Employee Recognition Awards, Incentives, and Gifts

Manager holding recognition gift for an employee
There are many ways to reward valued employees.

A number of companies have adopted programs of employee recognition awards, incentives, and gifts as a way to reward employees. These items are offered for several reasons, including:

  • To recognize outstanding achievement
  • To promote loyalty among all staff members
  • To inspire workers to give their best efforts to their role within the company
  • To increase employee satisfaction

When to Recognize Employees

Employee recognition can be a part of the company's annual holiday party and/or picnic. An event to which all staff is invited is a wonderful opportunity for management to thank employees for their efforts. Give awards to star performers and recognize long-term employees by providing them with a gift. Staff members will see that working hard leads to positive results. Recognition of colleagues in front of all the staff encourages employees to give their best effort in the workplace.

Employees can also be recognized at other times. If a group or team has been working long hours on a project, acknowledge their efforts and achievement upon completion. Employee recognition awards, incentives, and gifts do not have to be given only once per year. Staff members will appreciate that company management noticed their contribution and gave them a tangible sign of appreciation.

Types of Rewards

A number of options for employee recognition awards, incentives, and gifts are available. Gift baskets, gift certificates, and prepaid credit cards are all good choices. Watches, rings, lapel pins, and charms are also available.

Wall-mounted or desktop style plaques are also ways to acknowledge an employee's achievements. They provide a concrete reminder of an individual's contribution to the company. Engraveable products are available in cherry, walnut, and rosewood. Acrylic awards can include the company logo, the recipient's name, and words about his or her achievement. Glass or crystal can also be used to fashion an award.

Tips for Employee Recognition Awards, Incentives, and Gifts

The following are suggestions to establish an effective employee recognition program:

  • Make sure all employees are aware of the program and how it works. Workers can be informed by way of e-mail, memo, or newsletter.
  • Give rewards for specific actions or performance. In the case of sales representatives, a reward could be offered as they reach specific sales targets. These targets can be set for specific dollar values or number of sales. Whatever system is adopted, it needs to be measurable. Be sure to share your staff member's achievements with the rest of the sales force and the company to help motivate other employees to do their best.
  • Avoid setting up a reward system where a manager is asked to choose the employees who will be rewarded. In that type of situation, it may appear as if certain employees are being favored by management. In this scenario, appearance is more important than the truth; if a manager is perceived to reward only a few select employees, then overall morale will suffer. This defeats the purpose of rewarding workers.

Other Ways to Recognize Employees

Aside from gifts and rewards, there are other simple ways to let employees know that their work is appreciated:

  • Get to know employees by name and use it when speaking to them
  • Managers should make a point of saying "good morning" and "good night" to employees
  • A simple "thank you" goes a long way in making someone feel appreciated
  • If a manager receives positive feedback about an employee's performance, make sure the employee is made aware of it
  • Buy cookies or muffins for employees on occasion

There are a number of good reasons to offer incentives to employees. If people feel that their efforts are appreciated, they are more likely to give their best effort on the job.

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Employee Recognition Awards, Incentives, and Gifts