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How Effective Are Awards in the Workplace?

When you have an employee that has performed consistently well, and in some cases maybe went above and beyond his own duties to help out the team, how do you reward them? The purpose of the reward is not only to show appreciation, but to also keep them and others motivated for the future.

There are many ways to show appreciation to employees, and businesses have been experimenting with all sorts of systems to find what’s most effective. One component of many employee appreciation systems is an award in the form of a plaque or trophy. These trophies can be customized from places like TustinAwards.com, and they may be effective in a couple of ways.

Speaking Their Language

Awards can be effective motivation so long as the award is speaking the same language as the recipient. A popular pop-psychology book claims that there are five basic love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Each person has their own language preference, and in order to feel appreciated they require that type of attention. This is usually applied to romantic relationships, but it also applies in work relationships. If an employee prefers words of  affirmation or receiving gifts, an award can be very effective motivation.

Social Motivation

How effective an award is also depends on how socially motivated an individual is. There are two types of motivation: intrinsic, which comes from inside, and extrinsic, which comes from external sources. Humans are very social creatures, so most individuals are at least partially motivated by external or social sources. An award is a public indication of greatness, and if an employee cares about how their peers view them, which most people do, the award will be worth giving.


Not everybody is going to be excited to receive an award, so awards should always be accompanied by other types of rewards. Ideally, at least for the employee, an award like “employee of the year” would come with a bonus or raise, but that’s not always possible. Even something little, like a sizeable gift card or a voucher for a weekend retreat, can make an award more desirable. So by bundling a custom trophy or plaque from TustinAwards.com and a little something extra, your employees will feel appreciated and motivated.

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