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Creative Award Categories for Employees

Every manager or small-business executive has a vested interest in being able to motivate employees on an ongoing basis. Generally speaking, a motivated employee is an engaged employee, and an engaged employee is a highly productive one.

The question becomes, then, what can be done to encourage employees to continually reach not only for the basic goals being laid out for them on a monthly or quarterly basis, but reach beyond them? One great way to do that is with employee of the month programs and similar rewards for people who perform well in a given period. However, it may be even more appreciated if you strive to go above and beyond that standard.

8 Award Programs Ideas

Understanding the benefits of employee awards, you might want to come up with some creative employee recognition gift ideas that help recognize more than just one or two workers per period. Along similar lines, special awards for employees who have put in many years of service could also be a great decision. Often, companies want to come up with a few ideas, but more might be better when it comes to encouraging engagement.

Award ideas that spread the wealth a bit can help increase employee satisfaction and engagement, and thus improve your bottom line. Below are several ideas for creative employee recognition awards that goes beyond what many workers may have come to expect:

1) Top performer in… (you choose the metric)

You may be wondering, why are incentives good for employees? As mentioned, they help keep them motivated and give them something to strive for. However, one area where a basic "employee of the month" award falls short is that it may encompass any number of things.

As such, if you're trying to come up with a great employee recognition award, drilling down on a specific factor to reward first could encourage more hard work in those areas. For instance, you may be used to rewarding your top salesman in some way, but coming up with an award for the salesman whose numbers improved the most on a month-over-month or annual basis could be another creative route. The same may be true if your workers are responsible for the output of a specific product.

Put simply: You would be wise to ensure your awards program branches out in as many ways as possible so that everyone feels like they have a chance to work toward one and improve their productivity.

2) Most creative solution

Companies face any number of challenges over the course of a week, month, quarter or year, and someone has to be the one to come up with the perfect solution. However often that happens for your company, the person whose solution to a complicated issue worked the best certainly deserves acknowledgment.

Building this kind of thinking into your employee recognition program could go a long way toward ensuring your workers continually strive for outside-the-box thinking that helps set your entire organization apart from your competition.

3) Employee Milestones

For long-tenured employees who have put in years or even decades with your company, taking the opportunity to celebrate employee's anniversary – five, 10, 20 years, etc. – with years of services awards is a great idea. This kind of recognition, which could be accompanied by a staff party or more formal award presentation, is not only a great way to show how much you respect and appreciate that worker, but also to encourage people to stick around so that they can one day earn a similar reward for all their hard work.

From an employee engagement and retention standpoint, service awards that simply honor team members who have stuck around through thick and thin over the years are always a great idea.

4) Best team members

A big part of any job is being able to effectively communicate with and work alongside a host of people whose roles complement each other. Just like a clock, every component needs to work in concert to achieve the ultimate goal for your company, and the people who best facilitate that cooperation deserve recognition.

Those who go out of their way to help other employees, or agree to take on extra work to meet a deadline, not only show great teamwork. They also set an example worth following and help maintain high employee morale while ensuring your whole workplace improves on an ongoing basis.

5) Top-notch customer service

Of course, being able to engage happily with co-workers and supervisors is one thing, but it's entirely another for an employee to stand out for how well they deal with customers or clients. To that end, giving out customer service awards is a great way to help encourage workers to deal well with everyone they encounter.

Whether that's an in-person issue handled by a person who works behind a retail counter or a great interaction over social media to assuage a dissatisfied client, employees who always put the customer first deserve recognition.

6) Safety

In many businesses, a critical component of full operational capacity is workplace safety. If there's an accident or injury, some companies just can't complete all the work they need to do and, worse, an employee may have to miss work for an extended period of time.

For that reason, awards that recognize employees who go above and beyond to uphold safety standards, or who haven't suffered an accident in weeks, months or years, could help encourage a little more attention to detail.

7) Work anniversaries

As mentioned above, awards for employees who have been around for years are an excellent idea for worker engagement, but so too are notable rewards for every work anniversary.

Depending upon the size of your team, you might only have a handful of such anniversaries to celebrate per month, so giving that employee something simple to show you value the time and effort they've put in over the previous year.

8) Employee-nominated excellence

It's one thing to be recognized by your boss or a team of executives. It's entirely another to be recognized by the staff you work with every day.

For that reason, it's a great idea to solicit nominations from every department about which team members they think have been the most outstanding over the previous month or quarter, and honor the leading vote-getter in an appropriate way. As with a few of the options above, you can pick any number of categories in which to give out employee awards, but the recognition of your peers is often a great reward in and of itself.

100 Creative Award Categories

Recognizing achievements and celebrating success are essential for motivation and team spirit. Whether you're organizing a corporate event, a school awards ceremony, or a recognition program, unique and creative award categories can make the event memorable and engaging. Here's a list of 100 creative award categories to inspire you:

  1. Outstanding Innovator Award
  2. Most Valuable Player (MVP)
  3. Customer Hero Award
  4. Rising Star Award
  5. Best Team Player
  6. Problem-Solver Award
  7. Excellence in Leadership
  8. Most Improved Performer
  9. Outstanding Customer Service
  10. Best Newcomer
  11. Creative Genius Award
  12. Lifetime Achievement Award
  13. Going Above and Beyond Award
  14. Best Communicator
  15. Dedication Award
  16. Team Spirit Award
  17. Best Mentor
  18. Unsung Hero Award
  19. Best Attendance
  20. Excellence in Innovation
  21. Safety Champion Award
  22. Best Presenter
  23. Tech Savvy Award
  24. Environmental Stewardship Award
  25. Top Salesperson
  26. Most Efficient Worker
  27. Best Attitude Award
  28. Best Collaborator
  29. Creative Problem Solver
  30. Outstanding Volunteer
  31. Best Project Manager
  32. Excellence in Quality
  33. Top Performer of the Year
  34. Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion
  35. Employee of the Month
  36. Best Use of Technology
  37. Community Impact Award
  38. Leadership in Sustainability
  39. Innovation in Product Development
  40. Best Trainer
  41. Customer Satisfaction Award
  42. Cultural Ambassador Award
  43. Wellness Warrior Award
  44. Most Dependable
  45. Excellence in Teamwork
  46. Star Performer
  47. Best Analyst
  48. Most Positive Attitude
  49. Outstanding Intern
  50. Best in Compliance
  51. Social Media Star
  52. Excellence in Customer Retention
  53. Event Planner Extraordinaire
  54. Best Researcher
  55. Marketing Guru Award
  56. Best Networker
  57. Financial Wizard Award
  58. Office Cheerleader
  59. Best Designer
  60. Most Adaptable Employee
  61. Peer Recognition Award
  62. Best Crisis Manager
  63. Innovator in Operations
  64. Logistics Leader
  65. Strategic Thinker Award
  66. Best Content Creator
  67. Outstanding Graphic Designer
  68. Best Programmer
  69. Excellence in Data Management
  70. Best Human Resources Partner
  71. Best Legal Advisor
  72. Top Recruiter
  73. Efficiency Expert Award
  74. Outstanding Customer Experience
  75. Best Production Worker
  76. Office MVP
  77. Best Community Builder
  78. Brand Champion
  79. Most Reliable Employee
  80. Outstanding New Leader
  81. Top Innovator in Marketing
  82. Employee Choice Award
  83. Client Partnership Award
  84. Best Creative Director
  85. Top Facilitator
  86. Best Network Administrator
  87. Excellence in Training and Development
  88. Most Energetic Employee
  89. Best IT Support
  90. Top HR Innovator
  91. Excellence in Strategic Planning
  92. Best Safety Practices
  93. Top Customer Care
  94. Product Development Innovator
  95. Best Use of Data Analytics
  96. Creative Campaign Award
  97. Employee Engagement Champion
  98. Best Field Worker
  99. Outstanding Cultural Contributor
  100. Best Workflow Optimizer

These categories are not set in stone. They can be adapted to fit your organization or event's specific needs and culture. The power is in your hands to recognize and reward the unique contributions of individuals and teams, fostering a positive and motivating environment that reflects your values and goals.

Go beyond

These are just a sampling of the ideas you can put together to honor your outstanding employees, and of course, it's fun to come up with creative award names for whatever you choose to give out. Those that help show your true appreciation for how much of a team player each recipient has been will go a long way toward ensuring those kinds of efforts become the norm around your office.

Custom awards cost a little bit more up front but over the lifetime of the program is about the same of a standard trophy that has been custom engraved. They have been shown to boost employee and brand engagement, and thus offer a potential for a strong return on investment over time.

Customer Favorite Awards and Trophies

Updated Thursday 07-18-2024
Prosperity Peak Acrylic Award
from Herbert of Undisclosed

Prosperity Peak Acrylic Award

Consistent prompt and excellent service, year over year!
This is the 8th year in a row that we order our annual employee awards from Successories, it's very nice that we can offer the consistency of the same award from year to year, it gives great credibility to our management team and organization to be able to do so.

This, coupled with the prompt and great service we receive each year, we'll be a customer for many years to come!

Custom Photo Acrylic
from Catherine of undisclosed

Custom Photo Acrylic

Such a great gift
I purchased two of the custom photo acrylic's for my niece and nephew for their high school graduation. They both came out amazing. I am so happy with the process of purchasing it and the final product was great. They both loved it and will have it for a long time.

Gateway Acrylic Award
from Spacey Teacher of St. Louis, MO

Gateway Acrylic Award

Love it!
A rush order was delivered on time! Thank you!

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