Organizational Wellness

Eight Recognition Awards to Enhance Employee Engagement and Performance

Jan 25, 2024
Last Updated May 8, 2024

Have you ever put everything you have into a work project just for it to go unnoticed? It can be discouraging when your efforts are not appreciated. In fact, “lack of recognition” is the third-most common reason people say they are or would consider leaving their jobs, according to Instride.

On the other hand, even a simple “thank you” can go a long way in the workplace. Acknowledging someone’s impact makes them feel valued and creates a culture of appreciation. You can build appreciation into your organization by regularly practicing employee recognition

Looking for a little inspiration? These recognition awards are fun and easy ways to applaud employees for all their contributions to your company.

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What are Recognition Awards?

Recognition awards are gifts or tokens of appreciation given to employees for their performance or contributions. The purpose is often twofold: to acknowledge and reward outstanding efforts, and motivate people to sustain (or elevate) their performance. 

Unlike other employee incentives, employee recognition awards are not solely tied to tangible benefits like bonuses. Instead, they focus on acknowledging the intrinsic value of an employee's efforts — which promotes a sense of belonging and accomplishment. This acknowledgment often comes with some kind of physical representation, such as:

  • Certificates
  • Plaques
  • Company-branded gifts
  • Trophies
  • Employee-selected gifts from a catalog

The Benefits of Implementing Employee Recognition Awards

Aside from making others feel good about themselves, giving recognition where it is due has company-driven advantages, too. Some of the most exciting benefits that HR may see develop include these perks:

  • Boosts Morale: A sincere "good job" can do wonders for employee morale. Instead of feeling like a cog in the wheel, recognition validates their hard work and keeps them motivated.
  • Increased Engagement: Employees who feel appreciated are likelier to be engaged at work, too. They bring their passion and dedication to their tasks and often go the extra mile because they know their work matters.
  • Reduces Turnover: When employees feel valued, they're less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere — they are actually invested in their work. This can significantly reduce turnover rates and save your organization time and money.
  • Encourages Positive Culture: Recognition sets the tone for a positive company culture. It shows that your organization cares about its employees and values their contributions. Setting this tone can not only improve the work that is getting done but also encourage employees to be supportive and appreciative of one another.
  • Drives Productivity: Ninety-five percent of workers say their emotional wellness impacts their productivity, according to The State of Work-Life Wellness 2024 from Wellhub. Recognition adds to that emotional wellness, inspiring employees to take pride in their work and perform even better.

Eight Creative and Inspiring Recognition Award Ideas

  1. Innovative Achievement Award

This award celebrates unparalleled creativity and ingenuity in the workplace. It can be given to individuals who bring fresh perspectives and spark innovation on their team. Think of someone who goes beyond the status quo and is willing to try new things — you can reward their innovation and the results they earned with this award.

  1. Exceptional Leadership Award

You can pay tribute to those who embody exemplary leadership and positively impact the employee experience of others. Celebrating individuals who inspire and guide those around them are demonstrating noteworthy leadership competencies. This contributes to the success and growth of the team, and if your organization would like to see more of it, it’s best to reward that behavior.

  1. Team Collaboration Award

If you’ve got some great team players on your crew, you can thank them for their collaborative efforts with this award.  It applauds individuals who excel in fostering effective team dynamics and cooperation. By celebrating those who foster team building, the award reinforces the idea that collective success is built on mutual support. 

  1. Customer Service Excellence Award

This award recognizes individuals who consistently deliver superior service to customers. When you take care of your employees, you are often taking care of your customers, too. Appreciating employees who go the extra mile for clients encourages others to do the same, which can be a big factor in performance management.

  1. Dedication and Loyalty Award

If you want to acknowledge a tenured employee or someone who has stuck around for a long time, this award may be the perfect solution. This accolade celebrates the invaluable contributions of employees who have stood by the organization through thick and thin. By highlighting their loyalty, the award not only honors the recipients but also reinforces a culture of mutual trust in the workplace.

  1. Rising Star Award

Long-term employees aren’t the only ones you can reward — you can also acknowledge emerging talent within the organization. This award is a salute to individuals who showcase exceptional potential and dedication. It’s not only great for your recognition program efforts but it aligns seamlessly with your talent management strategy, too.

  1. Best Remote Worker Award

Some people are especially great at leveraging their work from home tools and making the online workspace a better place. This award recognizes the unique challenges of remote work and applauds those who navigate them with finesse. These employees tend to be adaptable and self-disciplined, and their high performance deserves to be applauded.

  1. Most Improved Performer Award

On the journey of employee development, it can be especially motivating to see someone recognized for their growth. People who earn this award have demonstrated a commitment to self-improvement and exhibited a substantial positive transformation in their work. By celebrating the Most Improved Performer, the award inspires a culture of learning and professional development. 

How to Create a Stellar Employee Recognition Awards Program

Not every company will approach its recognition program the same way, but some best practices can get you started on the right foot. These steps help organizations build impactful recognition awards programs so that employees can look forward to regular and intentional acknowledgment.

  1. Clear Objectives

One of the best places to start is to define your goals. Are you aiming to boost morale or improve teamwork? Maybe you want to enhance individual performance. Whatever the case, clear goals provide a roadmap for designing a program that aligns with your organization's overall strategy.

  1. Budget Planning

Next, you can conduct a thorough assessment of your financial resources — this can help you determine a realistic budget. You may consider factors such as the frequency of awards and the types of recognition, plus any associated event costs. A well-planned budget ensures sustainability and prevents overcommitment.

  1. Choose Meaningful Awards

Impactful programs are often the ones that tailor awards to an employee's preferences. This could include personalized tokens or professional development opportunities. Some employees may appreciate some extra time off. Understanding what motivates your team can help you provide recognition that is genuinely valued.

  1. Fair Criteria

Especially to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it’s important to develop transparent nomination and selection criteria. You can start by clearly outlining the qualities or achievements that warrant recognition. Let employees know that, regardless of their role or level, they do contribute to the company's success and should be rewarded.

  1. Program Promotion

To spread the word, you can leverage various channels such as Slack or team meetings to inform employees about the program. It may help to define its purpose with the workforce and explain the nomination process to boost participation and excitement. You can also ask for feedback from employees and reevaluate after any big changes — a flexible program is often more successful in the long run.

Boosting Employee Wellness with Appreciation

Employee recognition can help foster positive employee relationships and keep teams happy in their positions — it often just takes a little acknowledgment.  Awarding individuals shows just how important they are to your company, which can boost morale and productivity.

Recognition can help complete a robust wellbeing strategy. Employee wellness programs offer HR leaders a way to acknowledge everyone’s contributions while also supporting the health of the workforce. With health benefits and fun activities in place, wellness programs can be the foundation of both appreciation and wellbeing at work.

To discover other novel ways to boost your employee wellness, talk with a Wellbeing Specialist today!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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