Recognition Awards - Informal Vs. Formal

    Recognition programs can be kind of tricky to get started, but once you have them going, the benefits are awesome. Recognition can come in different forms and can be applied at different times. The important thing is that it's positive for a job well done, as this is the key to success.

     Horse butt bobble joke award and Standing Golden Star Rosewood Plaques Here are some ideas of informal vs. formal awards. Informal one the left, formal on the right, me in the middle!

    The first step is to figure out what kinds of recognition already exist in your organization. Does it work by making employees feel good about themselves? In what areas can your company improve? The second step is to decide what kind of program you want to create and how involved you want it to be. Below are some ideas.

    Informal Recognition

    It’s easy to use informal day-to-day recognition. Words of affirmation boost morale and make the job at hand more fun. A simple ‘Thanks’ when someone leaves at the end of a full day’s work may be all it takes. The best business managers express gratitude when their employees spend a day with the company. Other simple ways to recognize a great job include hand-written notes, cards, and thanks in the presence of others. Informal sales contests, weekly recognition awards and office competitions are other ideas suitable to the workplace.

    Lighten Up! Add Some Humor to Your Workplace

    Humorous awards are a great way to use informal recognition. You don’t need a structured recognition awards program to bring some laughter and fun to the workplace. The benefits include a positive working atmosphere where people don’t take themselves as seriously. Humor cancels negative emotions, connects people, and makes work a fun place to spend time each day. If you create a funny or tacky award, make sure the recipient has a good sense of humor and knows it’s a joke. Create hype for unusual awards by making them perpetual ones that get passed around the office from person to person. The ideas are endless, just make it fun and creative!

    Formal Recognition

    When planned ahead and customized for your organization, formal Recognition Programs can help a company reach its goals AND create a loyal and fulfilled staff. They’re a powerful tool that helps people feel better about their jobs and gives them a carrot to improve. And they’re cost effective!  Just be sure to plan before you jump in.

    According to the Recognition Professionals International (RPI), the 4 steps for a successful recognition awards program are Strategy, Implementation, Review, and Assessment. For more details, contact a Certified Recognition Professional, such as Trophies2Go President, Jeff Anderson. He’s happy to help you at [email protected]

    Creating a successful recognition awards program takes planning, strategy and perseverance. Below are the things you need to be successful:

    1. Set Clear Goals. When planning a program, figure out why you are doing it and what you’d like to get out of it. Also decide what variable you’d like to measure (for example, employee satisfaction) and then set a realistic goal for the program.

    2. Measure. Before beginning the program, get a baseline of what needs improvement. Then make a plan using employee recognition to help that particular area. Measure your variable before starting a program, at the next time period (such as a year) and then again at the end of the program. Assess the changes, see if there was progress, and check if goals were met. Then start cycle again and decide if the program is still relevant or needs change.

    3. Recognition. Once goals have been set and measured, the system is put into motion. Individuals who meet or exceed goals deserve recognition.

    4. Make It Ongoing. Some of the most successful sales, service or training recognition programs are built with longevity in mind. Programs are much more successful if they continue on an on-going basis.

    Once you have your method of recognition up and running, it does take time to order awards for each cycle. Assign one person to this task and schedule it on their calendar. can help because we keep past orders, fill orders quickly, and make it easy to order online.

    5. Flexibility. A recognition awards program must be flexible and adaptable; able to change to meet goals. When beginning a Recognition Program, the person in charge sees a vision for the program, directs it for a few awards cycles, and then tweaks it when it needs it.

    6. Management Buy-In. Upper management has to be on board in order for a program to be successful. Be sure to communicate the goals of the program to management and get their support. Then they can take pride in the program, especially when goals are met or surpassed. When used, most programs create win-win scenarios for everyone involved, adding positive movement to the company. They are taken seriously and become important to the culture.

    7. Communication. It’s the most important piece of the program; the central focus. Recognition Program managers must communicate first, that there is a recognition program; second, why the company is doing it; and third, why it’s important. Management must communicate what the entire recognition program means to the company and how it’s important to the corporate culture. The program will be most successful if everyone in the company knows about it, thinks it’s important, and the goals are clear and measurable. Communicate when the company hosts an event to recognize winners and that they’ll measure the outcome of the program to see if they’ll do it again next year.

    The results of a successful formal recognition awards program are people who genuinely want to add to the value of their organization. All of the above ideas can be adapted for use in any program. This is a great tool for any leader to boost morale and productivity throughout their company.

    Cheers, Jessica

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