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How to Start an Employee of the Month Award

There's always room for employee recognition activities that can build positive morale in the work environment, especially if they have a chance to earn a reward. An Employee-of-the-Month program can boost employee morale and motivate workers to try harder - yet this recognition program can backfire on businesses if the award isn't well conceived and executed properly.

Our article "Creating a Meaningful Employee-of-the-Month Program" explores how to implement an employee recognition program in a way that doesn't accidentally decrease morale by making the program seem unfair to members of your staff. When you set your goals, lay out your parameters and communicate the program properly, publicly recognizing the outstanding efforts of a key employee each month can boost spirits and productivity.

Employee of the Month Wall Plaque

Set Program Goals that align with Company Values

Discuss with management why you want to institute an Employee of the Month Award and then discuss your employee of the month award ideas with employees in a one-on-one team meeting or via employee surveys. You may wish to increase sales or productivity, decrease spending or create healthy competition among departments.

Objective goals for the program should be tied to a sense of accomplishment, where exemplary employees feel motivated to participate, so there is no perception the award is given based on favoritism. If you have many workers, only 12 awards will be given out each year, potentially causing hard feelings. Consider offering multiple awards and trophies covering different performance types, or naming an Employee-of-the-Month in each area of your company.

Lay Out Clear Parameters to Motivate Employees

Employee of the Month Lapel Pin

Set the bar for an employee reward high, but not too high, and make fairness a key component. Focus on what employees need to do to earn the reward and create a fair program that allows all employees to equally vie for the reward. To determine how you will choose the winner each month, establish a performance measurement with team input:

  • Create mutual agreement as to how performance is to be measured
  • Determine what constitutes a reasonable target that balances the requirement for improved performance with a fair chance of attainment
  • Make rules and measures that are understandable, easily produced and verified
  • Maintain a degree of flexibility should circumstances arise that warrant a change

Go beyond simple criteria such as positive attitude" or "team spirit" and establish specifics for award ceremony ideas. If your goal is to build teamwork, consider factors such as interdepartmental contributions or an employee voting process. You could even create a peer to peer recognition award specifically to show you understand employee contribution is key to success. If your goal is to boost productivity, set performance levels, such as an increase in output or sales. If the goal is customer service, issue customer service cards or create website comment links to generate feedback.

Communicate the Employee Recognition Program's Objectives

Employee of the Month Award

To motivate employees and allay any concerns about favoritism. Communicate all aspects of the award program early and often to your team. Release your first draft of the program and ask for employee feedback. Communicate the final program to every worker, stating the goals and parameters for winning. When you announce a winner, give the specific reasons for winning so co-workers know it was earned and deserved. Carefully monitor the winners of your Employee-of-the Month program to make sure they don't appear discriminatory.

Award Meaningful Prizes with Fresh Employee of the Month Ideas

Getting your monthly awards program right means instilling your company culture into your employee award ideas. This should include your entire company, including any remote employees. But don't stop there, if you are a larger organization, consider awarding more than one team member each month, or several deserving employees throughout your organization. Remember your employee of the month awards program can be large or small, just go into the program with rewarding top performing employees as your main focus.

Employee of the Month Ideas:

  • Best Customer Service Award
  • Unique Problem Solver Award
  • Peer Recognition Award
  • Best Performing Employee
  • Best Virtual Employee Award

Decide what each month's winning employee will receive as a reward. Consider workplace and public recognition, as well as a personal non-cash reward so their peers notice efforts made and attempt to emulate them in the future. Offer a recognition plaque or engraved cup for the winner's home or office; you could also include a day off, reserved parking space for one month or a desk accessory, framed motivational artwork or gift card with a personalized message.

Send news releases to the local media, including the employee's hometown newspaper. Include the specifics about why the employee won the award and background on their role and tenure at the company.

Assess Your Program Periodically

Employee-of-the-Month programs fail when there are obvious flaws: it's not clear why someone wins or everyone indiscriminately gets a turn. A bad or meaningless employee recognition awards program is worse than no program - but that doesn't mean that a well-run program can't have a little magic! After a thorough analysis, you can conclude that the program is in fact worth doing when people seem to look forward to it - they say they like it - and you think it helps reinforce the mission of paying meaningful attention to star employees trying to operate in a quality driven, efficient manner.

Employee of the Month Award

Launch a successful Employee of the Month award program that enhances employee appreciation. Recognize outstanding contributions with personalized awards and gifts for employees. Foster a culture of recognition, motivating your team with this engaging initiative. Highlight their achievements using custom plaques or trophies that showcase your appreciation. With employee appreciation gifts and awards, you'll reinforce dedication and inspire continued excellence.

Customer Favorite Perpetual Awards Programs

Updated Tuesday 07-16-2024
Service Waterfall Perpetual Award Plaque
from JASON MYERS of Lockbourne, OH

Service Waterfall Perpetual Award Plaque

Great way to recognize
Have used these the past few years to recognize our top performers

Excellence Eagle Perpetual Award Plaque
from jennifer deater of Frederick, MD

Excellence Eagle Perpetual Award Plaque

Employee of the Month
The team likes how we award them and show them off for a job well done

Building Blocks Crystal Award
from Angela of San Diego, CA

Building Blocks Crystal Award

Top of the Line
We used this award for an Employee of the Year and it was such a hit. Very unique and appropriate for the occasion.

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