Use the Winner Effect to Your Advantage with Employee Awards

“Praise is the best diet for us, after all.”

So said Sydney Smith, an English wit and Anglican minister who lived 1771- 1845. The Rev. Smith knew what he was talking about; neuroscientists now tell us that whenever we win any kind of contest – such as hearing our name announced at an awards ceremony – it triggers a physical reaction known as the “winner effect,” releasing hormones that give us a rush of good feeling. And what’s more, every time this happens it changes our brains a little, preparing us better to succeed again in the future; it puts a winner “on a roll,” so to speak.

That certainly sounds like an effect any company would want to activate in its best employees. And it’s so easy to do, with awards that recognize outstanding performance. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to personalized and engraved awards. Each company has its own budget and protocol when it comes to corporate gifts, but it’s also important to remember that employees need to be acknowledged. Each employee is unique and should be incentivized in different ways to sustain the so-called “winner effect.” If you’re fostering a worker who you think is a “winner,” it would be foolish to come knocking out of the gates with luxurious corporate gifts. You have to build up to those premium gifts. The best place to start when it comes to nurturing a winner is with the most basic of gifts: personalized trophies and awards that don’t break your company’s budget.

A Trophy is More Than Just an Object

Common sense tells us that a physical plaque, trophy or award is valued more for what it represents – public kudos for a job well done – than for the object itself. During World War II, due to a shortage of metal, the Academy Award “Oscar” statuettes – normally solid bronze and plated in 24-karat gold – were made of painted plaster for three years. But we’re guessing that Jimmy Cagney was still thrilled to get his Oscar for Best Actor in 1942.

An award should, however, reflect the importance that the giver assigns to the winner’s accomplishments. A visually striking, elegant award or trophy, with a unique engraving, sends that message loud and clear. Giving thoughtful employee awards can inspire better workplace morale, generate word-of-mouth publicity and even boost productivity. Taking the time to find a unique and meaningful design for your awards is well worth the effort.

While some place value on trophies and awards, other employees might prefer practical corporate gifts that add to their work. It’s important to recognize what your employees might prefer. It’s possible that you’ll have hits and misses during the early days of gifting. After every gift, ask the recipient how it makes them feel, and what you, as a manger or executive, can do to make the gift-giving process more beneficial. While the gift or trophy itself is important, employees will remember the effort taken to find the right gift as opposed to the physical object itself. Creating an open dialogue surrounding corporate gifts is important, as it allows both parties to come to a mutual understanding.

Sustaining The Winner Effect

Ultimately, it’s easier said than done to come up with recognition award ideas. If we know that personalized trophies and awards can create a winner mindset, we should foster it on a regular basis. Constantly incentivizing employees invites them to work harder, which in turn leads to more profits for you. If you’re an executive, you should ask managers to consider implementing frequent gift-giving sessions. While luxury corporate gifts are a great way to boost employee morale, employers probably can’t afford Waterford crystal clocks and other premium gifts on a monthly basis. Instead, gift small but often. Recognition award ideas that can sustain the Winner Effect over time can include engraved pens or business card holders for desks.

These are small personalized gifts that not only add to workplace performance but they’re also completely one-of-a-kind in the eyes of the employee. While you may commission 50+ engraved pens for your staff, each will feature the name of one individual worker, making it extra special for them. To create consistency with the winner effect, build up a small but mighty arsenal of personalized corporate gifts and awards that you can add to over time. If your employee decides to move on from your organization, they’ll have all the tools they need to succeed during their next position.

Raise The Bar with The Winner Effect

There are no hard or fast rules when it comes to the winner effect. The best course of action is to always recognize employees with unique corporate gifts so they feel valued as workers. While smaller, but more frequent personalized gifts are a great option, the opposite is also true for larger-than-life luxurious corporate awards. Make note of how an employee’s mood and productivity fluctuate following gifts. What type of gift engages them the most?

If you’ve been guiding a worker for some time, you know from a practical standpoint that the same old gifts won’t cut it, especially if they’ve been promoted countless time. Making a big impression can be important if you manage high talent and competitive employees who enjoy (and expect) the best of the best. For these employees, the winner effect is directly associated with the societal and commercial value attached to the gift itself. For these employees, consider acrylic plaques, crystal trophies, or Waterford crystal clocks that they can proudly display in their office. While these awards don’t serve much practical purpose, value is attached to awards and plaques, and high-quality employees relish knowing that they own them. They feel proud holding the symbolic award, knowing that their colleagues are acknowledging their efforts. Large, status-based gifts will boost the winner effect, encouraging employees to be their best for a prolonged amount of time. Don’t be afraid to give luxury corporate gifts to new employees – it makes a great first impression which can pay dividends if they’re a keeper.

Simply put, employees love receiving personalized corporate gifts. It makes them feel special and incentivizes them to work harder, which in turn is beneficial to you. Employees who are engaged deserved to be awarded. If you’re struggling with recognition awards ideas, pore through our various buyer’s guides and products to find the best engraved trophies and awards that best suit your employee’s wants and needs.