The Human Awards: Making Employee Recognition More Fun and More Human

It’s no secret that employee recognition matters. According to research conducted by Gallup and Workhuman, 77% of employees who feel they receive the right amount of recognition are more loyal to their companies, about three times more than those who don’t feel appreciated enough. 

Every organization has its own way of recognizing its employees… but what works and what makes a lasting impact?

In a study conducted by Gallup, data reveals that the most effective recognition is authentic, honest and personalized to how each employee wants to be recognized. People crave something more human. Something more than: “Employee of the Month,” “Salesman of the Year” or “Top Performer of the Year.” Make employee recognition more memorable and impactful for everyone by avoiding corporate clichés and buzzwords.  

When it comes to making your employees feel appreciated, it pays off to be more creative, authentic and fun. I’m sharing some ideas with you about how you can make employee recognition in your organization more human. 

Choose fun superlatives.

One of the things I do after working with a client for a year is to have a fun and quick survey where we vote for people on the team and give them special awards—what I call the “Human Awards.” Here is a sample list of potential awards for inspiration:

  • Spirit Award: Most Driven by the Company Values
  • GPS Award: Most Likely to Know Where Anyone Is at Any Given Time
  • Dewey Decimal Award: Most Organized
  • Playground Award: Most Likely to Make Work Fun
  • Light at the End of the Tunnel Award: Most Likely to See the Bright Side
  • Mind-Blowing Award: Most Likely to Generate Creative Ideas
  • Phone Tag Award: Least Likely to Answer Their Phone
  • Librarian Award: Most Likely to Keep Everyone in Line
  • Knight in Shining Armor Award: Most Likely to Save the Day

What makes these awards more meaningful than your typical company awards is that…

They’re human.  They’re positive.  They’re fun.  They’re real. 

And what makes it even better is that it’s easy to do.  You can create and start your own Human Awards that are just right for your team. It’s one of the fun and meaningful ways you can connect with your employees.

Give team members opportunities to show appreciation for each other.

Aside from being fun, voting for these awards gets everyone on the team involved because everybody gets to participate. While recognition from immediate managers is key, recognition from peers is important too. 41% of respondents in a survey conducted by Workplace, Quantum Workplace and BambooHR say they want more recognition from their immediate coworkers. Most of the time, peers are the first hand witnesses of employee efforts and provide more insight than senior management into what their coworkers are good at. 

“Human Awards” are fun, rewarding and personal.

Acknowledging your employees’ efforts doesn’t have to be expensive and complicated. Sometimes, all it takes to keep your employees happy and motivate them to do their best is simple, genuine and human expressions of appreciation. Instead of asking what, ask how you can make employee recognition more meaningful, fun, individualized and memorable—in short, how can you make it more human?

In love and respect,

Hilary Corna

Hilary Corna

Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host, Founder of the Human Way ™...

Hilary’s favorite title is HUMAN.


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