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Jan 7, 2024

10 ways to make your employee awards program work

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Did you know that a study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that organizations with employee recognition programs have a lower employee turnover rate than those without? This is just one of a multitude of statistics pointing to the positive impact of employee recognition on staff morale and job satisfaction. If you, however, are unsure how to go about organizing employee awards or you need some inspiration on how to revamp an existing employee recognition program to get better results, we have 10 great ideas to help you out. 

1. Don’t limit the winner to a single employee 

While an employee of the year award or another competition along those lines has a certain appeal, consider setting up an awards program that recognizes multiple employees in different departments and teams. You can also go with different categories such as best team player, best innovation, etc.

This approach has the following benefits: 

  • It recognizes a bigger number of employees, resulting in broader team motivation; 
  • It makes sure that no achievements are overlooked; 
  • It fosters a healthier work environment reducing the stress of having everyone compete for a single award.    

Evalato pro tip: You can use the enhanced category structure available for all plans in the Evalato awards management software to include as many groups and categories as you want. (Example — your program can feature a set of awards for each of your company departments.)  

2. Have clear-cut criteria for your employee awards 

There are few things more annoying in a competition or an awards program of any kind than the lack of clear criteria and awards-based employee recognition is no exception. So, if you have decided on an awards program for your employees, figure out your criteria and make sure they are clearly communicated to everyone enrolled in your program. 

Evalato pro tip: Upload your criteria in the Applicant and Judging portals in Evalato so that your employees and evaluators can refer to them at any time while crafting and reviewing submissions.    

3. Include peer-to-peer recognition 

One way to recognize employee achievements is by including peer-to-peer recognition. To that end, it’s a good idea to consider a program where your employees nominate and vote for a teammate. You can do that either as part of an existing program or as a separate competition altogether.  

Evalato pro tip: The Evalato employee recognition software features a public voting portal where your employees can have their say with a simple social login. 

Read more: Public voting done right 

4. Add a hackathon/innovation challenge

Why not mix things up a little bit? A hackathon or an innovation challenge is a twist on the classic employee awards that could also be a team-building experience. You can group your employees into teams and have them collaborate on something together. It could be a work-related idea, concept, or project, or a completely unrelated challenge, including a for-good initiative.   

Evalato pro tip: Evalato’s pre-configured customizable templates feature a hackathon option, which will make setting up your program a breeze.  

5. Give out cool prizes 

That’s one of the most important elements of every employee awards program — the reward. Think about an actual, physical reward (beyond the general acknowledgment and recognition), and if you’re stuck for ideas, we have a few to get you inspired: 

  • A physical trophy that the winner(s) can display at home or the office; 
  • Fancy company swag such as a Bluetooth speaker, a custom hoodie, a branded power bank, etc.;
  • An award that celebrates your employees' well-being such as extra PTO or a wellness day.  

Evalato pro tip: You can use Evalato’s customizable program page to communicate the benefits and actual awards, creating some extra buzz and anticipation for your employee awards program. 

6. Build up excitement 

And on that note, your employee program will be more effective if your team is excited about it. In addition to unveiling the awards beforehand, make sure you share frequent reminders about the program in company newsletters, chats, your office messageboard, and so on to build up extra excitement. 

Evalato pro tip: Evalato’s email automation features can help you enhance your program communication, as they keep everyone in the loop about deadlines, results, and winners.  

7. Set up an employee wall of fame 

Make sure that your employees’ achievements remain visible even after your program has concluded. Consider setting up a wall of fame: 

  • At the office, including pictures and other mementos that will also add an air of coziness to your office space; 
  • Online so that it’s also accessible to your remote employees.   

Evalato pro tip: Take advantage of Evalato’s ready-made page to post the outcome of your employee awards — showcasing your team’s achievements will demonstrate that you care and will add another layer of motivation.    

8. Make your program a regular thing 

Rather than having a one-time employee recognition event, turn it into a regular occurrence, be it seasonal, annual, biannual, or some other frequency that makes sense for your business. This way, your employees will always have something to look forward to as you restart the employee recognition cycle. 

Evalato pro tip: Use Evalato’s one-click clone option to copy the bulk of your program’s settings, and with just a couple of tweaks, you’re good to go for the new edition.  

9. Get employee input for your program 

There’s no need to stress if you don’t get your employee awards quite right on the very first try. What matters is making the next edition better and to do that, you can ask for your employees’ feedback on the process, prizes, etc. A simple survey or even a suggestion box would get the job done and will add another layer of recognition since you will show your team that their opinion matters. 

Evalato pro tip: Use Evalato’s analytics and export data to identify any weak areas and outline room for improvement as you plan the next edition of your program.   

10. Use the right employee awards software 

This last tip will not only improve the overall quality of your employee awards but will also save you time and resources that are better allocated elsewhere. While any awards software will help you to some extent, Evalato is the one that will get the job done perfectly. Take a look at some of the reasons why we recommend the Evalato for your employee awards: 

  • Easy to launch a program, regardless of the number of categories, saving your HR managers time and effort, thanks to Evalato’s pre-configured templates, enhanced category structure, and intuitive form builders.  
  • Collecting applications is a breeze, with every one of your employees getting their own space to work on their application, thanks to Evalato’s next-gen applicant portal; 
  • Evaluation is completely customizable, you can have as many rounds as you want, including a public voting one for peer-to-peer recognition; 
  • You can showcase the best employees on a ready-made webpage; 
  • You can measure the success of your employee program and tweak it as needed for the next edition. 

Last but not least, Evalato is a versatile awards management software solution that lets you organize a variety of programs, not necessarily limited to employee recognition (such as awards, competitions, and hackathons) but also powerlists, grants, scholarships, basically, any type of program that has an application and an evaluation phase. 

Evalato pro tip: Register for a free account to test all Evalato features and functionalities or book a demo and get all your questions answered. 

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