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How to Start an Employee of the Month Program

Need ideas for a successful employee of the month program? Try these tips for employee selection criteria, nomination guidelines & award ideas.

Do you remember receiving Student of the Month — or beaming when your child or children were recognized for their ability to thrive in school? Distinguishing top performers in the workplace is just as crucial and results in increased engagement and improved productivity. Receiving that recognition is a confidence booster. It acknowledges your employees’ commitment to exceed standards and overcome challenges.

Big, once-a-year staff recognition and annual bonuses are fine — but studies show that smaller, more frequent awards can provide a better impact on morale and employee motivation. Here’s how to narrow down your next pick for the coveted title of Employee of the Month.

Recognize Who?

Obviously, your top performers should be recognized, but it’s not just a quantitative exercise. It should also be a qualitative one. Yes, the leading salesperson may bring in the highest amount of revenue and should be honored, but the work of your technical, creative, marketing and administrative staff is also critical to your company’s success.

Recognize What?

In addition to financial success, other important factors include attitude, communication, leadership and team spirit. With an Employee of the Month program, you can recognize a wider array of these contributors.

You also can reward qualities based on your company’s stated values and mission. Honor the employees whose actions fulfill your mission, which will reinforce its importance.

Recognize How?

Selections should come from all levels — employees and managers. By doing so, you avoid accusations of favoritism and also prevent the nominating process from becoming a popularity contest.

Recognize When?

“Employee of the Month” programs create a regular expectation of recognition — and some healthy competition. Also, a monthly honor “feels” right. It’s not too often, but it’s still frequent enough to be mindful of.

And recognition programs needn’t be expensive. Award certificates, plaques, pens and pins are cost-effective options. Accompanied by high-profile announcements, email, intranet postings and even small ceremonies at a company event, they can have a big impact.

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