Gift Programs

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Top 10 Unexpected Reasons to Give Recognition Awards

In any given work day, many situations arise when you say “thank you” to an employee or co-worker. However, sometimes a more than just a thank you is needed to match the impact of the person’s efforts. In this case, accompanying a thank you with recognition awards will provide the impression you are looking for. I've compiled a list of unexpected reasons you should be giving recognition awards. These are non-traditional compared to length of service and sales incentive programs, but awarding for these reasons can go a long way to improve employee engagement.
Top 10 Recognition Awards

1. Co-worker takes on your workload while you are on vacation

As I prepare for vacation this year, I am working on a list of things that my co-worker needs to look out for. It has become almost a full page and yet, I will only be out of the office for a few days! Having someone in the office that is willing to cover for me and keep up with my emails makes my vacation much more enjoyable. I will have something special planned for her when I get back and noticed that many of my clients give recognition awards to employees who cover workloads while others are on vacation. Covering your job and someone else’s is not an easy task and can result in twice as much correspondence and responsibilities. When someone does it well for you, why not show them your appreciation and reward them with recognition awards?

2. Employee accepts an extra shift, or comes in on a day off

This is a common reason for my clients with incentive programs to give employees recognition awards. I helped contribute to an article several months ago for about extreme multitasking and surviving the super job. Due to the economy, more and more employees are being asked to fill in. However, many organizations are reducing burn out with simple recognition awards and thanks.

3. Employees help decorate the workplace

I have several clients working in healthcare and specifically in nursing facilities where employees pitch in to help decorate for upcoming holidays. Often times, employees are even bringing in their own decorations or buying new ones to help spice things up. This is a fun way to make the place a little more like home for residents. To thank workers for their contributions and assistance, the human resources department hands out wallet-sized recognition awards cards entitling people to a small gift of their choice.

4. Someone assisted you in a project

How often do you start a project only to realize there is no way to meet a deadline without help? For many clients, this does not happen too often but when it does, recognition awards representing gratitude is in order. Whether a coworker helps you to do research or finalize your project to meet a deadline, thanking him or her will make it much more likely for you to count on their teamwork skills again in the future.

5. One of your employees implements their idea that improves the workplace or reduces costs

A lot of my clients give recognition awards out to employees with ideas that help to reduce costs or make the work place greener. Depending on the situation, my clients have used different levels of recognition awards. One of my clients has given out a recognition award worth over three thousand dollars for a cost savings idea that resulted in savings of over fifteen thousand dollars. Typically, clients will give employees a reward proportionate to the savings or impact.

6. Employee takes the lead on a new initiative

Sometimes in a meeting, an employee will grab onto a proposal and take complete ownership of seeing it through, even if it means the project is worked on outside of business hours. One of the attributes that many of my clients love to recognize and reward is proactive behavior. Go-getters should receive special recognition awards when they volunteer to work on a project from start to finish despite the extra work load it means they take on. Rewarding this passion and behavior will ensure that the effort was worthwhile and meaningful.

7. Worker helps to eliminate an unsafe work situation

Safety in the workplace is a major concern for employees and when workers can help to make things safer, often recognition awards are involved. The clients I have that are focused on safety will recognize and reward employees for pointing out unsafe conditions, reporting near misses, proposing corrective action and more. Safety recognition awards are often presented in front of other workers and even reported in company newsletters. Employees can prevent injuries and even fatalities by reporting and eliminating unsafe situations. These employees often receive safety recognition awards valued at over $50.

8. One of your employees steps in and goes above and beyond his/her job description

I see a lot of clients rewarding employees for assisting others and helping to create a friendly, teamwork-focused environment. You can reinforce this positive behavior by providing recognition awards to those who demonstrate your core values and help to shape the overall attitude in the workplace. By giving recognition awards, you will encourage individuals to keep helping in the future.

9. Employees help to organize recognition for coworkers

Birthdays, anniversaries, retirements and new babies are all occasions in which your employees may organize an informal party or luncheon. Sometimes not so happy events occur and your employees may work to rally together and raise funds for a coworker in need. Although your company may have a formal recognition policy in place, these occasions may not all fit into your current program and when employees work to organize something special, you should take the time to recognize this and encourage them to keep doing so.

10. When you consistently work overtime

Especially under tumultuous times as these, employees are trying to survive the workplace and just keep their heads above water. When you have people you can turn to and receive assistance to mitigate overtime and burnout, these key individuals are more than likely going above and beyond their job descriptions. Thanking these people with recognition awards they can choose can really make a difference and show that you recognize their hard work and appreciate them. It can make the time they work outside of normal hours worthwhile.

These top ten reasons to say thank you with recognition awards are very different but can occur many times throughout the year. Sometimes a formal recognition policy may not cover all of these instances but often times a peer to peer recognition program can help you and others to formally recognize and reward people for their efforts. With a peer recognition program, a website is created where people visit and fill out a short form to nominate anyone else in the organization. Sometimes a company will give each individual a set amount of points that can be given as rewards. In other peer programs, people can submit as many nominations as they want but they go through an approval process where a committee decides on the amount of the award. When you fill out the recognition form, there are multiple reasons to select for the nomination and a place to explain the reason behind the nomination. Once the form is submitted and/or approved, the nominee is instantly notified. Notices are often colorful eCards that can be printed and displayed around the employee’s work space. Peer to peer recognition programs are a great way to keep people recognizing others and thanking them along with a recognition award.

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