This Award Season Ensure Your Employees Get their Due

Author: Gina Hall | February 18, 2016

The Oscars are right around the corner. Whether you’re rooting for Leo or JLaw, or just over it because #OscarsSoWhite, it’s a good time to consider your own employee recognition program.

While you may offer the occasional pizza party or half day Friday, your staff could benefit from a formal system of rewards for a job well done. All too often, small business owners overlook awards in favor of getting through daily operations. Here are a few steps forward thinking entrepreneurs should take to put a recognition program in place.

Define Your Goals

Before you present your plan to workers, make sure you put the program down on paper. What do you want your rewards to achieve? Do you want to boost sales? Raise morale? Do you have a budget or are you looking for low-cost incentives? Solidify your vision before you get others’ opinions.


Make the benchmarks for rewards objective and achievable. Steer clear of random drawings for prizes or anything that smacks of selecting favorite co-workers.

Pick Prizes

Your perks depends on your program. Are you offering prizes just to boost morale once a week? Maybe providing a plaque and Starbucks gift card is all you need. Rewarding employees who are going above and beyond by working weekends? Think about giving them some well-deserved time off or a cash bonus.

Get Feedback

Solicit comments and criticism from your employees. The reward program only works if your staffers are on board. Are the rewards something they’ll work for or will the ignore them completely? Plan to sit down with your staffers individually or send out a short survey to solicit opinions.


Think about who will manage your program. Is it up to you to keep track of achievements or can you task that to individual managers? Charge a committee of employees from various positions to oversee special recognitions. Make sure to form a committee with an odd number of staffers to avoid a hassle when decisions come up for a vote.

Make it Personal

Awards should come from an employee’s immediate supervisor because it won’t mean as much if Doris in accounting gets his recognition from Bob in human resources. The connection between the individuals presenting and receiving can mean just as much as the award. Make time to celebrate the achievement in the presence of other employees, perhaps in a staff meeting or right before a lunch break.


Don’t rely on word of mouth. Announce the program in a staff meeting or company-wide memo and provide a forum for employee questions. Those who didn’t participate in shaping the program may have helpful suggestions for future recognition opportunities.

Encourage Engagement

Employee rewards may not be your company’s highest priority, but don’t let your program fall by the wayside once it gets underway. Send regular emails to your staff updating them on awards and achievements. Knowing hard work will be recognized will foster goodwill among your staffers and could increase productivity.

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