How would you answer this question? “Our organization has an annual awards banquet. We’ve used the same style of trophy since 1998. So, we wondered what else is available?” Before we could answer the question, we needed to know what the awards were for, because it’s not only what type of award you should give, but also what the award represents. Here are 5 opportunities to give employee recognition awards.

Types of Employee Recognition Awards

As far as the style of award, there are a lot of options depending on a company’s culture, the type of recognition, and budget. An awards banquet could use statues, obelisks, or pyramid-shaped awards made from marble, metal, or acrylic. I planned and managed award banquets for nearly 20 years. In most cases, one style of award was chosen for departmental recognition, with separate smaller plaques for lesser awards and nominations, and a larger trophy for overall top achiever.

Awards can and should vary by the type of recognition. For example, a clock or a medal might be appropriate for tenure awards and other milestones. A desk plaque, engraved vase, or trophy for leadership recognition; lapel pins, or a customized gift set could be used to observe special achievements.

The options are almost endless—award and recognition options. With so many choices, it’s difficult to choose only one. Considering the best, and most appropriate, options for the type of recognition helps narrow the field.

5 Opportunities to Give Employee Recognition Awards

Years of service

There’s nothing wrong with the traditional watch or ring, especially if it’s engraved, but why not consider making it more personal such as a gift set geared towards the individual’s interests.

Annual Awards

Best department manager, most improved team member, or installer of the year may be best suited for one consistent award — think Oscar, but don’t limit your thinking to a statuette. The award could be a globe, eagle, or flame, made of bronze, crystal, or marble, a slate wall plaque, or an aluminum-based 3D acrylic cube.

Achievement Awards

A team member who has achieved a new level of training, promotion, or performance might appreciate a custom engraved medal displayed in a glass case. Emblems that attach to uniforms, lapel pins, and certificates all allow the recipient to share their achievement.


At the annual awards banquets that I organized, we recognized VPs and C level staff promoted in that year with a plaque.

General Recognition

Telling someone they’re doing a good job is appreciated but showing them will be remembered. It’s one thing to shake someone’s hand and say good job — it’s another to shake their hand, say good job, and hand them an engraved plaque, custom gift set, or bronze nameplate.

It’s More than Recognition

In answer to the initial question; recognizing achievement by handing out the same award since 1998 isn’t a bad thing. The consistency of the trophy may add to its prestige. At the same time, a new style of award may be exciting. In a Huffington Post article, Michael S. Broder Ph.D. states, “For many, it’s the opportunity to impress others or receive praise or validation. Since their primary motivator is actually to gain recognition or approval from others. While you might correctly assume that practically everyone likes the approval of others, some people actually need it to flourish, and don’t do as well when they aren’t feeling validated. So, recognize these individuals for doing a good job – for example, in the form of awards (such as, ‘Employee of the Month’).”

“Managers often don’t bestow the praise team members deserve. Often because they don’t know how to do it or think they don’t have time. One simple method is to establish an employee recognition promotional product program. Any reputable specialty product provider can make it quick and easy to do. Once it’s in place, certificates, trophies, and plaques with your logo to recognize your team are only a click away.” How to Use Promotional Products to Recognize Employees

The critical point is that you consistently recognize outstanding performance and behavior at every opportunity. Why, might you ask? Because don’t you want the behavior repeated and imitated?

Want to learn more about employee recognition programs? Contact us. We’ll help you recognize your best options.

Photo by Ariel Besagar on Unsplash