Top Performer Award: Celebrating the Pinnacle of Achievement

Explore the value and impact of the Top Performer Award and how to use it to improve productivity in your workplace.

March 25, 2024
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The Top Performer Award is a powerful symbol of recognition. It's a company's way of saying, "we see you, we value you, and your contributions are making a real difference." When employees overperform, acknowledging their excellence publicly motivates them and inspires others to do the same—if not more!

So, in this article, we’ll show you how to seamlessly integrate it into your existing recognition programs.

What is the Best Performer Award?

The Top Performer Award is a formal recognition program designed to celebrate and acknowledge employees who consistently deliver outstanding results. It's a public declaration of the company's appreciation for exceptional contributions that go above and beyond the call of duty.

This could be a salesperson consistently exceeding quotas, a customer service representative resolving complex issues with exceptional skill or a team leader who spearheads a project that saves the company time or money.

Research by Gallup shows that when recognition hits the mark, employees are five times more likely to feel connected to the company culture and four times more likely to be engaged

In other words, recognizing excellence isn't just feel-good fluff; it's a strategic investment in a more motivated and productive workforce. As management expert Ken Blanchard said, "The best way to get more of the right kind of behavior is to catch people doing the right things.

The Top Performer Award is a powerful way to do just that.

Why is it Important to Identify Top Performers?

A Top Performer Award program is far more than giving and collecting trinkets. It’s strategic and with far-reaching impact. Here's why identifying and celebrating these individuals is crucial for your company's success:

Boosts morale and employee engagement

Recognition awards fuel a sense of accomplishment and belonging. When employees see their efforts being acknowledged, it encourages them to maintain or even enhance their performance levels. 

Additionally, when individuals see their colleagues being acknowledged for their hard work and achievements, it often inspires them to strive for similar recognition. This kind of positive reinforcement leads to a more engaged and productive workforce.

Encourages a culture of excellence

Witnessing colleagues receive the Top Performer Award motivates others to work better. Who doesn’t want shoutouts from teammates?

Employee recognition sets a clear benchmark for what constitutes “good work” and kindles a healthy sense of competition within the team. 

Assembly features like employee nominations, leaderboards and achievement badges can further promote this culture of excellence. Leaderboards provide a real-time view of top performers and encourage friendly competition. While achievement badges displayed on employee profiles publicly acknowledge accomplishments, inspiring others to reach similar heights.

Aligns everyone’s goals

When companies identify and reward top performers, they align individual achievements with the business’ broader organizational goals. This alignment ensures that employees are working towards common objectives, which is essential for the overall success of the organization.

With Assembly’s unique employee recognition software, you can make your core values more than just writing on the wall by attaching them to any “Top Performer” announcement. This puts your goals and values top-of-mind. 

Public recognition

Publicly acknowledging top performers through awards not only boosts internal morale but also enhances an individual's professional reputation. In fact, 32% of employees believe it improves the way their teammates interact with them.

But, how do you announce a top performance award?  

Well. here are some great ways to do it:

  • Email blasts: Send company-wide emails congratulating the employee award recipient and highlighting their accomplishments.
  • Announcements at company meetings: Publicly acknowledge the award winner during team meetings or company-wide gatherings.
  • Company social media platforms: Share the news on your company's social media channels. This way, you’re not just celebrating the person, you’re also telling your customers that they’re in good hands.
  • Assembly's "Employee Recognition" feature: allows you to target specific teams, departments, or persons with personalized award announcements.

Don't forget about traditional methods as well, such as company newsletters, internal awards ceremonies, or team huddles. These create a more personal touch and allow for a more in-depth celebration of the Top Performer's contributions.

Top Performer Award Customization 

A cookie-cutter Top Performer Award might feel generic. To truly celebrate excellence, consider customizing your program according to your specific industry, department, or team.

Here are some actionable ways to tailor your employee awards for maximum impact:

  1. Industry-relevant themes
    • Consider aligning the award theme with the industry or sector. For example:
      • In the tech industry: “Code Wizard of the Year” or “Innovation Champion.”
      • In healthcare: “Patient Care Excellence Award.”
      • In retail: “Customer Service Star.”
  2. Department-specific criteria
    • One size doesn't fit all. Consider department-specific awards that acknowledge achievements unique to each team. 
      • Sales: “Highest Revenue Generator” or “Deal Closer of the Quarter.”
      • Marketing: “Creative Campaign Master” or “Social Media Guru.”
      • Engineering: “Bug Buster Award” or “Efficiency Expert.”
  3. Team-based recognition
    • Celebrate outstanding team achievements alongside individual ones. This rewards collaboration and reinforces the importance of working together towards a common goal.  
      • “Collaboration Champions” for cross-functional teams.
      • “Project MVP” for outstanding project contributors.
      • “Support Dream Team” for exceptional customer support teams.
  4. Behavioral metrics
    • Quantitative metrics are important but don't forget the qualitative aspects.  Recognize team players who consistently elevate others or individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities.
      • “Leadership Excellence Award” for demonstrating leadership qualities.
      • “Innovator of the Month” for proposing creative solutions.
      • “Personality of the Month” for those who bring cheer to the workplace.
      • “Customer Advocate” for going above and beyond for clients.
  5. Peer nominations
    • Involve colleagues in the nomination process. Let them pick their winners.  Assembly has a nifty feature for this too. With it, you can:
      • Allow team members to nominate each other.
      • Let teammates send personalized “thank you” messages.
      • Encourage testimonials highlighting specific achievements.
  6. Personalized rewards
    • Don't limit awards to just a plaque or trophy. Offer personalized options.  
      • Gift for employees. For instance, cards to favorite restaurants or stores.
      • Extra vacation days or flexible work hours.
      • Personalized trophies or certificates.
      • Conference tickets
  7. Rotating categories
    • Keep awards fresh by rotating categories quarterly or annually:  
      • “Rookie of the Quarter.”
      • “Continuous Learner Award.”
      • “Team Player of the Year.”
  8. Inclusive awards
    • Ensure awards are accessible to all employees:  
      • Recognize remote workers.
      • Consider part-time or contract staff.
      • Include non-managerial roles.

Remember, the key is to make awards transparent and motivating. By customizing your Top Performer Award program, you ensure the recognition is relevant, meaningful, and truly celebrates the unique contributions of your top talent.

Best Practices for Implementing the Top Performer Award: A Step-by-Step Guide

A well-designed Top Performer Award program should seamlessly integrate into your company culture. It’s also meant to boost employee happiness. So, if your employees see it as a chore, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Let’s look at some ways to make the process enjoyable for everyone:

1. Define your goals and criteria

  • Set SMART goals: What do you hope to achieve with this employee recognition program? Do you want to boost sales, improve customer satisfaction, or cultivate a culture of innovation? Clearly define these goals so your award criteria align with them.
  • Customize recognition criteria: Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Develop specific criteria for each department or role. For example, the marketing team might prioritize successful campaign launches, while customer service could focus on exceptional client satisfaction ratings or innovative problem-solving.

2. Establish a transparent nomination process

  • Multiple nomination sources: Allow nominations from peers, managers, and even self-nominations. This ensures a broader range of perspectives is considered.
  • Streamlined online portal: Use Assembly's employee recognition tool to create an easy-to-use online nomination format. Employees can submit nominations with clear justifications for their choices, ensuring a paperless and efficient process.

3. Assemble a diverse selection committee

  • Balance representation: Form a committee with members from various departments and leadership levels. This ensures a well-rounded perspective on top performers across the organization.
  • Clear selection guidelines: Make sure the committee has clear guidelines for evaluations. Focus on objective achievements, documented contributions, and alignment with the established criteria.

4. Give feedback

  • Regular program updates: Keep employees informed throughout the program lifecycle. Sharing your progress is important because it makes employees feel that this is done for them and not “at” them.

5. Ensure fairness and consistency

  • Documented criteria: Maintain a documented record of the selection criteria. This ensures consistency across selection periods and helps avoid bias.
  • Regular review: Conduct periodic reviews of the program to assess its effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.

6. Continuous improvement

The award process doesn't stop after the winner is announced. Evaluating an employee's performance for recognition often provides an opportunity for constructive feedback and identifying areas for improvement. How do you support top performers? By discussing the employee's strengths and areas for development.

Using this information, managers can create personalized development plans to help top performers reach their full potential.

7. Positive reinforcement and goal setting

Focus on delivering feedback in a positive and growth-oriented manner. Highlight the qualities and actions that led to the Top Performer Award and use them as a springboard for future goal setting.

Once you implement these steps, you'll cultivate a thriving environment where top performers are not only recognized but continuously supported in their professional growth. This causes a ripple effect where colleagues mimic their work ethics, and in turn, you get a productive work culture.

It’s a win-win-win situation.

Find Your Top Performer with Assembly

The Top Performer Award helps employees feel appreciated. When implemented in ways that fit your company and employees, it creates healthy competition in the workplace. Overall, the Top Performer Award is a simple, effective way to make your team happier and more productive.

Ready to revive your recognition strategy?  See how Assembly can help you create a Top Performer Award program that motivates, inspires, and builds a winning team. Get started.

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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Employee recognition 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