How to Set Up an Employee of the Month Program

How to Set Up an Employee of the Month Program

Recognizing hard work and achievement in the workplace helps boost morale and engage and motivate members of your staff. With improved morale and high levels of motivation, productivity and employee retention rates can also be raised, ultimately improving a business’s bottom line. In fact, research shows the primary reason workers in the U.S. leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated.

Employee of the Month programs are a common way for managers and human resource teams to recognize diligence and hard work in the workforce. If you’re a business owner looking to establish an employee recognition program, take a look at the following steps to setting up Employee of the Month efficiently and effectively.

Setting Up an Employee of the Month Program

Establish Your Goals for Setting Up the Program

Before you set up an Employee of the Month program, discuss the aims and goals with management and team members. One goal might be to increase sales via an incentive program or to create healthy competition within departments. Laying out objectives for the initiative will help map out the parameters for the reward program more clearly.

Set Out the Rules and Parameters

Once you’ve got the aims and objectives clearly mapped out, it’s time to set out the rules and parameters of the program. For example, do part-time employees have the same rights to the award as full-time workers? Can new employees be eligible for the award immediately, or do they need to have been working for the business for a specified period? Is it possible for the same worker to be awarded Employee of the Month more than once? Can the managers and other team member involved in the selection process win the title themselves?

Setting up the rules from day one will ensure everyone knows where they stand when working towards being Employee of the Month.

Decide the Rewards

What rewards would be most appreciated amongst your employees? Cash prizes are often the most desirable but an employee reward program does not have to be confined to monetary compensation. Other lucrative incentives might include free company parking for a month, a day off, a spa day or a trophy with the employee’s name engraved on it.

Having a different reward each month and hyping up the announcement of the reward at the beginning of the month can be a good way to create interest and build up excitement around the program.

Decide How the Employee Will be Selected

How will you choose who is awarded Employee of the Month? Will it b based on the number of sales employees make? Or perhaps the title will go to the team member who has shown great customer service skills, innovation, creativity or commendable team spirit?

You may want to introduce an employee recognition nomination form. Employees could select which fellow team mates they think are worthy of the award each month and fill out an employee recognition nomination form that identifies which employee they believe should be recognized for their achievements and why.

Each month a ‘panel’ of judges could go through the forms and decide who they think should be given the award.

Generic employee recognition nomination forms can be downloaded. However, you may want to customize the forms so they are tailored to the individual aims and terms of your Employee of the Month program.

Inform Employees About the Program

Employees should be kept in the loop about the program so they can work towards being awarded Employee of the Month. Whether it’s having a team meeting about the program, writing a blog about it on the company website or announcing it in the staff newsletter, be sure to inform staff members about what the program involves, what its aims are and how they can go about winning the recognition.

Publicize the Winner

Making a big deal of the incentive program by announcing which employee has won the award each month will help generate interest around the honor and ultimately make it more effective. For example, the Employee of the Month could be announced on the company blog, in the staff newsletter or on the business’s social media channels — or why not on all three?

Raising the profile of the award will help make it more effective. After all, an Employee of the Month award program is designed to recognize and publicize the achievements of diligent and hardworking staff members, so such programs and their winners should ideally be heavily promoted.

Has your business had success motivating staff, raising morale and generally heightening productivity with an Employee of the Month program? Share your experiences with implementing staff recognition programs in the comments section below.

Employee of the Month Photo via Shutterstock


Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".

10 Reactions
  1. Is it necessary to set up some rewards aside from the mere title? I think it would motivate employees more.

  2. Christopher Glans

    Not only should the winner be announced, but also the runners up. Anyone who was submitted for an Employee of the Month Award, did something that, in the eyes of the nominating individual, was worthy of recognition. To not recognize those individuals, whether or not they knew they had been recommended, would be a missed opportunity to demonstrate that they are valued members of the organization. It is important to recognize all the nominees. It will, not only give the nominee a feeling of being appreciated, even if they didn’t “win”, but will also increase the credibility of the program. If people know the nominees will be recognized, they will be more likely to submit recommendations and the entire Employee of the Month program and resulting employee recognition will be a more inclusive and transparent.

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