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Creative Employee Award Ideas to Say Thanks

The people who are on your team, those that fight for the goals and objectives of your brand everyday, are in fact, the most critical component of your business. Your investments should be with your greatest asset: your employees. World-renowned leaders like J. Willard Marriott are praised for their team-centric approach and have the following to show for it.

"Good personnel will work for a competent manager," Marriott has stated. "Go to every length to find, hire, and train good employees and treat them like your family. This is the crux of your whole operation."

In addition to providing your employees with the resources they need to do their job, it's critical to regularly demonstrate sincere appreciation for their contributions to the company's mission. They, after all, are a vital ingredient to your continued growth!

Setting standards of excellence and rewarding people for their outstanding work can leave a lasting impression on your hard-working employees. It also fosters loyalty between the employee and her employer for what will hopefully be a long-lasting relationship. Here are some traditional and not-so-average award ideas that "say thanks" to all the people who make your brand successful and unique.

Traditional Awards

The ceremony of handing a physical award to an individual is a time-honored tradition that always carries a great deal of pomp and circumstance regardless of the setting. You can go traditional with acrylic, crystal or glass awards, choose a plaque or framed award or even go with something more modern like a sculpture that fits the theme of the award. Whether or not you already present awards, you can always refresh your tradition to ensure it's a memorable one.

  • Performance Awards. As each new year approaches, use this is an appropriate time to recognize the high-achievers. Consider both revenue-generators and partnership creators. This also doesn't need to take place on an annual basis. Consider giving out benchmark awards in a timely fashion when the achievement has been made.
  • Excellence Awards. These such awards could be presented annually or even sporadically when the time is right to recognize individuals who make a major contribution to your company's growth or have a stand-out performance in their role. "Going above and beyond" or "living your corporate values" may be some special ways to acknowledge your excelling employees and encourage others to become more committed.
  • Cultural Awards. There's no doubt that employees who positively impact your corporate culture are invaluable to your company. It's important to take a timeout to recognize these people for launching new programs, fostering successful initiatives and strengthening the bond between your departments.
  • Loyalty Awards. There's a reason that people stay with a company for years and years. More often than not, it's not just for the paycheck. Embracing employees who stick with you through thick and thin and contribute to your company's growth are highly valued assets. Honor their commitment by recognizing their anniversary every 5 or 10 years. In addition to the commendation, a special bonus or benefit like a sabbatical could also enhance the acknowledgement and incentivize other team members to continue employment with you too.

Awards that Break the Mold

A positive corporate culture has become a high priority many of today's thriving businesses, which has resulted in some pretty creative ways to involve and recognize their employees. Considering some alternatives from the awards of yesteryear (like these listed below) have made a huge impact on morale.

  • Call Out the Failures. The Best New Mistake Award sounds counterproductive, but it does the opposite. It recognizes the individuals who challenged a process in attempt to make it better, and although they failed, the company will never repeat that mistake again!
  • Build Pride with Wearables. In the spirit of the traditional traveling trophy, some companies have transformed their award into a fun piece of attire like a jacket or championship belt to give their employees a chance to proudly taut their recent recognition.
  • Award them with Rewards. Not every form of recognition needs to resemble a trophy. Rewarding your team with meaningful gestures can make a tremendous impact and significantly nurture your culture. Think outside the box! Support their favorite local cause, improve the break room decor, or celebrate offbeat holidays like "Talk Like a Pirate Day".

A proverbial pat on the back goes a long way with people. We've found that the more thought that's invested, the more impactful the recognition is on the team. Another poignant quote from Mr. Marriott summarizes employee awards rather simply: “Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.” Take time to invest in the people that have invested their time in the company and you're all sure to reap the benefits.

Deciding on the best way to thank your employees doesn't need to rest on your shoulders.

We can help you brainstorm and find methods that fit your crew and won't break your budget.