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This Award Season, Honor Your Employees for a Great Year
  • 10 January 2018
  • Eric Michaels

This Award Season, Honor Your Employees for a Great Year

During the entertainment industry's award season, the Academy and other organizations roll out the red carpet to honor the best in the business. Many of these awards ceremonies are broadcast all over the world, with millions of viewers tuning in to celebrate the achievements of winning actors, writers, singers, directors, technicians, and more – in real time.

While this type of pageantry is over the top for most businesses, it is fun to celebrate the hard work and achievements of your employees, especially if your small business is lean and nimble. Whether or not you had a holiday party, consider taking time to honor your employees for a job well done. A small investment can be repaid in full over the coming year. Employee appreciation plays a major role in your retention and recruitment efforts.


Here are some tips on how to put on your own small business award show.

1. Get the right space

Whether you decide to go all out on an elaborate event or keep it small and intimate, you’ll want to lock down a location for your employee appreciation event. Try to host the event outside of your normal business location, if your budget allows you to do so. A private room at a local restaurant or a small event space can work great. By going the extra mile here, your staff will feel appreciated and valued.

If possible, try to find a location that gives you access to a microphone so that you can give a short presentation. Want to add a little pageantry to the night? Consider sending invitations and suggesting a dress code for the affair.

2. Create a roster of awards

In order to have an awards night, you need to hand out actual awards. By recognizing your all-star team and handing out awards for achievements in service, sales, philanthropy, high performance, etc., you can have some fun and help build inclusion, friendly competition, and value among the team. If you want to avoid leaving anyone out, you can get creative and come up with fun award names like Rookie of the Year or Social Media Master, so that you get the chance to highlight the strengths of each and every employee with some type of award. The award itself does not have to be something Oscar-worthy, but make sure it can be shown off with pride.

3. Give people what they really want

While a small trophy or plaque might be nice, consider giving out something of real (i.e., monetary) value to employees. Maybe this event is the time to give out your annual bonuses, or perhaps you can provide add-ons depending on a person's role in the company. For example, an extra paid vacation day would be a handsome reward for a top employee's service. Whatever you decide, scale the award to reflect the team member's contributions.

4. Invite clients and partners, too

Over the course of doing business with different clients and partners, your employees may form valuable professional friendships. Since these individuals shared in your company's success, consider inviting them to your event, as well. You could even give out a Client of the Year award. Whether or not your clients actually make an appearance at your event, the gesture of inviting them will be much appreciated (and do wonders for your professional relationship).

5. Announce what is next

Even within a stable company, there can be moments when finances get tight and employees start to worry about their job stability. Take this event as an opportunity to reassure your team of the health of your business. Announce any exciting plans you have for new business ventures and projects so that your employees feel secure when considering their future with you.

6. Conclude with a real party

People have a lot of things on their minds during the holidays. Whether they are wondering about gift-giving or meeting in-laws at the airport, those weeks can be stressful. Make sure your award ceremony comes when the heat is off for everyone (i.e., in the late winter months), and end the night off with some fun festivities. Hopefully, your employees can kick back and really enjoy themselves. Bonding moments like these can make your team dynamic even stronger.

Consider taking the time to honor your employees at your own awards night. As a business owner, when you help your employees find meaning in the work they do, and when they feel valued and appreciated, your business and your customers can reap the rewards.

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