Image shows a coworker presenting an award to another coworker in front of a group of teammates.

Top 15 Awards for Employee Recognition

May 7, 2024

Celebrate and honor your hardworking employees with these top employee award ideas.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday work life,  it's easy to miss the little wins and triumphs that keep our organizations moving forward. But behind every completed project and conquered challenge is the dedicated efforts of countless employees. And their hard work deserves more than just a pat on the back — it deserves a celebration! After all, recognizing and appreciating employees' achievements and success is essential for building a positive workplace culture.

In this blog post, we explore the top 15 employee awards that organizations can use to celebrate their staff's achievements and hard work.

What are Employee Awards?

Employee awards are a form of recognition given to employees to acknowledge their outstanding performance, dedication, or contributions. These awards are often presented as a certificate, plaque, or trophy, giving employees a tangible keepsake to commemorate their achievements. Unlike monetary incentives, these awards focus on the intrinsic value of appreciation and validation, serving as a powerful morale booster and motivator for employees. 

Why Employee Recognition Matters

The current state of the workforce is dismal: employee engagement is on the decline, burnout is rampant, and employee stress is at an all-time high. That's why organizations need to prioritize celebrating and recognizing their people — to turn these negative trends around and set their organizations up for success. 

When done right, employee recognition can elevate the employee experience, improve engagement, and reduce turnover. In fact, research by Deloitte reports recognition increases employee engagement, productivity, and performance by 14%. Likewise, Zippia reveals that 37% of employees feel that the best way to improve their engagement is for their superiors to give them recognition. And employees who are recognized are almost 6x more likely to stay at their jobs than those who aren’t.

When employees feel valued and appreciated for their hard work, they are more likely to stay engaged, motivated, and committed to their roles and the organization's goals.

Benefits of Employee Awards

Enhances employee engagement and performance

Employee awards can be a powerful motivator for employees, fueling employee engagement and driving productivity. Employees who feel valued and appreciated for their contributions are more likely to be more engaged with their work and go the extra mile to achieve their department's and organization's goals. 

Improves employee satisfaction and retention

Recognizing employees for their hard work and accomplishments fosters a sense of appreciation and belonging within the organization. This, in turn, leads to higher levels of job satisfaction and a greater likelihood of employee retention. Employees who feel valued are more likely to remain loyal and actively seek opportunities for growth and development within the company. 

Creates a satisfying employee experience

Employee awards are essential for building a positive and fulfilling employee experience. When strategically used, these awards will celebrate the moments that matter most — instilling a sense of pride and belonging in employees and creating a more meaningful and rewarding employee experience.

Uplifts spirits and boosts morale

With employee stress at an all-time high, employee awards can serve as a much-needed morale booster. These awards communicate to employees that their efforts are seen and valued, reinforcing their role within the company and validating their efforts. This acknowledgment can improve their morale, instilling a renewed sense of motivation.

15 Awards for Recognition

  1. Extra Mile Award: Recognize employees who consistently go above and beyond their job descriptions to deliver exceptional results.
  2. Star Performer Award: Honor individuals who consistently demonstrate outstanding performance and achieve exemplary results.
  3. Spirit of [Company] Award: Celebrate employees who embody the core values and spirit of the organization through their actions and behaviors.
  4. Employee of the Month Award: Recognize employees who demonstrate outstanding performance and contribution with a recurring monthly award.
  5. Employee of the Year Award: The highest honor bestowed upon an employee for their exceptional contributions and impact throughout the year.
  6. Innovation Catalyst Award: Recognize employees who drive innovation and growth, helping the organization have a stronger competitive edge and contributing to its growth and success.
  7. Partnership Award: Celebrate collaboration and teamwork by recognizing individuals who excel in building strong partnerships within and outside the organization,
  8. Customer Excellence Award: Honor employees who deliver exceptional service and contribute to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  9. Team Player Award: Recognize individuals who provide invaluable support and assistance to their colleagues and teams. 
  10. Quality Excellence Award: Recognize employees who consistently deliver high-quality work, demonstrating attention to detail, accuracy, and a commitment to excellence in their tasks and projects.
  11. Problem-Solving Pro Award: Acknowledge employees who demonstrate exceptional problem-solving and resourcefulness in overcoming challenges or finding innovative solutions to complex issues.
  12. Efficiency Expert Award: Recognize employees who consistently find ways to streamline processes, optimize workflows, and increase productivity, resulting in significant time or cost savings for the organization.
  13. Trailblazer Award: Acknowledge the employees who fearlessly explore new challenges, take strategic risks, and pave the way for others to follow, driving the company forward.
  14. Visionary Award: Honor the employee with the most visionary outlook whose ideas and initiatives impact the company's trajectory and position it for long-term success.
  15. Creative Genius Award: Acknowledge the individuals at your organization who bring innovation, creativity, and fresh ideas to the table. 

Best Practices for Employee Awards

One of the most important components of an employee award is the process of selecting and awarding the awardee. These processes should be fair and transparent. To ensure your employee awards are set up for success, follow these three best practices.

Establish Transparent Criteria

The foundation of any effective employee awards program is clarity. Establishing transparent criteria ensures that all employees understand the benchmarks and criteria for the awards, creating a sense of fairness and equality. When employees know what is expected of them, they are better equipped to strive for excellence.

Accompany it with a Reward

Employee awards are most impactful when presented with a tangible reward. Consider offering your recipients a selection of rewards to choose from, such as gift cards, company swag, or even additional paid time off. A digital recognition platform like Inspirus Connects makes it easy to offer your employees a gift of choice.

Provide Timely Recognition

One of the biggest pitfalls of employee awards is timing. Don't let employee awards fall by the wayside. Make sure your employee awards are timely for your staff by setting up a regular cadence for rewarding and recognizing employees.

Summing It Up

Employee awards are a powerful form of recognition that can help elevate the employee experience and create a positive work environment. From traditional accolades to more specialized honors, these awards can empower employees to feel a sense of validation and pride for their achievements in the workplace -- motivating and inspiring them to strive for excellence.

Want to make your employee awards more impactful? We can help! Talk with an Inspirus specialist today to see how we can elevate your award experience.

Graphic shows an image of Connects, Inspirus digital recognition platform, on the left. The graphic says "Streamline Employee Awards with Inspirus. Inspirus makes employee awards easy. Save time by automating your company's awards with our digital recognition platform."


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Recognition-Based Award?

Recognition-based awards are accolades given to individuals or groups that acknowledge their achievements, contributions, or noteworthy actions.

What is the most valuable employee award?

The value of an employee award is ultimately dependent on the context and priorities of an organization. While there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer, some awards can hold significant weight across industries and companies. A generic employee award that is typically highly regarded is an Employee of the Year award or a Most Valuable Employee (MVE) award.