Awards and recognition products lift spirits for both the giver and the recipient. Knowing what goes in to buying these morale-building products allows you to get the best merchandise for your specific situation. Promo Marketing spoke to some of the industry's top suppliers in the industry to find out everything you'll need to know about awards and recognition products.
Importance of Rewarding
Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace Report found that 70 percent of American workers are not engaged in their work or organization, but recognizing their hard work is one way to make them feel appreciated and encourage them to get more involved.
"The list of reasons why it is important for employers to recognize their employees could go on and on and on," said Bridget Dahlgren, marketing manager for St. Paul, Minnesota-based Crystal D. "Higher revenues, reduced turnover and higher productivity are all items pertinent to the success of an organization."
Dahlgren explained that happy employees often lead to improvements to things like service as well.
"Without a memorable customer experience, an organization would not retain customers," she said. "Engaged employees help create the customer experience an organization needs to thrive in the competitive landscape we live in today."
There are different strategies for motivating employees to keep a business running smoothly. Margit Fawbush, communications manager for BIC Graphic in Clearwater, Fla., stressed the effect awards have on long-term motivation.
"There is a difference between short-term motivation and recognition," said Fawbush. "Gift cards, team luncheons, cash and travel motivate for short-term goals. Tangible rewards that are kept, and therefore remembered, are tied to psychological well-being."
Awards are one option to encourage workers to keep up the hard work, but recognition gifts are another acceptable route. Kellie Claudio, vice president of sales for City of Industry, California-based Sweda Company LLC, said pairing a gift with acknowledgement is a great way to reward employees' dedication.
"Acknowledgement is always the first recognition that an employer should exercise, but adding a beautiful gift accentuates the positive reinforcement of great performance for sales delivery, safety, tenure or other service," Claudio said.
What To Look For
With so many awards and recognition products out there, it's possible not to know where to start or what to look for. When shopping around for awards, Fawbush stressed paying attention to shapes and artistic designs, as well as handcrafted qualities and decoration methods.
"Both the imprint and the award's inherent design impress recipients," she said.
Dahlgren agreed that the look of an award is important, specifically the little features.
"The attention to the small details can separate a good award from a stunning masterpiece," she noted.
She also recommended presenting the award in a memorable way.
"If an award is shipped to a recipient's home with no mention from their manager or organization for a job well done, it is money wasted," she explained. "The presentation of the award is what creates the lasting memory and a return on the investment."
For recognition and incentive items, Claudio suggested considering how useful a gift is before giving it.
"A great gift stands out when the recipient uses it in their daily lives, where the impression is in constant sight loud, front and center," she said.
Awards or recognition gifts are often given to reward success or maybe even for winning a contest. Dahlgren explained that these products can be used in other ways as well.
"Awards can be used as vendor and dealer gifts," said Dahlgren. "Very frequently, these gifts are showcased in lobbies and front desks where customers and employees can admire their beauty, and let's not forget, the company logo too."
Dahlgren provided an example of when a Crystal D award was used for external branding.
"A perfect example is a customer of ours used one of our crystal clocks for an event that's theme was about on-time delivery," she explained. "Also, our crystal USBs and keychains can be used for external branding efforts, such as a new purchase of a high-end automobile, like a McLaren."
Fawbush offered a final tip for employers considering awards and recognition products.
"Employers shouldn't rely on annual recognition events, but rather be spontaneous and generous in recognizing performance and ingenuity in day-to-day business."