10 Employee Recognition Award Ideas To Motivate Your Team

We've put together 10 award ideas that will help recognize team members for their hard work and dedication.

June 6, 2022
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Motivating an entire team to work together can be a tough thing to do. While managers may come up with plans, routine meetings, and other incentives, it's important that the team members themselves know exactly how much they're appreciated on a daily basis. 

With this in mind, we've put together 10 award ideas that could be implemented by managers or even independently by employees themselves to recognize other team members for their hard work and dedication.


5 types of employee recognition
  1. Structured Recognition
  2. Unstructured Recognition
  3. Monetary rewards
  4. Public Recognition
  5. Surprise & Delight Rewards
1. Structured recognition

This is the most common type of employee recognition program. It typically involves giving out points or badges that can be redeemed for company merchandise or other perks. The advantage of structured recognition is that it's easy to administer and set up, but it doesn't offer much in terms of creativity or personalization.

2. Unstructured recognition 

This is a more personalized approach to recognizing employees. Instead of using a points system or other predetermined criteria, managers can simply recognize employees whenever they feel they deserve it without worrying about whether they have enough points to redeem anything. 

The disadvantage here is that managers might not always be able to find an appropriate opportunity to praise their employees in this way.

3. Monetary rewards

Cash bonuses and gift cards are common ways to recognize employees' efforts and accomplishments. While they're often tied to financial metrics like profits or sales quotas, they can also be awarded based on specific achievements such as completing a project ahead of schedule or going above and beyond in customer service.

4. Public Recognition

Public recognition is similar to formal recognition in that it's given in front of other people and often involves handing out awards or certificates (or even just putting someone's name on a wall). But instead of giving something a bonus or gift certificate, public recognition involves recognizing someone in front of their peers or the general public.

5. Surprise & Delight Rewards

This is a small gift or gesture that's given to employees out of the blue. The best part about these is that they can be as simple or elaborate as possible. There's no rulebook for employee recognition ideas like this one!

Why should you give employee recognition awards?

Employee recognition awards are a great way to show your employees that you appreciate them and their contributions to the company. Not only do they make for a fun and memorable work environment, but employee recognition awards can also help improve employee engagement and performance.

Here are some of the top reasons why you should give employee recognition awards:
  • Employee recognition awards encourage loyalty and engagement
  • Employee recognition awards help motivate employees to improve their performance
  • Employee recognition awards are a great way to show your employees that you value them and their contributions to the company

Sign up for Assembly's Give Recognition Flow today and make it a part of every employee's experience to feel valued for what they do. Book a demo to learn more.

What awards can you give to employees?

Awards are a great way to reward employees for their contributions, and they can be used in various ways. They can be used as a simple thank you for doing an exceptional job, or they can be given as part of an incentive program to help drive specific behaviors and outcomes.

Here are some common types of awards:

Recognition awards: These are usually small tokens given to employees who have done something worthy of recognition. They may include a certificate, trophy, or T-shirt with the company logo. Recognition awards are often used to recognize people who go above and beyond what's expected, such as taking on extra responsibilities or completing tasks that weren't originally part of their job descriptions.

Incentive awards: These are tangible rewards given out based on performance against goals or other criteria defined by management. Incentive awards can range from cash bonuses for reaching sales targets to gift cards for improving customer satisfaction scores over time. They're often tied directly to specific behaviors that will help drive better results for your business, such as meeting sales targets or increasing customer happiness scores each month.

Service awards: Service awards are given to employees who have been with your company for an extended period of time or have achieved specific milestones during their tenure at your company. Service awards can be given out at any time that is convenient, but they should not be given out too often, or else they will lose their impact.

What types of recognition do employees want?

When it comes to employee recognition, the old saying "people don't care what you do, they care about why you do it" rings true. We all have different motivators and desires, but some common elements come up in employee surveys about recognition. Here are a few:

Recognition for their work: Employees want to know that their efforts are noticed, even if management doesn't recognize them formally. They want to feel like their contributions are valued, even if those contributions don't seem like much to others who aren't as close to the situation.

Recognition from peers: Some employees crave recognition from their colleagues more than anything else. It's not enough for them to hear from their manager or supervisor how great they are; they want other people who know them well to affirm what they probably know about themselves — that they're doing an excellent job at work.

Recognition for bigger accomplishments (not just day-to-day tasks): If an employee has done something truly exceptional, whether it's closing a major deal or making a significant improvement during an upgrade, they may appreciate being recognized by management publicly and privately.

10 Best Employee Recognition Awards

Here are 10 best employee recognition awards that will help you recognize your employees in a meaningful way:

1. Employee of the Month Award: This award is ideal for recognizing employees who have performed exceptionally well during a particular month. It can also be given to employees who have shown exceptional leadership skills.

2. Employee of the Year Award: This award recognizes an employee who has made exceptional contributions throughout the year. This award can be given based on different criteria such as customer satisfaction, sales volume, etc., depending on your organization's needs.

3. Safety Award: The safety award is a great employee recognition award for working hard to keep the workplace safe. It is perfect for those who work in manufacturing or construction but can be used in any industry.

4. Top Performer Award: This type of award is given to a person who has gone above and beyond their job description in some way. It might be someone who created a new process or product that saved the company money. Either way, it's an excellent way to show your appreciation for their hard work!

5. Innovation Award: Innovation is the cornerstone of progress and success in any organization. The innovation award recognizes those who take risks, think outside the box and solve problems in new ways. This award is perfect for any employee who has recently invented or improved upon a product or service offered by your company.

6. Teamwork Award: This award recognizes employees who work well with others to achieve a common goal or objective. It can be given at the end of a project or as part of an annual performance review process. Nominate your most deserving employees for the Teamwork Award by using Assembly's Team Player Award Nomination Flow.


7. Most Improved Employee Award: This award recognizes an employee who has made significant improvements in their performance over time. The winner is usually selected by management or peers based on their performance reviews and/or peer nominations over the past year, month, or quarter.

8. Leadership Award: This award is given to an individual who has shown excellent leadership qualities. The winner will be chosen based on how they behave in various situations and their ability to inspire others.

9. Quality Improvement Award: This award goes to employees who make significant improvements in quality control by implementing new processes or changing existing ones based on feedback from customers or internal audits.

10. Rising Star Award: This award is presented to an employee who has shown exceptional talent, potential, and dedication. It is ideal for a young employee who has demonstrated a high level of competence and potential. It's also great for employees who have been with the company for a while but have just come into their own.

Bottom line

There are many different ways to reward and recognize employees because, at the end of the day, it's much more about creating an environment where employees can feel appreciated for their work. 

A true motivator for most employees, no matter your industry or type of establishment, is the feeling that their employer (and colleague) notices and appreciates what they're doing. And there are so many different ways that you can do that. 

Just ensure to use the tips we shared as a jumping-off point for your own creative ideas about how to recognize and inspire great work from your team.

To learn more about what a recognition program can do for you and how Assembly can help, book a quick chat here.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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