Recognition Programs PART 1

There are a variety of recognition programs. I will address the main ones in this article, Part 1.

 First are Award Programs. Award programs recognize achievement for reaching a specified predetermined goal. Second are Reward Programs. Reward programs are geared towards motivating participants towards a specific goal. Third are Branding Programs. Branding Programs are designed to increase company awareness to a specific business segment. Fourth are Longevity Programs. Longevity Programs are really Thank You Programs. They recognize an employee’s length of service with a company. There are other programs but these are the mainstay of the awards business.

Let’s take a quick look at each type of Recognition Program.

AWARD PROGRAMS – recognize achievement in Sales and Safety.

Sales Award Programs are generally for a month, quarter and year. Predetermined goals must be met to qualify for the award. Products include corporate jewelry, fashion jewelry, walnut plaques, crystal trophies, gifts, luggage, and trips. Achievement levels have different award recognition culminating in the highest level which could include the Chairman’s Circle and ultimately Sales Person of the Year.

Safety Award Programs tend to be for longer periods of time for individual achievement. A good example is for safe driving. It may take reaching 1 million miles of safe driving to qualify for the award. Other programs require being a safe driver for 5 years, ten years, etc. Interim years might award pins and plaques, where the 5 year increment awards include rings and watches.

Safety Award Programs for manufacturing firms use a different type of program to recognize safety achievement. If the entire department is safe for a predetermined time, everyone gets the same award. This can be an embroidered company jacket, expensive cooler, or an electronic device. A variation of this program is the use of “points”. Participants can use their points to select a gift from multiple value gift catalogues.


A good example of a Reward Program is a Sales Incentive Sprint Program. Companies use monthly and quarterly sprint programs to boost sales in the short term. Typical rewards are cash, trips, diamond jewelry, and catalogue gift selections.


These are all about identity and increasing brand awareness. Items are given to employees, clients and prospects to increase brand awareness. It works. Just see how much merchandise includes logos for Coke and Pepsi. These programs are strictly budget driven and range from pens to expensive embroidered leather jackets. Employees out in the public, making client calls, working trade shows, etc. might wear corporate apparel and company name badges.


Usually labeled as Service Award Programs, these programs recognize employee length of service. The increments are usually five years through retirement. Some will start at 3 years. Small companies might use a pin program to recognize longevity. Pins get progressively more expensive by varying jewels, diamonds and gold. Larger companies have augmented pins with gift selection programs. Many use their own custom catalogue and may also have a website for ordering. Some companies even have gifts drop shipped to homes, although this takes away from the personal side of “Thank You”. Longevity programs are administered by human resource departments. They also manage other achievement programs like employee of the month/quarter/year.

Ginny Ryan

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