Innovation Blog

The Benefits of Creating an Awards Program

Rising tide lifts all ships

Sometimes, people try to downplay awards. But there’s an old saying about them: regardless of what kind of award it is, high-level or seemingly insignificant, it is a huge achievement nonetheless because someone took the time to recognize you. And that alone is noteworthy and something to be proud of.

Has your company ever thought about establishing an awards program? It is no small task to create an awards program, let alone anything, from thin air — but the benefits are many.

One is that you are establishing your company as one that cares about more than just the bottom line or your trivial inter-company concerns but about the future of an industry.

The future of any given industry is often fraught with peril: will it survive the challenges that most certainly arise? Is the workforce inherent to its survival sustainable? Is there a healthy number of young people coming in to take the place of those exiting? Can it navigate a shifting business landscape? Can it deal with evolving employee wants and needs? How will it fair in the burgeoning digital world and the technological features of it (AI, virtual reality, e-commerce, etc.)? Will it withstand the rigors of an increasingly competitive global economy?

Creating an awards program shows you are deeply invested in an industry for the long haul and aim to uplift everyone, understanding everyone’s common interests. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Another benefit that perhaps goes hand in hand with workforce sustainability, employee retention and recruitment is recognizing someone for their achievements who might otherwise toil in anonymity and eventually leave a company or industry due to lack of positive reinforcement for them going the extra mile. A lot of surveys indicate that, even more than money, employees cherish recognition, pats on the back and congratulations for a job well done. In fact, several business books point to this (such as “Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations” by Dan Ariely and Making Work Work by Shola Richards) as well as numerous surveys.

In a Gallup workplace survey, when asked what types of recognition were the most memorable, workers ranked “public recognition or acknowledgement via an award, certificate or commendation” first, while “monetary award such as a trip, prize or pay increase” was fifth out of the six most mentioned things.

Also, consider this: there’s an old saying that you usually only hear about something from higher ups if you did something wrong. That’s why it’s especially important to make sure employees hear when they do something right. Happy employees equal a successful business and thriving industry. There’s also sometimes a disconnect between top executives and lower-rung employees; an award might just be the solution to closing that chasm, shine a spotlight on a deserving employee and perhaps lead to a raise or promotion for that person.

Brand recognition. Looking to build a brand, strengthen one or keep one that’s already strong front and center? There is no better way than an awards program. When someone receives an award, a lot often goes with it: press announcements, social media posts, word of mouth, swanky ceremonies, recognition inside and outside of the industry, etc. — all of this mentioning your company’s name. Not to mention the trophy or plaque that will forever have your name on it and forever be in the possession of the winner, proudly displayed at home or work.

Employee pride/teamwork. A project like an awards program can build a lot of teamwork, pride and camaraderie within a company. It can be very rewarding for employees to know they had a part in recognizing a noteworthy person and make them feel good that their company is doing a good thing and lauding praise and attention on someone who deserves it.

Creating an awards program takes a lot of teamwork, focus and energy, but the rewards are many. With recognition being a huge motivator for people, you’re doing a great thing for people, an industry, your company and the business community.

photo of Jason Stahl

Jason Stahl is the Editor of BodyShop Business

Contact Jason at [email protected]

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