Implementing a Successful Employee of the Month Program

Employee recognition programs can benefit your business and boost morale when properly implemented. Let's show you how to do that

October 16, 2023
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"Getting my team motivated these days feels like pulling teeth. I see them dragging their feet to work, their enthusiasm is dwindling, and it's hitting our productivity hard. What’s missing?”

If this is you, then it might be time to invest in employee recognition programs.

Employee recognition is one of the easiest ways to enhance productivity and boost employee engagement in your business. However, despite its known benefits, the stark reality is that many businesses are dropping the ball.

According to a survey by Teamstage, 65% of employees in the US were not recognized for their work throughout 2022. This demographic of workers is five times more likely to find a job elsewhere, leading to increased turnover. 

Employee recognition programs are an effective method of preventing your organization from joining that stat. And one easily incorporated example is the Employee of the Month award program

Why Do Companies Give Employee Of The Month? 

The Employee of the Month award Program is set up to reward employees who perform exceptionally each month. It is a classic recognition strategy that is easy to implement. 

You set specific standards, and the employee who hits those milestones gets rewarded. Despite being a simple concept, its benefits to your business are impressive. They include:

  1. Employee Recognition And Appreciation

An Employee Of The Month certificate is usually created, which can be displayed for everyone in the company. That could be on a company noticeboard, newsletter, or intranet using employee recognition software

This form of publicity shows your winner that their efforts in the workplace are not going unnoticed. The employee feels appreciated for their work, and that has a significant effect on their mindset. 

  1. Employee Engagement

Engaged employees are vital for the growth of every business. These workers feel like an essential part of the office and not just cogs in a machine. They are more likely to go the extra mile for the company, and their efforts significantly enhance its performance. 

Your EOM program would be invaluable in fostering this level of dedication in your employees. Rewarding them for well-done jobs sets the stage for increased engagement and happier workers. 

  1. Employee Encouragement

As a manager, your job isn't limited to keeping production numbers high. You're also tasked with ensuring your employees are in the best mental state. Employee encouragement is important, and this top performer award would be instrumental to that. 

Besides, happier workers are 13% more productive than unhappy workers. So, taking time to encourage your employees would not harm performance; Instead, it increases it. 

  1. Promotion Of Healthy Competition

When handled properly, EOM programs can promote healthy competition in the workplace. With each worker trying to outdo the other, productivity increases all around. That has a positive effect on all the key performance indicators.

It has also been noted that creativity and innovation thrive in the presence of competition. With your employees competing for that top spot, you can expect new and effective business ideas to flow. However, avoid going overboard, as the competition could quickly become hostile. 

Does Employee Of The Month Boost Morale? 

According to Zippia, 80% of employees would be motivated to work harder when recognized for their work. This increased motivation translates to a boost in morale, as your workers realize that the management notices their efforts. So, the answer to this question would be yes. 

This boost in morale would be exponential if the reward is substantial. With the prize in mind, your workers would double their efforts to reach your requirements to win it. 

What Is A Good Employee Of The Month Program? 

Companies can incorporate many Employee of the Month ideas into their workplaces. However, every company is unique, and while there are numerous of these ideas, not all would fit well with your business. 

Before choosing an employee of the month template for your workplace, there are some features you should search for. These separate the good Employee of the Month ideas from the ones that foster division in a workplace. 

  1. Transparent Criteria And Eligibility

Your main aim for the EOM program is to motivate your employees to increase their efforts. However, it would be easier for your workers to push harder if they have a clear goal to reach. 

So, set up clear and transparent eligibility criteria for your employees. You can have a leaderboard that updates in real-time. That would ensure your workers are adequately motivated and boost healthy competition. 

However, remember that your workers have different skill sets and functions in your company. Ensure that your criteria do not give any department or group of workers an unfair advantage. 

  1. Clear Nomination And Selection Process

A selection process would be necessary in a scenario where multiple employees meet your requirements. This step should also be kept transparent. Set clear guidelines for these cases and ensure your workers know them. 

Without these, whatever decision you make may be misinterpreted as biased. That would be detrimental to your employee morale and engagement. 

  1. Encouragement For Peer Involvement And Feedback

Another angle would be to involve your employees in the selection process. Not only does this ensure that your selections are unbiased, but it also enhances engagement. 

By involving your workers in these decisions, you've convinced them they're valued and their input matters. Create an employee of the month nomination form, and get your staff involved. The results might be a pleasant surprise. 

It would help if you also got feedback after your first successful employee of the month award. That would allow you to pinpoint mistakes and restrategize for the next one. 

  1. Consistent Recognition And Rewards

Finally, ensure that this program isn't the only recognition setup in your workplace. There can only be twelve winners of this competition in a year, which is far from enough.

You can establish many other employee recognition ideas in your company to complement your program. With consistent recognition, you can expect an increase in engagement. 

How Do You Motivate An Employee Of The Month?

EOM programs are widespread, yet their effectiveness is still in doubt. This is because many companies fail to make theirs compelling to their employees. 

When properly implemented, these programs are drivers of motivation and employee engagement. However, clumsily-executed setups would leave employees tired and unmotivated. 

Here are a few steps to ensure your employee of the month program elicits the best response from your staff:

  1. Recognize Employee Achievements

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and your staff is no different. Your employees want recognition for their work. Not from their peers or the executives but from you, their manager. 

40% of employees rank their managers as the group whose recognition has the most impact. So, a few words from you can make all the difference. You could do this face-to-face or with an employee recognition program like Assembly. 

  1. Provide Meaningful Rewards

Another reason many of these programs fail is because of terrible employee rewards. These awards are worth too little to justify the workers' extra effort. In these cases, the staff don't bother aiming for the prize, preferring to do the bare minimum for their wages. 

It is best to put up a meaningful reward to counter this. Your finger needs to be on the pulse of your business to know what would motivate your workers. If that seems complicated, you could conduct an anonymous survey and let your staff decide. 

  1. Foster A Positive Work Environment 

You can't expect your workers to be motivated if they feel unsafe in the office. Beyond the regular check-ins and training opportunities you can offer them, you could also offer rewards to the runners-up in your program. 

That gives your employees a higher chance of getting rewards monthly. With more people getting rewarded, there's a better chance of fostering camaraderie between your workers with the program. 

How Can I Improve My Employee Of The Month Program? 

If you've already implemented an underperforming EOM program in your company, you can improve it. The potential benefits of these initiatives are crucial to your business’s performance, so some tinkering for the best setup is advised. 

We want to point out that Assembly would be an excellent tool for managing your employee of the month program. You can employ this software while following any of the steps below:

  1. Clearly Define Your Selection Criteria

Your workers may become suspicious if your selection criteria aren't made public. They may begin to think your choices are arbitrary or biased. So, set up clear employee of the month criteria, publicize them, and watch your workplace motivation levels spike. 

You can publish your selection criteria on Assembly's general feed, ensuring it is always there for reference purposes. 

  1. Involve Employees In The Selection Process 

Your staff loves transparency, and one way to ensure that would be to involve them in the selection process. Have them take surveys for best employee nomination. You could also create an employee of the month board, include some workers, and let them select the candidates.

With Assembly, you can create a separate channel for your selection team to collaborate. That would keep the deliberations away from public eyes without the stress of in-person meetings. 

  1. Offer Meaningful Personalized Rewards 

Your workers are not going the extra mile to be given peanuts. For your program to succeed, the prize has to be substantial. Figure out the perfect gift for your workers, and give it to the top performer. 

You could select your gift through a quick survey. However, the usual top contenders are monetary bonuses, gift cards, and extra paid time off. 

Consider personalizing your rewards. You could include an employee of the month plaque customized to the winner's tastes. 

Assembly boasts an expansive rewards center with access to 100+ retailer gift cards and swag. These can be purchased with points that you can award to winners. 

  1. Keep It Consistent

Once you implement your employee of the month program, there's no turning back. You have to ensure that the initiative is held monthly without fail. The number of months in a year is few enough; missing one would damage employee morale. 

With Assembly, you can automate your 'employee of the month' workflow and schedule it to send out nomination forms monthly. 

  1. Give It Adequate Publicity

The primary aim of this program is to give recognition. So, if your previous awards ceremonies were subdued, you'd have to make the next one bigger. An announcement in the office during a team-wide meeting or a post on the company's Assembly general feed would work. 

  1. Ensure Rotation Across Departments

Keeping the EOM award circulating between a specific department or group of people would harm employee morale. Ensure it is rotated around the workplace. You might have to revise your selection process if the prize returns to that department. 

  1. Consider Implementing A Long-term Recognition Program

If you think the EOM award is excellent motivation, how about an employee of the year program? This program is designed to recognize outstanding performance over an extended period. 

This initiative encourages extra effort from all the staff for a year, increasing company productivity. Its impact on your business's performance would be notable. 

Implementing Your EOM Program The Assembly Way

Employee of the Month programs have a terrible reputation that stems from ineffective execution. However, with these tips and a tool like Assembly, your implementation should be concurrent with an uptick in key performance indicators

Deploy Assembly in your workplace today and gain access to workflows that automate all your repetitive work. Don't leave your company's future to chance. 

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.

Explore Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered