What are employee recognition awards?

Employee recognition awards are one of the main ways employers show appreciation. Sources of recognition typically come from management, leadership, and peers.

Usually, when we think of recognition awards we tie them to performance, for example, sales employee award titles and so on. But implementing an award schedule as part of a comprehensive reward management strategy has many advantages, such as increasing productivity and job satisfaction.1

Plus, there’s more to work than just sales targets. So, thinking of other ways to appreciate your teams — for example with reward vouchers when they achieve something significant — keeps them engaged and happy.

13 employee recognition award ideas

If you're stuck on what awards to give your employees, our list will give you some inspiration. We’ve also included some creative employee award titles too.

1. Long service or tenure awards

Employees who receive long service awards have typically worked in your company for at least 20 years. But these days people move around a lot more, so you may want to give out this award every 5–10 years. Also, not every long service award needs a gift associated with it. Depending on the size of your company, a simple email, a company-wide shoutout or an anniversary alert on an app is a nice way to celebrate someone hitting a yearly milestone.

Long service recognition award names

  • Emerald award (or different precious stone depending on years of service)
  • Outstanding service award
  • Incomparable service award

Perkbox employee recognition platform milestones

2. Driving success awards

This award recognises employees who’ve achieved something remarkable in your organisation — be it launching a new website or consistently hitting their sales targets. Introducing awards like these keeps engagement high as your teams gain an additional sense of pride from receiving public recognition.

Driving growth award names

  • Sales hero award
  • Outstanding accomplishment award
  • Star performer award

3. Innovation awards

We’re all familiar with rewarding success, but celebrating ideas may not come as naturally. Still, it’s important to make a big deal out of your employees’ ideas as it only takes one to set your business apart from the competition. Some companies actively encourage their employees to develop new products or services by giving them time out and a budget.

Innovation award names

  • Future thinker
  • Bright spark award
  • Genius award
  • Intrapreneur award

Employees celebrating each other with applause at a meeting

4. Team player awards

As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work, so why are there so few awards that shine a spotlight on team players? Almost every good idea or project is the result of a collaborative effort. Very rarely do people achieve greatness without the support of others. Team player awards remind employees that working well with others is something to be proud of.

Team player award names

  • Ultimate teamwork award
  • Best team member award
  • Helping hand award

5. Leadership awards

Great leaders deserve to be recognised. It doesn't matter how you define a leader, they could be a person on the board of directors, or a team manager. What matters more is the criteria for the award. We recommend focusing on mentorship qualities as these have the most impact on your employees.

Leadership award names

  • Mentoring champion
  • The Inspire award
  • Knowledge award

HR leader smiling in a 1-1 meeting

6. New hire awards

A new hire award serves many purposes. The simplest is celebrating the addition of a new team member. If a new joiner has achieved a lot in a short space of time you could also recognise their contributions in lieu of a more formal performance award. Celebrating such skilled employees, regardless of the time they’ve spent at your company, shows you value them.

New hire award names

  • Amazing addition award
  • Exceptional hire award
  • Rising star award

7. Customer service awards

Providing excellent customer service can be challenging. Customer service advisors are the first people to handle complaints and often engage in difficult conversations when emotions are running high. Exceptional customer service teams not only uphold your brand reputation, but are also product experts, making them ideal candidates for employee awards.

Customer service award names

  • Five-star service award
  • Supplier superstar
  • Client care champion

Employees sitting together at a table and smiling

8. Going above and beyond award

If an employee has gone out of their way to help others, you can celebrate their can-do attitude with an above-and-beyond award. Going the extra mile, while maintaining other commitments and SLAs, isn’t easy and the employees who manage this should be celebrated.

Going above and beyond award names

  • Everyday hero
  • Extra mile award
  • Outstanding dependability
  • Ace employee

9. Employee choice award

Employee choice awards are a form of peer-to-peer recognition. They’re the most creative awards as your teams get the opportunity to invent their own. Examples include recognising the funniest emails or the best background on Zoom. These types of awards bring people together as everyone can get involved and vote on what category to celebrate.

Employee choice award names

  • Best Giphy award
  • Office DJ award
  • Best dressed award
  • Best tea/coffee maker award

10. Best advice giver

Every organisation has an employee others go to for advice. These people are integral to company culture and their ability to put others at ease shouldn't be taken for granted. Sometimes, these employees are mentors who work with new joiners, so taking care of others is also part of their job. But often, they’re just naturally very supportive and kind.

Best advice giver award names

  • Always ready to help award
  • Pillar of strength award
  • Positivity award

11. Best meetings

Making meetings an event to look forward to is a unique skill, so when an employee always goes the extra mile in their prep, show them some appreciation with a best meetings award. Making fun icebreaker games or delivering engaging presentations takes a lot of time and effort — and recognising this encourages others to level up their own meetings. Some employees spend most of their days in meetings, so it’s crucial they’re made as engaging as possible.

Best meeting award names

  • Most engaging meeting award
  • Best presentation award
  • Most creative meeting award

12. Engagement driver

Employee engagement is a measure of how committed employees are to their work and organisation. Anyone who encourages engagement is maintaining your culture and consequently making your organisation a great place to work. Celebrating them shows you value positivity and people who encourage others to be better.

Engagement driver award names

  • Engagement champion
  • Best social rep
  • The motivator award

13. Best listener

While this award is suitable for employees at all levels of your business, we recommend reserving it for managers. Ideally, you should tie this award directly with active listening. Developing an action-based plan to address negative feedback is tough, so it’s important to show appreciation to those who act on employee survey responses.

Best listener award names

  • Consider it done award
  • Employee advocate award
  • Exceptional listener award

Employee smiling with a hand on her chest as she receives an award

How to budget and roll out your employee rewards

No matter your budget, there are plenty of options to recognise and celebrate your employees’ efforts. As we mentioned earlier, writing thank you cards is a very affordable option for letting your teams know you appreciate them.

However, you might be planning on rolling out a more sophisticated reward and recognition strategy. Lots of organisations find all-in-one employee experience platforms to be very cost-effective, as they don’t need to factor in any additional budget for stand-alone reward programs and apps.

Our platform, for example, includes:

Recognition and reward

Perkbox is ideal for organisations who want to encourage their teams to share their wins with real-time recognition, regardless of where they’re working. Managers can also send Reward points digitally through our app, connecting them to their international workforce. Employees can exchange these Reward points for a range of products and experiences. Wherever they are and whatever their interest — be it shopping, dining out, or even DIY — we’ve got a reward for them.

Learn more about how Perkbox can help you with your reward and recognition goals

Culture and communications

If you’ve created a new award title and want to share it far and wide you can do this Perkbox. However, Perkbox isn’t just a central source of information — which on its own, is incredibly useful. No, it’s much more than that. You can create a notice board of updates with eye-catching visual cards. Create unique cards from scratch, or choose one from the useful range of templates.

The Perkbox employee recognition and award platform user interface.

Recognising employees is its own reward

The obvious benefit of employee recognition is the value the recipient gains from their manager and organisation. However, what people tend to forget is that the process of giving an award is uplifting in itself. When employee awards are given — be it virtually, or at an awards ceremony — it creates an upbeat atmosphere that everyone wants to be a part of.

At Perkbox, we take pride in rewarding our employees for their success, so we recognise our teams:

  • Every day: Perkboxers can send each other recognition on the Perkbox app whenever they want.
  • Every quarter: These employee awards are announced during our quarterly kick-off meetings.
  • Every 6 months: These awards can take place at our summers and end-of-year parties. Each award is tied to our company values.

Find out how Perkbox can help you recognise and reward your employees

Employee recognition award ideas: your FAQS answered

What are some employee recognition awards?

Employee awards can be physical or digital and there are benefits to both. A digital awards program helps HR teams and managers record who wins what, which can assist them in making decisions on promotions and raises. However, a physical award may appeal to other employers, as some consider them to have a more personal touch. Because each company is unique, some employee award ideas may not be suitable, if this is the case for you, don't worry — just make up your own!

What do you award employees for?

How do you reward an employee for having great ideas?

Learn how you can reward and recognise with Perkbox

Celebrate and motivate your employees no matter where they’re working — in one building, remotely or across multiple locations.

  • Create a culture of appreciation that engages employees wherever they are
  • Boost productivity and employee retention
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