The worst offense: giving out cookie-cutter awards not addressed to anyone specific, through an interoffice mail! It feels like an afterthought (it probably is) and is insulting to the recipient.
A company award program must be designed carefully. Research shows letting employees know they’re valued is more important factor in happiness at work than a pay raise or time off. This may be surprising, but it’s human nature to find meaning in more than money, after a certain threshold in income.
Award vs. Appreciation
So employees thrive on appreciation and recognition, rather than material awards. Does that mean companies should forego giving out awards altogether?
That’s not so. A complete award program should hit a sweet spot between the tangible – medals, trophies, time off, cash – and the intangible – recognition in front of peers and staff.
For physical awards like medals and trophies, how should companies design them?
Personalized recognition is the #1 rule when it comes to corporate awards. Engravings of the recipients are a given, as they let employees know the awards are truly meant for them. Also, people respond positively to their own names.
Since awards are given not only for appreciation but also to communicate company goals and values, they should match the company branding. If a corporate culture is more whimsical, awards should be designed to follow suit, instead of relying on the traditional boxy shape.
FineAwards.com offers many shapes and materials for awards that can help companies personalize milestones, anniversaries, and achievements. Custom crystal awards can be cut and polished, while mixing in corporate identity.
When companies put a little bit more thought into designing custom awards, employees are likely to have a second thought before shoving their awards into a drawer. They’ll be a source of pride and inspiration.
Focus on the Giving
How and when custom corporate awards are given is just as important as what to give.
Giving awards should be an event in itself. Many companies tack it onto their end of the year company party. This might not always work when a host of awards has to be given to multiple employees. When too many people are awarded at the same time, it takes away the specialness. The exception is when companies host a gathering exclusively for awards.
Instead of postponing awards until the end of the year, each award should be anchored to a specific occasion throughout the year. An anniversary award should be awarded on each recipient’s actual anniversary, or as close to it as possible.
A milestone or achievement award should be given after each big project is successful. At the end of the year, if companies want, they can recognize the recipients again.
There are employees who don’t like public fanfare and would rather be recognized privately. Companies should respect such employees, while still showing them appreciation for their contribution.