement is an important driver of productivity, performance, and teamwork. Recognizing and celebrating employee wins makes them feel valued and provides a sense of purpose. Employee awards provide motivation, build commitment, and change behavior through many paths.
3. Lower Employee Stress Levels
Rewards serve as effective feedback mechanisms. Employees feel satisfied as they understand that they are performing well and delivering on their goals. Recognition boosts confidence, lowers anxiety, and improves mental well-being.
4. Better Business Performance
Award programs are a great way to align employee efforts with strategic goals. They also help improve the leadership perception among employees. Consistent execution of reward programs over time can boost the enterprise’s bottom line.
5. Increased Productivity
Performance-based employee awards motivate employees to improve consistently at their jobs and foster a culture of healthy competition. Per Gartner research, a well-designed recognition and rewards program can drive an 11.1% increase in average employee performance.
6. Compelling Employer Branding
Satisfied employees are the best ambassadors in the talent market. Recognition and reward programs augment your compensation and career advancement offerings and can be a differentiator for attracting and retaining top talent.
Types of Employee Awards With Examples
1. Performance Awards
These awards recognize exceptional performance. Generally, they base on measurable goals, manager, or customer feedback. They help align workforce performance with strategic organizational goals and imbibe a culture of continuous self-improvement.
- Employee of the month award – Given to the top performer for a particular month
- Stand-out performer – Given for consistent outperformance and displaying leadership skills
- Go that extra mile – For employees who go beyond their job descriptions to ensure they deliver enterprise goals.
- Most improved performer – Recognizes exemplary learning achievements, certifications, and improvements in output.
- Best customer centricity – Celebrates frontline employees who consistently get good customer reviews and retain the most clients.
2. Behavior and Value Awards
This award category recognize your employees with a strong work ethic and a value-driven approach to their job. These awards help acknowledge crucial qualities such as diligence, punctuality, and team orientation.
- Best Team Player – Given to employees who are good at collaboration, consistently add value to their co-workers, and hold the team members together in difficult times
- The Brainiac – Recognizes employees who display extraordinary innovation and problem-solving skills.
- Best Attendance Award – Celebrates punctual employees who shun absenteeism and deliver consistently within deadlines.
- The Engagement Champion – Recognizes employees who actively engage peers and customers, are good at networking, and contribute to multiple teams.
- The Social Contributor Award – Honors off-work employee contributions to social commitments and causes
3. Service or Tenure Awards
Service awards celebrate important employee milestones within your organization and applaud loyalty. They help foster inclusiveness and respect for experience.
- The One Mile Down – Marks the first work anniversary. It celebrates the employee’s journey from being a new hire to becoming an integral part of your team.
- Running the Marathon – Celebrates those who dedicate a significant term to your organization, say five years of service, and are still going strong.
- Forever With Us – Recognizes senior employees who have been with the organization for more than a decade
- The Iron Pillar – For employees who have been integral parts of the company’s growth journey since inception, generally awarded at events celebrating the company’s growth milestones.
- The Collared Diamond – Recognizes the most experienced employees who have mastered organization-specific skill sets and are mentors to other employees.
13 Awesome Employee Award Ideas
Some employees prefer recognition delivered privately, while others enjoy visibility. Some employees may value recognition for their efforts more than for outcomes. While some employees prefer a break, others may vie for interacting with business leaders. HR teams must personalize recognition and rewards to employee choices for maximum impact.
1. Additional Time Off
Extra leaves is a great reward for employees who consistently go to great lengths to deliver company objectives. It shows that the company cares about employees’ work-life balance and extra-professional commitments.
2. Wall of Fame
A Wall of Fame showcases the work done by your top employees. It serves as positive reinforcement and a source of inspiration to other employees.
3. Employee Newsletter Recognition
Many enterprises send weekly, or monthly newsletters are celebrating organizational wins and employee contributions. Company-facing praise also enables top-performing employees to network better within the company.
4. Gamified Awards
Gamified HR applications provide an immersive experience for employees with digital badges, points, and trophies and a real-time view of their performance. They also seamlessly integrate with internal social platforms and reward redemption apps.
5. Incentive Trips
The idea of a company-sponsored personal vacation is exciting for employees who love to explore new places. Weekend getaways can be refreshing for employees and help to increase their productivity.
6. Company Social Media Recognition
Posts on the company’s social media detailing the award and the employees’ contribution provide immense visibility to employees across company locations. Comments by peers and leadership on these posts motivate employees further.
7. Discount Vouchers
Discounts on products or services the employee values are great one-time appreciation gifts. The vouchers must be easily redeemable online or from local outlets.
8. Donation to a Cause
Enterprises can consider donating to a charity of the employee’s choice. It signals that the organization endorses the cause the employee is passionate about.
9. Workplace Enhancement
Virtual assistant devices, digital watches, planners, and calendars are tangible items with a functional purpose. Employees appreciate these as they make work easier and faster.
10. Thankyou Meetings
Conduct team meetings dedicated to expressing gratitude to top-performing employees. These meetings must not have anything else on the agenda for maximum impact.
11. Senior Leadership Interactions
A lunch with the CXOs can make the employee feel special, especially in large companies where top leaders do not frequently interact one-on-one with most employees. Per Deloitte research, 44% of employees prefer recognition from the leadership level above their direct supervisor.
12. Learning Experiences
Invest in employees’ passions, interests, and hobbies by gifting relevant online or offline training courses. Employees value company support in individual all-round development.
13. Wellness Gifts
Spa experiences, massages, gym memberships, or mental well-being consultations are stupendous awards to let employees know their well-being is crucial to the organization.
HR automation is essential to designing, executing, and streamlining award programs. Easy-to-use award redemption portals, peer-to-peer recognition tools, and automated HR newsletters are some use cases for rewards and recognition software.
Many organizations fail to measure the ROI of employee awards. People analytics based on workforce performance data and survey responses can also provide insights into the measurable improvements in productivity and engagement levels of employees. It helps continuously improve your employee reward strategies.