Home » The Employee of the Month Ideas & Awards to Boost Morale & Company Culture

The Employee of the Month Ideas & Awards to Boost Morale & Company Culture

Zoom has been a big help for our fully remote company, but not in establishing an effective employee recognition program. There’s only one issue . . . the Zoom backgrounds and filters are out of control. None of us know what our team members or their home offices really look like.

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Kevin’s using a new tropical background every day – even though we all know he’s actually in Iowa. But certainly the most jarring is Patricia, who uses a potato filter. It’s hard to take her seriously . . . and she’s in accounting.

HR began noticing that it negatively impacted the work environment and company values. The first half of every meeting seemed to consist of oinking and hee-hawing instead of meaningful discussion. Simply put, no real work was getting done.

Instead of banning avatars and backgrounds completely, HR devised a better solution to motivate productivity while boosting employee appreciation – a monthly employee recognition award for the top performer.

HR considered a couple of ideas for the new peer-nominated award program before deciding it should showcase what we value most – initiative, collaboration, and professionalism. The chosen employee of the month will receive a small bonus as well.

By implementing this positive award program, HR hopes to encourage team members to embody company values in their work rather than use distracting virtual backgrounds, leading to a more productive and collegial work environment overall.

Unique Celebration Ideas for the Employee of the Month Program

Encourage employees to chill with the silly filters and bring their A-game.

Integrate a Point System: Best Employee of the Month Idea 

You could integrate a point system if you don’t want to choose the employee of the month based simply on instinct or HR vote alone. Award points for things such as preparedness in meetings, initiative, and having a positive attitude . . . maybe even points for not using a potato filter.

Send an Email Out to Everyone for Employee Recognition

Announce that you’ll be starting the employee of the month program. Let your employees know what you’re looking for in that employee of the month and the reward (because who doesn’t love a reward?). You can also announce the winner each month via email or Slack. Perhaps even share a leaderboard every week!

Curate the perfect box of handpicked gift they’ll love and send joy their way

Appreciate them on Social Media as Employee of the Month Award

Give your hardworking employee of the month an extra shoutout on the company’s social media – fame can be a pretty big motivator! Even Forbes says that public recognition for hard work can be one of the biggest motivators for employees. 

Give an Extra Perk as an Employee Program

For the reward, consider giving an extra perk – such as a bonus PTO day (maybe Kevin will use it to go to an actual tropical destination).

Reward with a Gift for Employee Recognition Program

Perhaps the biggest motivator might be a fantastic gift. It’s like Christmas every month . . . only there’s no Christmas tree . . . and only one person gets a present. Still, a gift is a great motivator – and most employees say that they feel appreciated when they receive gifts. 

Virtual Party for Employee Engagement

Hold a virtual party over Zoom or Teams to celebrate the winner. Send e-vites, have everyone log on with fun backgrounds/filters, play games, give virtual high fives, and send an e-gift card for the winner’s favorite restaurant so they can treat themselves.

15 Minutes of Fame as Customer Service Award

Give the winner 15 minutes to be spotlighted at the start of the monthly all-hands meeting. They can share about their role, top accomplishments, fun facts, words of wisdom, or whatever they’d like!

Outdoor Adventure Ideas Your Team Can Use

If your budget allows, treat the monthly winner to a half-day outdoor adventure like kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, or a bike tour. This allows the winner to destress and celebrate their accomplishments.

Surprise Delivery as Employee Award

Mail a customized basket or box filled with the winner’s favorite snacks, gift cards, company swag, trophies, and handwritten congratulations notes from team members. The element of surprise makes it extra fun!

Profile Feature: Employee Appreciation Month Ideas Your Team Will Love

Spotlight the winner by prominently featuring their profile and photo on the company intranet homepage and internal social channels. Also, share a “day in the life” style Q&A to help all employees get to know them.

Red Carpet VIP as Employee Recognition Award Program

When the monthly winner walks into the office, give them the celebrity treatment with a red carpet rollout, paparazzi-style photos, welcome signs, balloons, confetti, and coworkers lined up to congratulate them with high fives or applause.

The Monthly MVP Trophy: Employee of the Month Program

Award a fun, personalized monthly trophy to display on the winner’s desk. Consider engraving their name and month. This serves as a monthly visual recognition of their contributions.

Spin the Recognition Wheel: Unique Employee of the Month Award Program

Host a virtual team meeting and have the monthly winner spin a digital prize wheel to win their reward (gift cards, half day off, choice of team lunch, etc). Make it fun and build anticipation.

Recognition Round Table for Team Members

 During the monthly company-wide meeting, seat the winner at a unique VIP table and announce them as the Monthly Award Recipient. Have other leaders stop by the table to personally congratulate them in front of everyone.

Social Media Shout-outs for Top Performers

Shine the spotlight on monthly top performers by highlighting their achievements on the company’s social pages – sharing their photos, accomplishments, and words of wisdom. Tag and congratulate them publicly.

The Employee of the Month Parking Spot to Recognize Employee

Designate a VIP parking spot close to the office front door for the sole use of each month’s winner. Put up a sign with their name on it so everyone knows it’s reserved for the current MVP employee.

Monthly Award Newsletter Profile to Motivate and show Company Culture

In the company newsletter, include a dedicated section that profiles each month’s top performer with a write-up detailing their efforts and successes in support of company goals.

Employee of the Month

Employee Of The Month Gift Ideas

Showing your employees that you appreciate their hard work and dedication with a gift is a great way to boost morale. Your employee of the month rewards act as both an incentive to be productive and a recognition for that hard work. And you don’t have to keep it too “corporate” either.

Your employees will appreciate you having fun with the awards, which’ll help keep them engaged (without all of the crazy zoom filters). Consider implementing funny award names for employee recognition – such as “Mission Impossible” for that employee who always manages to accomplish the impossible. Or “The Forever Optimist” for that employee that always brings a positive attitude and can handle a solution for any problem. 

How do you incorporate these fun employee awards into a tangible reward that employees want to obtain? An employee of the month gift will do the trick!

Here are 5 employees of the month gifts and reward ideas to inspire you: 

Personalized Swag Kit

Who doesn’t love swag? Gift your employee of the month some specially curated swag! You can add your company name to the swag – or personalize it even further with the employee of the month reward name.

Self-Care Gift Set for Peer Recognition

Your employee of the month works hard. Let them know you see that they deserve relaxation with a self-care gift set. Maybe throw in an extra PTO day, too, so they can use it!

Cookie Cake for Staff Member

Since you can’t throw an office party for your remote employee of the month, send them a gourmet cake! Feel free to personalize it with their funny employee award name!

Work From Home Gift Box for Virtual Employee of the Month

Reward your hard workers with a fun-filled gift box of work-from-home essentials! This box is full of goodies that’ll brighten their remote work days (and boost their productivity, score!). And you can personalize the box any way you want to match up with their employee reward.

Happy Hour Kit for Employee Appreciation Day

Since you can’t invite your remote employee of the month to a happy hour, send your employee a DIY Happy Hour Kit. This tropical cocktail kit will surely be a hit (especially for Kevin with the tropical Zoom background). Just ensure your college intern doesn’t end up with this gift!

Also read: National Make a Gift day

Benefits Of Rewarding Employees

person in front of laptop in office - employee of the month ideas

The benefits of rewarding employees should be enough to encourage every HR leader to implement an employee of the month program with rewards. 

Enhanced Productivity

For starters, CNBC notes that recognition is one of the most effective ways to decrease employee turnover. Hardworking employees are much less likely to feel burned out when they get recognition for their work.  

Boost Employee Creativity

Forbes mentions that an employee of the month program boost’s employee’s creativity on the job, commitment to the company, and desire to stay with the company.

Improves Morale

The New York Times agrees that an employee rewards program, such as Employee of the Month, can help reduce turnover within a company and boost morale. 

All these benefits can lead us to conclude that there is a negative impact when you don’t reward employees. Employees feeling underappreciated can lead to burnout and a higher turnover rate. 

So be sure to show your hardworking employees that you value them. Rewarding the employees who are always productive and their A-game will help set a good example for the team to follow in their footsteps. And before you know it, the rest of the employees will begin to see that the employee of the month employees aren’t using crazy Zoom filters!

zoom call with video on - employee of the month ideas

Strengthen Team Bonding

The bottom line is that an employee of the month program with rewards works! Once HR implemented this program at our company, people slowly started being themselves to get the coveted rewards. Productivity and employee morale went up. Work slowly went back to normal . . . well, except for Patricia, who remained a potato.

Boost Morale Company-Wide Through Our Unique Employee Recognition Program: SwagMagic

Does your company want to boost employee morale and recognize your star employees who increase productivity? Our unique employee of the month ideas will help motivate your company to go above and beyond.

From thoughtful gifts to public recognition, our creative award ideas spotlight your top performers each month. This proven program inspires friendly competition and incentivizes employees to excel.

Don’t wait – contact us today to brainstorm how monthly awards can positively impact your culture and bottom line. We’ll help you choose meaningful prizes tailored to what makes your employees feel truly appreciated. Let’s celebrate achievement together!

Motivate Your Team with an Employee of the Month Program

An employee recognition program that highlights a monthly MVP is a proven way to boost morale across an entire company. Publicly celebrating star employees who go above and beyond incentivizes others to up their game.

With thoughtful prize ideas and ways to creatively spotlight your brand’s top talent each month, our employee award program will soon have everyone aiming higher. Don’t leave appreciation and productivity to chance – contact us and let’s get started creating cheer and positive competition on your team!

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