16 unique recognition award ideas: names & best practices

Rachel Harmon
Samantha Mikos

Like we need food, water, and shelter, we need to be acknowledged for our efforts. When we receive recognition awards, we become happier, more confident in our abilities, and more productive for society. For your organization to have a fighting chance, you need to appreciate those around you. When done right, it will shower your team with positivity, encouragement, and so much more.

As experts in the industry, we would like to share the basics of recognition awards: their importance, benefits, and program ideas. Recognition award programs are essential for any team that wants to thrive.

What is a recognition award?

A recognition award is a tangible form of appreciation used to show an individual or group that their contribution or accomplishment deserves to be celebrated. No matter the recognition award template, at Cristaux, we design one-of-a-kind concepts. By celebrating with a unique piece, you capture that special moment for you and your team.

Award creations come in many shapes and sizes including the following:

Brushed Metal logo replica with mirrored lettering

Recognition award meaning: why give employee awards

To put it plainly, your recognition programs determine your company’s success. Your staff drives your achievements, so you must give credit where credit is due. Purposeful recognition awards make employees feel valued and appreciated. Genuine praise will attract and keep hard-working employees who will in turn, grow your business.

When designing your employee recognition program, avoid the following pitfalls:

  • Using commodified awards without evolving your program
  • Focusing on general recognition categories instead of honoring something specific to individual employees
  • Presenting awards that don’t represent your company brand
  • Saving employee recognition to one event per year, not celebrating consistently

16 recognition award wording ideas

The world of recognition is big and uncharted for many, so let us be your guide. There is something for everyone, from your newcomers to your veteran employees. Whether honoring a whole department or highlighting a few champions, you’ll find what you are looking for. For inspiration when planning your program, check out these 16 ideas of employee recognition award names and categories.

1. Employee recognition award

An employee award is any type of recognition a member of your team receives. The opportunities for this type of recognition are vast and easily customized for any company project or event. To help build your program vision, check out these 30 ideas for employee recognition or these five for when you want to get fancy.

Clear crystal Employee recognition award on black crystal base

2. Teamwork award

To honor individuals or whole groups, teamwork awards are for those who put company culture and a positive work environment first. They manage harmony, support others, and motivate the group to achieve remarkable things. Team building is in the blood of these honorees. Our go-to name for this award is “Teamwork Guru.”

3. Design and creative awards

This type of award captures the spirit of creativity and innovation. A creative award is reserved for your most inventive team members. From drafting groundbreaking designs to discovering visionary solutions, recipients of this honor are invaluable to your team.

4. Sales award

Sales awards are dedicated to the efforts of your sales team. For instance, you can celebrate your rising stars or commemorate the newest addition to your President’s Club. Regardless, those who drive growth and close big deals deserve to be recognized. Find out seven more ways to recognize your sales staff.

Metal E’s painted blue on black brushed metal base

5. Safety award

Safety awards honor those who maintain a safe workplace. Show that you are serious about safety and celebrate the employees and vendors who promote high standards. From honoring completed training programs to upholding best practices, safety awards are essential to valuing responsibility and wellness.

6. Employee of the month award

An employee of the month award program helps you recognize your team consistently. This idea also pairs well with “Employee of the Week” and “Employee of the Year” programs. It keeps your team engaged throughout the year and instills the value of appreciation into your company culture.

7. Years of service award

Years of service awards are a smart solution for yearly employee recognition. This service award honors the power of commitment and strength in employee retention. Your devoted employees will receive this honor with pride, confirming their dedication to your organization. Designs for this award type can easily distinguish achievements with varied sizes and colors.

EDM Wire cut metal number 5 recognition award

8. Professional development award

To recognize those who continue to learn and grow, professional development awards are ideal. This award type honors the importance of personal development and ignites your employees’ passions. Whether continuing education or refining their craft with extra training, employees want to know how their organization will get them to where they want to be.

9. Remote award

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many companies shifted to a remote workforce. With this, award events also made the move to the remote and digital realm. Remote awards allow us to celebrate each other and reconnect as a company, while promoting safety. With our drop shipping solution, we can deliver remote awards directly to each recipients’ doorstep.

10. Leadership award

Leadership awards are for the guiding forces of your team. For acknowledging, coaching, and mentoring others, leaders deserve to be recognized and supported in return. To relay genuine appreciation to your team, consider making recognition one of your company’s core values.

11. Company values award

Company values awards align your company’s character with superior performance. Honor those who are living out your mission and vision. Recipients exemplify office ideals and serve as role models for their teammates. This form of employee recognition is purposeful, simultaneously celebrating your team and the foundation of your business.

blue and clear acrylic puzzle pieces with company value personalization

12. Corporate Gifts

Custom corporate gifts are select creations with many diverse functions. Whether sporting a lapel pin, traveling in style with unique luggage tags, or celebrating with custom branded wine glasses, employees love a meaningful gift. Small gestures like these go a long way.

13. Customer service award

Your customer service heroes represent your company so well that their efforts need to be commemorated. From putting out fires to providing premium service, these client champions are essential to your business. When you honor them, these employee all-stars become more engaged in their work and in turn improve customer satisfaction. Overall, investing in service awards can significantly improve your brand image.

14. Excellence awards

Think of your top performers — your success drivers. Due to their diligence and persistence, your company thrives. These major achievements cannot go unnoticed. Excellence awards reward those who go above and beyond in any field or role. From advertising to media, this recognition type lends well to events dedicated to honoring the best of any industry.

Crystal pencil and crystal base with chromatic plating to give colorful reflections

15. Department awards

Department awards either honor the contributions of whole teams or one member’s efforts for a specific division. You can collaborate with department leaders to decide who is most deserving of this recognition.

16. Employees’ choice award

Employees’ choice awards are an excellent form of peer-to-peer recognition. When those closest to you nominate you for this honor, it makes the gesture more personal and substantial. Additionally, a similar voting process can be applied to add significance to any award program.

Compensation and recognition: What benefits can employee recognition have?

The benefits of employee recognition are overflowing. Beyond someone’s smile after receiving an award, the effects of intentional recognition are endless. Consider the following:

  • Increased productivity and engagement
  • Greater employee satisfaction
  • Direct performance feedback
  • Higher loyalty
  • Enhanced teamwork and relationships
  • Motivation and healthy competition
  • Employee retention
  • Better safety records
  • Lower rates of absenteeism
  • Elevated organizational culture
  • HR goals achieved
  • Positive brand image

Cristaux didn’t get into the recognition business for nothing. We believe that every individual deserves to know why recognition matters and how to maintain this type of appreciation within their own workplace.

Brushed gold metal recognition award with personalization screen printed

Build a culture of appreciation with recognition awards

Bring your vision to life with a modernized plan for your upcoming recognition award program. Continue to reflect on past designs and reinvent your concepts. Practicing innovation shows your team that you care, listen, and strive to be better.

Connect with a Cristaux team member today to discover which comprehensive solutions will drive your team forward.