Employee Recognition Ideas to Bring Applause to Your Team

Lights…cameras…and…employee awards action!! If you’re inspired by the Oscars, SAGs, AAFCAs, BAFTAs, and GLAADs, and looking for employee recognition ideas for your own award-worthy super stars, we’ve got you covered. Start your own awards show season and ensure your awesome employees receive some well-earned accolades. Let our end-of-season award ideas and team awards ideas help celebrate success and welcome new growth among your team. Enjoy these employee award ideas, designed to be uplifting, easy to execute, and always appreciated by your (hard-working) work community. Use our team awards ideas for quarterly incentives and to celebrate employee anniversary recognition. 

When Pondering Employee Award Ideas, Levity Is Always in Order

Have a fun-focused, peer-driven employee recognition show where team members are awarded based upon input from a jury of their peers. In anticipation, send an online survey prior that asks employees to vote on topics related to personalities and special characteristics. We’re partial to the “most likely to…” style of recognition, harkening as it does, back to the admittedly awkward though highly aspirational days of high school. A few examples: 

  • Most likely to get creative at sundown and pull an all-nighter to hit a deadline
  • Most likely to complete a project two days ahead of schedule, including bells and whistles no one thought were possible
  • Most likely to lend a helping hand anytime, anywhere, no matter what
  • Most likely to complete a half marathon and respond to all unread emails while the rest of us are still hitting “snooze”
  • Most likely to hold a cat, dog, or small child during any given Zoom call
  • Most likely to make peers feel underdressed and pine for “camera optional” virtual meetings

Say It Loud So the Super Stars Shine Bright

Nothing will make them think, “You like me. You really like me*” like a full-stop award given at a fancy ceremony. [*Sally Field, by the way, did not exactly say those words, and was in fact making a statement about her successful transition from star of various light-hearted TV shows including The Flying Nun, to serious actor depicting a history-making union organizer in Norma Rae, so let’s salute Sally for her guts and honesty, okay folks?] Back to the subject at hand, which is the very important role that formal awards play in recognizing and encouraging employees who personify the effort, attitude, and culture you value. Some employee recognition ideas around your own awards event include: 

  • Food: Cater the event so your team just has to show up. The food need not be fancy, just make it appear magically to signal to your employees that their job is to relax.
  • Fun: Watching awards ceremonies can be similar to watching paint dry, which is why at the Oscars you’ll find that awards less relevant to a mass audience get delivered in smaller settings. Limit your awards and associated speeches to major milestones that impact everyone, and to rising stars that you want the company at large to come to know. For intra-team awards, host smaller events or outside lunches that lend themselves to project-specific side chatter and related war stories.
  • Timing: Your employee awards event can be held annually, or it can be associated with quarterly progress. For end-of-season award ideas, make sure every attendee has a season- or campaign-specific giveaway in hand or on their chair, even if they don’t walk away with the big glass paperweight this time! Giveaways for the team could be a personalized pen set, custom wall calendar, or branded speaker imprinted with your logo and the name of a completed project or initiative.

Take a look at all our custom awards to find the one that’s perfect for your star employee or high performing team. The minimum order quantity for most of our awards is just one, so there is no need to hold extra inventory or go over budget at your recognition event.  

Unexpected Gifts for the Introverts Among Us

You don’t have to rent out Union Station or the Biltmore Hotel (nodding to the Oscars, here) to make sure your employees feel seen, heard, and appreciated. In fact, sometimes the best way to tell your team members you care is to whisper rather than shout. Send a promotional snack items to their home or leave a cool custom coffee mug at their workstation. A “just because” employee recognition gift sometimes hits even stronger than the hullabaloo. So cover your bases and do both! 

Keep Spirits Up and Eyes on the Prize with Winning Employee Award Ideas

Check out these customized awards and employee recognition gifts that will suit any budget or occasion, from an in-person black tie even to a loungewear-allowed Zoom call. Lower-priced gifts are great for employee of the month ideas where glass awards are perfect for major players, lifetime achievements, big wins, team awards ideas, and employee anniversary recognition. A few of our favorites:  

Promotional Rising Star Paperweight: No doubt about the one to watch when they’ve got a rising star paperweight on their desk!  

Promotional Aragon Award: This classic, simply elegant award weighs three pounds and features a multi-faceted top.  

Promotional Wooden Nickels with Custom Imprint: Redeem one of these custom wooden nickels for a free treat from the honor bar, a neck massage from the mobile masseuse in the lobby, or a floating holiday when a wellness day’s just what the doctor ordered. 

Promotional Mineral Soft Touch Stylus Pen & Flashlight Gift Set with Rose Gold Trim: This executive-level gift set includes a stylus pen and matching flashlight keychain featuring a satin, rubberized finish, rose gold trim, and chrome colored accent rings.  

Promotional Ava Gift Set with Rose Gold Ribbon Gift Box: This sophisticated set comes with a matching Alpha Pen and flashlight, both accented with a rose gold trim to match the printed bow on the gift box.  

Promotional Rise & Shine Gift Set: Surprise your employees with this set, presented in a clear gift box with a satin bow so they’ll know they’re special. It includes an 11-ounce ceramic mug, chocolate cookies, coffee, mints, and lip balm! Say “just because” with this one!   

Promotional Mrs. Fields®️ Hot Chocolate Bomb with Mug & Cookies: When the occasion is a team deserving of a treat, this set comes through! The gift features a hot chocolate bomb filled with fluffy white marshmallows, Mrs. Fields® Chocolate Chip Cookie Nibblers—all in a two-toned coffee mug just right for sipping and dipping. 

Give Thanks Big and Small with Employee Recognition Ideas for All Seasons and Reasons

Whether it’s a little something or a big to-do, your team will appreciate your going the extra mile (or even just a few yards) to stage your own mini awards ceremony this awards season, and throughout the year! 

Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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