getting your awards strategy right

By in Appreciation
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Let’s talk awards strategy. Is it really worth it? What are the benefits of giving awards at work? It’s more important and beneficial than you might think. A solid awards strategy has the power to increase employee involvement and engagement and ultimately lead to better business outcomes. In fact, a study found that organizations with mature recognition programs were 12 times more likely to have strong business results. Towers Watson discovered that managers who placed an emphasis on employee recognition increased engagement by nearly 60%.

In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper to help you understand the importance of an awards strategy, and then give you some award ideas to get things in gear and start reaping the benefits.

What is an awards strategy?

Simply put, it is a strategy that determines how you will go about awarding your employees for anything from a job well done to completing a certain number of years at the company. Your strategy may vary depending on the desires of your employees and your company culture. In order to formulate an effective strategy, it’s important to get input from employees.

You may consider sending out a survey through a personal email in order to understand how each individual employee desires to be recognized. Some employees may prefer gift cards, while others would rather receive a plaque or a cool new gadget. Some crave public recognition, while others wish to be awarded in private. Regardless, awards for employees should match employee desires.

awards for employees

Why is it important to have one?

It is important for a number of reasons. First, it helps you stay consistent with the way you award your employees. When crafting your strategy, you may decide to have specific criteria for winning specific awards, you may opt to be more spontaneous in the awards you give, or you may elect to have a combination of both. If you have a strategy behind when and how you give awards, you’ll be able to ensure that your awards program is consistent and monitor its effect on employee morale and productivity.

Second, a solid strategy for recognition will help improve employee engagement and keep morale high. In one study, when respondents were asked what leaders could improve on to drive engagement, 58% of respondents said “Give recognition.” Awards are an incredibly tangible way to give recognition. By deciding on specific milestones and requirements for certain awards, you can help employees understand the vision and motivate them to achieve it. When employees know what they are shooting for, they can perform better. Then, when they’re recognized for a job well done, they feel validated and stay engaged.

leaders improving engagement
What are the different types of office awards?

There are several different types of awards you can give to high achievers at the office. Again, make sure that you decide on which gifts you want to award for which accomplishments so you can stay consistent with your awards strategy. There are several office awards ideas, and we can help you out with the following:

  • Brand name items
  • Gift cards
  • Gourmet treats
  • Buttons and cards
  • Presentation awards
  • Event awards
  • Numerals
  • Trophies
  • Custom-designed awards

What else should you consider in your strategy?

Beyond just deciding the “when” and “why,” it’s important to get it right when it comes to “how” you present your awards. It’s important to take individual employee preferences into account, but there are a few best practices that’ll help you nail the presentation. In general, it’s a good idea to make the award feel special and exclusive. You may decide to give an award during a company meeting or you may opt to send out an email to the whole company notifying them of someone’s exceptional achievement and the award they’ve received.

how to present your awards

Find opportunities for the award and awardee to be showcased on social media. Is there a badge you can provide or an icon they can include on their social media account? Can you spotlight them on the company’s social media channels? Depending on how big the award is, making it public and noteworthy will allow the person who received the award to gain recognition beyond just the company.

Get going today

When it comes to awards, whether you have a strategy or not, it’s time to make sure it’s working for you. You may wish to take some time to reevaluate what your employees actually want or you may consider offering more awards than you are currently. Take some time to sit down and decide where you want to improve. Maybe you want to do more team recognition awards, or perhaps you want to do a better job of recognizing individuals. Whatever it is you’d like to change, there’s no time like the present to get started.

By o.c. tanner
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