Nowadays, we live in a time where trophies are seemingly awarded for anything and everything – some say we are creating a society of self-indulged victims and that handing out awards left and right for just showing up is creating a generation of overly lackadaisical individuals that seem to expect praise for no more than breathing. Oh, how we’ve become winners overnight and champions in our own rite without little explanation as to how or why and this is never going to change. We’ve discovered some influential awards ideas and those that are otherwise nothing more than clever and creative awards handed out in the office spaces you and I work in and are still scratching our skulls raw – what the heck?! We ask ourselves the same thing.
First and foremost, the purpose of offering awards within the office is to encourage competitive, quality work from our employees – to give incentive to those that need it when their work would otherwise be something simply mediocre. It’s impossible to give everyone a pat on the back and expect their work productivity to take a complete 180-degree turn for the better, but recognizing those that stand out among the rest is simple a way we can show our employees that they’re work means something to us and that we truly do recognize and appreciate them for their efforts and commitments to tirelessly devoting their attention to the tasks at hand. Yes, yes, this is a resourceful tool that managers everywhere should learn to adopt into their working lives, as enriching others may prove to benefit your own pocket. Now, definitely don’t go on an award-spree and hand them out to those that simply aren’t deserving of them, because now you’re only awarding mediocrity where you should be trying to improve those that fall into that category on their own.
Some will argue that an employee is paid to do his or her job and that is the reward; there should be no other compensation, because that is what employees are paid to do. Of course, this is a relevant statement that does truly make sense, but in a society of overwhelmingly unemployed – people will lie about their worth to get in the door and once they’re there – you might be stuck between a rock and a hard place for some time. You want to add incentive to your workload so that your employees want to go above and beyond their standard working requirements. There are people that will always slide under the radar and do only what is enough – but what if you’re in sales? What if you have projects, and multiple at that, to be completed with quality and a quickness that you just can’t seem to get done without putting your employees minds to the test and giving them something to look forward to?
The Top Five Office Awards to Hand Out Among Your Best Performers
1. Best Customer/Client Service: This one goes without staying, but many business have an operational client-base that can make or break their organization. You want your employees to strive to make the best impression possible – customer service representatives are the face and voice of your company! These individuals’ attitudes can either positively or negatively impact how your customers view your services as a whole. You want to give your employees ample reason to perform among the best of the best by recognizing those that go above and beyond to meet your clients’ needs. Many institutions record calls and/or interactions and do weekly grading at random, letting the employee know how they score – and how they can improve – during their time with the customer. These are exceptionally helpful for new employees, as they’re now aware of where they stand out and what they can do to make the interactions better. These quality-assurance checks are often used in annual reviews, as well.
2. Most Valuable Team Member: There are MVPs (Most Valuable Players) in sports – and you have your most valuable players in the office. You could simply recognize those that help their coworkers, encourage growth and improvement, and are consistently working to better the working environment – and not only for themselves. These people may do this out of the kindness of their heart, but may soon tire if the results aren’t as they had planned. You’ll want to encourage this behavior among all of your employees, if possible, and by recognizing the efforts of what may be only one or two of your employees, you may be surprised to find that more of your employees may do it, because there’s something in it for them… but, it’s still getting done, right?
3. Most Sales/Transactions Award: Now, while this person may genuinely be a quick worker and is able, naturally, to close deals or make numbers simply appear out of thin air – recognize that! Your other less-blessed employees may strive to meet that type of expectation, or exceed it, if they know it’s important. If you make it known that this job is worth recognition, they may feel more important than if you just pass it off as another day, another dollar. Encourage your workers to grow!
4. Most Positive Attitude Award: In some of the most trying times in our economical status since the Depression, we are often struggling to find the light at the end of the tunnel – for some, the once-bubbly, optimistic, and naturally charming personality traits begin to fade with stress and doubt. Finding that one person among your team that shines no matter what and awarding him/her for being positive in what is otherwise hard times would help perk up your other employees. The more “normal” of those that come in, do their job, and go home without so much as a smile may feel that a positive perspective on things may not only change their work life, but their life in general, could easily prove as a productivity boost for you and your business. Positive people, happy people, and recognized people are the most successful. Period.
5. Most Creative Award: Giving your employees the ability to come up with ideas and implement them into daily activities, how the company works/operates/serves clients is innovation. Giving the employee an opportunity to advise, create, and offer assistance in what may be considered “outside” of their scope of work is “freedom.” Some employees work for you because they need a job and for no other reason, but when given the opportunity to contribute to making the work life they share with you and their coworkers better – they may find more purpose than you’d originally think. Definitely allow your employees’ creative will to flow. Simply holding a monthly or quarterly innovation implementation where you sift through a pile of idea submissions and choose the best of the best will give your employees a sense of contribution, a sense of worth, and a sense of respect. You could even hold an annual innovation awards ceremony, possibly recognizing 4 quarterly or 12 monthly innovations selected that were among the top and have proved to help the functionality of your workplace.
The Five Most Demeaning Awards that Have Been Given in the Workplace
1. Best Dressed Award: We all like to think we’re dressing to the best of our ability for the type of work we do however, it isn’t entirely appropriate to make an award of it. Some managers do this. Some managers hope to inspire their employees to dress more appropriately for the work environment by acknowledging those that have the best rags. This isn’t entirely fair, because a single mid-20-something making the same amount as a 40-something-mother/father-of-four may be more able to purchase the more desirable wardrobe and this could cause hostility among your workforce. Don’t – just don’t – acknowledge how your employees dress in the workplace unless it’s actually inappropriate.
2. The Award for Not Having a Life: Awarding those working excessively long hours, no matter how you phrase it, could be detrimental to your employee’s performance and life; you’re employees may begin to think that working long hours and robbing their families of much needed time together is the only way to get recognized. Rather than creating an award for people that are considered “workaholics,” create an award for the most effective employees – those that get the work done in the normal 40-hour work week.
3. The Least Likely to Get Married Award: Yeah, it’s been done. Why? Because, again, people make their careers their lives, especially those that are acknowledged for doing so. This isn’t something you should condone. At all. You should definitely encourage your employees to go out and have a life outside of work. It’s for their health and well being. You can’t force them? WRONG. You can limit the number of hours your employees work per week, you can make them take breaks, you can make them use their paid time off (PTO). You should, in fact, encourage your employees to find happiness outside the walls of your business, too.
4. The Best Hygiene Award: Not kidding. What, do all of your other employees stink? And we mean SMELL, not stink at what they do — but really? Really? You’re going to recognize an employee for bathing? That’s as bad as awarding an employee for sitting in their chair. Common sense dictates hygiene. You should only recognize hygiene issues when they’re bad – and in private.
5. The Most Popular Award: Really, we are not in high school. We aren’t and we are constantly reminded of how much people still believe we are with all the gossip, the whining, the bullying – and when it comes to popularity in the workplace – it isn’t advantageous to recognize that. It simply isn’t. Popularity in the workplace rarely means that individual is committed to getting the job done – no, it’s more as if that individual is more committed to being the social butterfly of the office and that isn’t something worth acknowledging. In fact, it may inspire other employees to follow suit and focus more on making friends than anything else.