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So you founded a business after discovering an opportunity gap. Wonderfully, your business is on a growth spurt right now and you really need to hire and retain the right talent. You have honed your business skills, alright? You know that taking care of your team is the way to thrive and win the game of ‘startups’.

You must have heard about employee background checks (if not, click over here) that can make sure you hire the right talent. Similarly, investing and nurturing these selected hires are also a crucial part of your business growth. Those entrepreneurial seminars taught you that employee appreciation is a necessary investment, stuff like giving out an employee appreciation trophy is not an expense.

And since you love research, you got all those statistics on employee appreciation at the back of your mind. Yes, you are aware that employee recognition can increase their engagement by 60% whilst lowering frustration by 28%, and consequently reducing turnover by 23%.

However, there’s this mind-boggling issue. An issue that’s threatening your effective employee-recognition program.

Your employees know what to receive as an attendance recognition award. They know when to receive an employee recognition trophy after stepping up to a challenge with which there’s a promised reward. In short, gift giving and employee recognition is slowly becoming more of an expected affair.

So, Should We Give Out Employee Appreciation Trophy?

Being a smart entrepreneur, you know this is a big problem. In the very least, it’s likely to result in a sense of entitlement among employees who will no longer value the expense and the effort you put towards their recognition. So, what incentives can you employ to help you grow and retain talent? Incentives that will be memorable. Employee recognition awards that won’t be deemed as just another perk that comes with working in your company.

Well, let’s dive right into the solutions. Remember, the element of surprise is key.

The power of surprises in employee recognition

Ever wonder why gaming can be so addictive for some people?

Well, you guessed it.

Gaming is addictive because it is engaging and challenging at the same time. But most importantly, it is unpredictable in terms of the tokens awarded to the player to keep them hooked into the game. Game developers employ numerous tactics such as exploring new worlds or fictional stories to help open that sense of wonder again.

The same logic applies in the business world.

Surprises will keep your employees hooked into your business game while creating lasting memories. Note, memory creation is important as the energy, resources, enthusiasm, and time spent creating that employee recognition trophy and inspiring work is worth remembering. Again, these memories will keep the value added to the employee upon the issuance of the surprise alive, keeping them motivated and engaged for a relatively longer duration.

We know it’s power, let’s see how to incorporate it into our recognition program.

How to incorporate the element of surprise in recognition awards

The key here is to deliver the award in a varied, surprising, and an unexpected way. Here are a few pointers:

  • Deliver the employee appreciation trophy or recognition award at different days and times other than the usual gifting days
  • Vary the contributions and actions that deserve to be recognized. For instance, you can reward the person who brought in more sales today. Tomorrow, recognize that intern who made a significant mistake yes, but didn’t cover it up; this can be amazing especially if they got to learn valuable lessons from the mistake. Next time go with something else and so on.
  • Vary the type and format of employee appreciation. Giving cards and plants for everyone’s birthday can create a sense of entitlement. Worse, giving the same old gifts eliminate the element of customization and individualism which will leave the award as just that – an unthoughtful gift. Online stores like Packed with Purpose and similar ones have now made corporate gifting easier. You might want to give them a try when thinking of corporate gifts.
  • Vary the source of the award. You can have one of the directors award that employee today. Next time go with the CEOs, managers, employee recognition committee, peers, or even customers.

Okay. But what kind of a recognition trophy eliminates the sense of entitlement?

Characteristics Of An Employee Recognition Award

According to a recent study, employees measure their success based on 4 factors.

  1. Making a positive impact
  2. Doing what they love
  3. Good work-life balance, and
  4. Pay.

Well, having a positive impact as a key measure for success makes employee recognition awards important. Heck, it’s after rewarding an employee that they will somewhat feel the value and the impact of what they are doing, right?

That said, the award should be timely, specific to business and personal goals, and meaningful to the employee.

Note, the employee appreciation trophy is a statement and the more thoughts you put into its selection and presentation, the more it will communicate. Therefore, be sure to consider the person you’re gifting as the best gift is the one that shows you understand the receiver as in-depth as possible.

And when it comes to ideas, try the following.

Employee incentives

  • Express gratitude on social media.
  • Motivate the employees with commissions, bonuses, and buy-in possibilities (read more about this on sites like Eden Health).
  • Give the employee time off time-off (while at it, encourage the persons taking time-off to bring a gift for their peers as a thank you for covering for them while they were away.
  • Provide employees with the freedom to control their schedules.
  • Put your employee on your website.
  • Provide employees with the best technology (such as up to date software).
  • Pay for a relevant course.
  • Challenge them to grow and develop.
  • Bring in a surprise guest g. a celebrity to cheer or reward the employees.
  • Incorporate a fun experience – an outing, a trip to Zanzibar, or just take a dancing class.

In Short

In conclusion, employee recognition is a daily affair but that’s not all. The gift should be meaningful and unexpected to reduce entitlement amongst employees. And while we’ve provided a cool list of gift ideas to choose from; it’d be better if you’re to conduct a survey (amongst employees) on how they’d prefer to be recognized.

Now you can go forth and show you care effectively but wait, what are other ways you ensure an unexpected employee recognition in your organization? The comments are right below.