Interested to Improve Employee Experience?

Speak to the team

Introducing an ‘Employee of the Year’ Award

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Introducing an ‘Employee of the Year’ Award

Your team works hard all year round to deliver operational excellence. They’re dedicated, motivated, and, ultimately, brilliant at what they do.

But when was the last time you told them that, or showed your appreciation for their tireless support on a project? Or publicly acknowledged their incredible input, impeccable attendance, and unparalleled punctuality?

If you’re sensible, you do it at every opportunity.

That’s because there’s nothing better than having someone (especially your employer) take notice of your effort. It can make your day, put a smile on your face, and boost your sense of connection to an organization.

That’s a big reason why having an ‘Employee of the Year’ or ‘Employees of the Year’ award makes so much sense. After all, an employee recognition program is designed to highlight someone’s outstanding contribution, which leads to myriad benefits for the individual, the team, and, importantly, the employer as well.

In this article, we’re going to highlight the primary advantages involved in having a successful employee recognition program. Read on to discover the positive impact of this special kind of employee recognition.

What Is an “Employee of the Year Award”?

An employee of the year award is a title that some organizations bestow upon an employee (or multiple employees) to mark their exceptional work, contribution, behavior, and/or success.

While it’s often awarded on an annual basis (hence the name), this isn’t a hard and fast rule. You could choose to recognize employees in this way every week, once a month, each quarter, or all of the above!

Ultimately, giving employee awards is up to you and what feels appropriate for your business (although there’s no denying that hosting employee recognition awards too frequently risks “diluting” the honor).

Frequency isn’t the only way these programs differ between organizations either. The accolades for which they’re awarded do too. Some businesses give a general employee of the year award to mark someone’s overall contribution, while others choose to celebrate specific outstanding achievements when rewarding employees. Employee award ideas include “Best Sales Figures”, “Most Improved Performer”, “Most Dedicated Service”, “Positive Attitude Award”, “Best Attendance”, “Best Performance Award” and “Best Team Player”.

Benefits of Employee Recognition Programs

Hosting an employee of the year award isn’t just a gimmick; nor is it simply a good deed or a selfless act! The reality such an award motivate employees and leads to a host of positive outcomes in all corners. Here are the primary ways you and the organization stand to gain:

1. It Improves the Employee Experience

Imagine putting your heart and soul into a project. You work on it for days and go well beyond the call of duty to get the outcome you want.

Now imagine getting zero appreciation from your boss when it’s over – no acknowledgement in a team meeting nor quiet word of thanks in a one-to-one.

How would you feel? Probably disheartened, angry, and hurt, right?

That’s because a lack of appreciation from your employer can be hugely damaging to morale and employee engagement. You question the point in trying, settle for doing the bare minimum, and, over time, might consider changing jobs.

The opposite’s true when your efforts are acknowledged. Whether you receive an employee of the year award for your outstanding performance or a simple “well done” at the end of the day, employee appreciation is deeply gratifying. You feel happy, validated, and motivated to do more.

2. It Improves the Company Culture

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the company culture to a business’s long term success. Not only does a strong culture attract talented candidates to vacant positions, but it also convinces your top performers to remain in their roles and creates an upbeat atmosphere that boosts productivity.

Acknowledging the hard work of your employees and developing an employee awards program is one way to cultivate a culture of that nature. They’ll feel respected, valued, and happier at work – feelings that spread throughout the team and increase peoples’ loyalty to the organization.

3. It Protects Against Various Business Problems

While it’s hard to put them down exclusively to having an employee of the year award, there’s no doubt that high rates of employee satisfaction and strong company culture can have profound knock-on effects.

Think about their possible impact on issues like employee burnout, staff turnover, and absenteeism. Each one’s likely to improve as employee morale lifts. Rather than dreading the workday, your team will enjoy coming into the office and feel more inclined to be productive when they’re there.

4. It Boosts Employee Relationships

Another direct advantage of awarding employees is the positive impact they can have on peer-to-peer (and manager-to-peer) relations.

This often comes down to camaraderie. While it’s natural for these corporate awards to spark competition too (more on this next), the overwhelming response is one of togetherness- especially when you encourage peer-to-peer recognition.

People enjoy seeing their colleagues succeed; tight bonds form when they give (and receive) accolades to (and from) their workmates. The end result is a team of people who both like and support each other.

5. It Inspires the Workforce

Ambitious team members like having something to aim for. They don’t just want acknowledgement – they want to win something. An employee of the year award can serve that purpose.

Yet that’s not all. Seeing someone on your team receive meaningful awards can be inspiring too. The other employees feel happy for them, while simultaneously wanting a slice of their success. In doing so, these awards create a level of healthy competition that motivates everyone to do their best.


An employee of the year award and similar employee recognition programs might sound like trivial ways to end another 12 months of business. Some business leaders question their values and wonder whether people actually care about them.

Have you had similar doubts? Well, we hope the insights in this article have clarified matters. As we’ve seen, these awards are anything but inconsequential.

They come with a host of compelling benefits to everyone involved – especially the organization. If you’re searching for further ways to enhance the employee experience or for help in developing award criteria, then we can assist. Click here to sign up to Qualee today.

Explore More Posts