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Choosing the Right Recognition Award

Updated: Jun 4, 2018

Over the years, there will be occasions when your organization should recognize an employee, volunteer, benefactor, or partner for an achievement. Choosing the perfect memento for the recipient and the event can be tricky, but with a little careful planning and some creative thinking, you can create a gift or award that is appropriate for your organization, meaningful to the recipient, and fitting for the occasion.

Being true to your brand

Awards should be an appropriate representation of your organization’s brand and mission. The environment of a large bank or a law firm may be more traditional than a close-knit family-owned business, and different still than a human service-oriented non-profit. Item formality and finishes that might look perfect in one setting may be out of place in another. What type of message does the award send about your organization?

Who is the recipient?

There are some awards given annually or on anniversaries that will have some consistency across the years: a plaque or trophy cup for a top sales person; a choice from a selection for 10, 20, etc. years of service. Other recognition occasions allow individual customization to match with the personality of the recipient. Office workers may want something that can be displayed by or on their desk that demonstrates their accomplishments. Some recipients might prefer something that is more practical and has utility, along the lines of a leather portfolio or custom products they can use on the job. Still others may prefer something that is lighthearted and more casual, but still recognizes their contributions.

When choosing an award for an employee or business colleague, also consider these questions:

  • Does this match the recipient’s personality and our relationship?

  • Is the award attractive enough to keep in the recipient's home or office?

  • Where will the award be placed? This will largely depend on the type of corporate awards you are purchasing. For example, a sales award is the type of award you want displayed for all to see, so you may focus on options that can be placed on the wall.

Fitting the Award to the Occasion

So how do you determine what is an appropriate award for an occasion? A number of factors impact the decision:

  • Matching the award to the achievement: The scope of the event being recognized needs to be viewed through a larger lens. It makes sense that workplace anniversary gifts would increase in size or monetary value over time. How do other events fit on that scale? How will you balance an annual sales leader recognition versus a one-time special recognition to a salesperson for going above and beyond in customer service?

  • Timing and repeatability: Is this recognition an annual event that will need consistency over the years? It will be noticed if the 2017 recipient got a plaque and the 2018 recipient received a new car.

  • Individual or team: Is one person being singled out for excellence, a group of individuals being acknowledged for achieving a level of contribution or professionalism, or are team members being recognized for a group achievement? A single individual allows for the most customization. A group of individuals will need separate and equal recognitions. Do all team members receive a plaque or is there one plaque listing the team to be displayed in a central location with separate gold plates for each team member?

  • Budget: How much does your organization plan to spend, and how does it compare to previous expenditures for similar achievements?

Recognition Types and Occasions

There are as many ways and reasons to honor someone with an award as there are organizations. Visit VisionCraft’s catalogs page to explore options from premium plaques and crystal desk accessories to customizable barbeque kits and backgammon boards.

VisionCraft consults with each customer to ensure that their vision for an award is brought to life. Recently, a client came to us frustrated because other vendors hadn’t wanted to think outside the box to deliver the custom products she had envisioned to recognize hard-working volunteers. VisionCraft listened to her ideas, captured her vision for a custom design, presented options, and ultimately delivered photorealistic mock-ups for her approval before fabricating the awards.

When and why should you be recognizing work colleagues? Some events are set by the calendar; others may be more ad hoc – but done right, it can motivate the recipient to continue to bring their best to organization.

Employee Awards

  • Employee of the Month/Quarter/Year

  • Customer Service Awards

  • Attendance Awards

  • Company Anniversaries & Milestones

  • Sales Awards – Multiple Programs

  • Years of Service Awards

  • Safety Awards

  • Peer to Peer Awards

  • Volunteer Awards

  • Sponsorship Awards

  • Retirement Awards

  • Productivity Awards

  • Special/Team Projects

  • Training/Certification

  • Quality Awards

  • Above and Beyond Awards

  • Community Awards

Employee Incentives

  • Sales Achievement

  • Sales Referrals

  • Productivity

  • Customer Service

  • Special Projects

  • Customer Retention

  • Recruiting

  • Quality

  • Lead Generation

  • Safety

  • Training

  • Attendance/Turnover

  • Team Building

  • Fundraising

Corporate Gifts

  • Holiday Appreciation

  • Birthdays

  • Thank You for the Order

  • Company Events

  • New Customers

  • Special Project Completion

  • Mergers/Acquisitions

  • Golf Outings

  • Client/Vendor Appreciation

  • Off-site Meetings/Special Events

  • “Hallmark” Days

  • Anniversaries

  • Outstanding Performance

  • Retirement Gifts

Timeframe for ordering

As with any business process, ordering personalized awards requires some advance planning to ensure the appropriate item is chosen for each recipient, appropriate logos and artwork are supplied, mock-ups are approved, and the product can be delivered. Delayed planning can incur rush expenses and increase the possibility for mistakes.

The ultimate goal when choosing a recognition award is that it is memorable, well-crafted with quality materials, and appropriate. The professionals at VisionCraft will listen to your ideas and help you create an award that will be cherished forever.

If your organization will be honoring employees and partners with awards on a regular basis and you don’t already have a set of guidelines in place, VisionCraft can help you establish a program to help streamline your recognition process.


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