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6 Creative Recognition Awards to Drive Employee Loyalty

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Employee loyalty can’t be taken for granted. Loyalty is earned. One way to earn loyalty and engagement is by showing employees they’re valued and appreciated. Research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that “68 percent of HR professionals agreed that employee recognition has a positive impact on retention and 56 percent said such programs also help with recruitment.” 


In a world where teams and individual workers can be dispersed throughout the world or often working from home, developing a recognition program that ensures that recognition has value to employees takes some effort. Here are a few ways companies can recognize their workers, no matter where they’re located. 


Wall of Fame or Virtual Badges 

For many people, being publicly recognized is the reward. That’s why “Employee of the Month” boards are so popular. Last May’s employee of the month is still up there for everyone to see, even though that recognition was earned months ago. Walls of Fame are perpetual recognition. 

A virtual alternative are badges that get attached to the person’s digital avatar. Companies can create award badges for whatever behaviors they want to reward. Once earned, the badge can be added to the employee’s email signature and online profile for the company’s intranet. So everywhere the employee’s avatar appears on the intranet, chat tool, or other online system, the badges they’ve earned appear too. 


Office Trophy 

A rotating office trophy builds morale for an individual, team, or department by displaying their successes. Let your employees design the trophy however they would like and create a ceremony to receive it. It gives their co-workers a chance to applaud them and makes them want the same approbation. 


Appreciation Day

Celebrating your team’s advancement in the workplace brings them together as a unit. Set aside a day or half-day for an offsite event, like a barbecue or a games tournament.  Showing individual recognition definitely drives employee loyalty, but so does team recognition. Indeed, building a strong team bond compounds the sense of loyalty being developed. 


Teams don’t need to be located in the same place to enjoy a bonding, off-site activity. With so many distributed teams, a wealth of online team building game tools are available. Many companies with remote workers also hold in-person meetups to give people a chance to connect in person. For companies with workers all over the world, this could be an annual or quarterly event with the company covering travel costs. In other cases, companies can build cross-departmental relationships and loyalty among by having local meet-ups for all remote workers in the same city. 

These Appreciation Days are also fantastic opportunities to hand out some individual recognition awards. 


Special Perks 

Not everyone gets excited about public recognition. Even those that do also appreciate more concrete forms of recognition. The earned perk can be highly motivating, as well as deepen loyalty. 


Companies can continually revise the behaviors and metrics that earn perks, so they align with the company’s current priorities. They can also regularly change up what types of perks can be earned. Perks can be anything from a reserved parking spot to longer lunch to a gift card at a desirable brand. Letting employees earn special perks is a highly fluid rewards program that employees can participate in designing; certainly, companies should pay close attention to what the workers consider to be a high-value perk worth earning. 



Occasionally, you may have a few workers, or even the entire staff, gearing themselves toward an individual goal. It could be for sales, product accuracy, customer service, or whatever goal you would like to set. For those who reach their goals, enter their name into a raffle for a prize. Gift cards of different values are always a good option for raffles, as are tickets to an event or theme park. No matter what you choose, the worker will want to earn the chance to be the grand prize winner. 


Milestone Achievements 

If an employee is having a birthday or is getting married, why not celebrate with them? Part of developing employee loyalty is recognizing their workers as people with lives outside of work. 


There are many ways to recognize employees and their achievements. These are just a few ideas to help you choose a new and fun way to do that. Be innovative! Coming up with a variety of ways to show employees they’re valued starts to build a culture of appreciation, which itself then becomes another stream pouring into the well of employee loyalty. 


While ATS is passionate about time and attendance and excited to support organizations navigate workforce dynamics around timekeeping and employee time clocks, we recommend you reach out to your regional and/or local HR chapter for more information on common workplace advice and procedures.

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