Employee Recognition... How to Get it Right!

Employee recognition event with group applauding the recipient and having a great time.

When evaluating employee recognition it’s important to proceed carefully, because not all companies are the same, so a one-size-fits-all philosophy won’t work. This may sound like a bit of a cop out, but the reality is every recognition program should be uniquely tailored to make it truly special.

The impact the program has on its recipients as well as any attendees of the event is what will ultimately determine how truly special your efforts are. Making a change to existing recognition events or developing a new one offers a chance for companies to improve employee morale and satisfaction in the workplace.

Now let’s move on to some very practical advice on developing a corporate recognition program. We’ll discuss the importance of all the key players: the recipient, management, attendees, and the company as a whole. By taking a quick look at these key players we can understand the impact recognition has on each.


Text Change with hand removing the G and replacing with C to spell chance.

Individual Employee Recognition

First, let’s ask the question, “is an employee who feels appreciated more likely to excel than one who feels forgotten?”

A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management in 2018 found that 68 percent of Human Resource professionals agreed that employee recognition has a positive impact on retention and 56 percent said such programs help with recruitment.

It’s easy to see that a culture of recognition in the workplace can and often does lead to higher employee satisfaction.


Corporate Management

On their own merits, the statistics reported above should be enough to sell any management team on the idea of Employee Recognition.

Tools and processes that allow managers to show appreciation offer the added benefit of helping to retain plus keep employees motivated, engaged, and happy in the workplace. Though effective onboarding is also an important factor in retaining talent, most managers would agree that onboarding and training new employees is time consuming and costly.

Then there’s the topic of recruiting new talent. When employees are happy, engaged, and fulfilled in their work, they are more likely to share their positive experiences and encourage others to apply for opportunities in the company.

A quick recommendation to award presenters at corporate events – this is a great time to polish up your speech and present like a pro...


Attending a Corporate Recognition Event

Let’s circle back to the idea that every corporate recognition event should be special. We’ll take a closer look at two of the most important groups of people at a corporate event – the recipients and the attendees.

Recognition at a planned corporate event is different from a casual pat on the back in the conference room to say thank you in front of the employee’s peers – it often includes company executives, managers from other company divisions, and even family members.

It’s obvious that being recognized in front of potential career decision makers, such as upper and middle management, will have an impact on the way an employee receives his or her award. But we also like to look at the intangible benefits of including family members in a recognition setting.

A corporate event that includes spouses or family members can create a truly special moment for the recipient. Hearing about impressive accomplishments at work instills a level of pride for the importance of what the employee does outside of the home.


Company Benefits

By now you’re hopefully starting to see the bigger picture of how showing appreciation can be beneficial to the whole corporate structure all the way from the top down.

The true benefits come in the form of long-term payoffs! A happy employee is a productive employee, a productive employee makes management's job less difficult, and higher employee production often leads to improved corporate profits.

Developing an internal culture that promotes management showing appreciation for work well done is a win for all parties involved.


Now that we’ve discussed the long-term benefits, let’s take a look at our top ten suggestions on how to get it right!

Please don’t let the statement “get it right” intimidate you. Each of these ten practical examples can be applied to an understated presentation in the conference room or a black tie event at the Hilton. The most important thing to do is a bit of planning which will put you in a position to succeed.



Woman writing goals on pad of paper with coffee cup to right.Goals

Always establish goals by crafting a vision of how the program will benefit the organization. Developing future desired results based on a planned timeline will help with management buy in plus contribute to long term success.






Every great recognition program begins with a plan. Begin by taking a close look at your goals for establishing the program. It’s those goals that will help as you make decisions about budgets, products, and places.

For instance, if your primary goal is to help your entry level or minimum wage employees be more productive and competitive in the workplace – moving down the path of an expensive black tie event might not make a lot of sense.



Graph indicating budget.Budget

This is the ever critical factor in any awards program. There needs to be a funded budget to allow managers to do the job of properly recognizing their teams. Creating a monthly, quarterly, or annual recognition program without a funded budget could lead to cancellations or changes where employees feel slighted or unappreciated because they were promised one thing and delivered something different.





Specifying how, when, where, and what will be beneficial to the long-term success of your recognition program. Giving managers the tools they need to nominate recipients and providing an instructional roadmap will keep the process moving forward and assist in meeting expectations.





Old time clock with words Achievement printed on face.Frequency

Definitely one of the most important data points when it comes to developing your program. Frequency is important for many reasons, but mostly it should be done often enough to stay exciting to the organization. We’ve found that larger organizations have better success with monthly recognition and smaller orgs can work quarterly or annually. It can be awkward for managers to present awards to the same team members month after month because they are the ones that perform the best.



Group of office workers making a circle with their fist to celebrate unity and excitement.Timely

Establish a date and time for your team to prepare and present the awards. For instance, a first Friday of every month in the lunchroom or for a parking lot barbecue. Regular, memorable times will encourage and promote consistent participation.





Black chess pawns with one standing out as red.Visible

Recognition is meant to be visible. Though a private thank you for a job well done goes a long way towards developing a culture of recognition, showing appreciation for excellence in front of others is hugely important to the overall success of your program and offers motivational opportunities to those not recognized.





Two piece acrylic banking deal toy.Choose

Whether it’s hardware, deal toys, or traditional awards – the right award for the occasion is an important decision. Size, colors, logos, and most importantly the engraved message should be considered carefully. This is a great time to envision how the recipient will receive the recognition trophy and where it may be displayed.




Combination of blocks coming together to from one large block.Strategize

Though you may not think strategy comes into play with recognition, you might consider the opposite when you review your recognition goals. Growing a program to a viable, memorable event that motivates your team takes a well thought out strategy.

For instance the simple task of evaluating the first round of recognition may provide insightful opportunities to make adjustments for next month's event, potentially making it more exciting. A good thing to remember is that if you can develop a level of excitement around the program, you're sure to have better support.



Outward communication graphic with lines drawn from center person to others outside her block.Communicate

No matter where the idea comes from, the importance of communication cannot be overstated. Communicating the goals both up the management ladder and across the base structure of corporate employees will only enhance your chances of long-term success.

Be sure to communicate the purpose of the recognition, where it will take place, management's responsibility, how employees will be nominated, what you plan to present, who is presenting, who should be there, and what to wear if applicable. Make it easy for everyone involved to participate and enjoy the moment.



Agile flexibility graphic with arrow traveling across a plane.Flexibility

Things happen! No matter how prepared you are, you should expect that situations will arise that are outside of your control. The CEO’s plane gets delayed, the award recipient gets sick, the food truck breaks down – you get the picture. Don’t let uncontrollable circumstances deter you from making it fun. A last minute pizza order is better than letting the issue put a damper on the party.



How can US Acrylic Awards help you?

The best answer to that question would be our experience! Over 38 years of manufacturing experience and the best customer service in the industry go into every acrylic award we produce. Our design team specializes in creating unique acrylic trophies, plaques, and medals to highlight your brand and instill a sense of pride in receiving recognition. From custom shaped trophies contoured to your logo, to exceptional cast Lucite® embedments with your first run of patented products – we’re committed to being your recognition partner.


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