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Employee Recognition that Feels Like Winning an Oscar

Culture | Posted on February 22, 2013 by Nicole Bernard

The hype of Hollywood Awards season may have passed, but making your employees feel like they’re at the Academy Awards can happen all year long!

Every year, Hollywood stars celebrate their achievements from the previous year while we watch in awe.  But beyond the glitz, glamour, fashion and box office revenues, why have these awards become so popular?

I believe it comes down to two very simple things: pride and respect. And it’s not just the entertainment industry –  even within the finance, technology or any other industry – recognition by peers is an honour for many.  The same applies in the workplace. In fact, employee recognition is a great approach to help motivate your people and retain your hardworking talent! And it doesn’t mean recognizing with extravagant rewards like trips and money.  While they’re always a nice bonus, it’s the respect gained through peer recognition that can add to an employee’s love of their workplace and motivate them to make an even bigger impact.

Organizations are realizing this, including those below, which are helping drive engagement through innovative, culture-based forms of recognition:

Summit Consulting Group Inc.: Gives an annual trophy for “the best idea that didn’t work”, which motivates employees to take risks and minimizes the fear of failure.

ITM Group Inc.: Their entire staff gets together to give a standing ovation to individuals who have accomplished something truly worthwhile!

WinterWyman: This company publicly nominates administrative and non-managerial staff for their quarterly “Clutch” award, which recognizes employees who have gone above and beyond to support their departments.

Softchoice also realizes the importance of instilling pride and sense of fulfillment through employee recognition. At our annual, company-wide conference, we present high-profile awards to employees who exemplify the values of our organization. This includes Leadership Awards gievn to six to eight employees who demonstrate our core values and exemplify Leadership qualities – all nominated by Managers or Peers and selected by our Senior Leadership Team.

We also present two of our most prestigious Sales awards: the Tie-Jacket and the White Fedora. The Tie-Jacket award (yes, it is a jacket made entirely out of ties) is specific to Outbound Sales employees, while the White Fedora award (literally a hat) is given to an Inside Sales Account Manager. Both awards are presented in front of the entire organization to employees who have demonstrated leadership by representing the values and culture of the organization. There is no cash, no fancy trips. Just two articles of clothing that have been elevated through tradition to become coveted emblems representing the best of the best at Softchoice.

Additionally, we present a special award to our Keystone Managed Services team called the Starfish award. This is the highest honour bestowed within Managed Services, to an employee who has shown they’re a core component of the overall customer experience – similar to how a Starfish is an essential species within the ecosystem in which it resides! Recipients are those who have consistently gone above and beyond for our customers, and have exuded a positive attitude during the most challenging situations.


And the winner is…

These awards are about pride and basking in the recognition of the entire company. This year’s award winners shared their thoughts on how it felt to win.

Tim Livas

Tim Livas

Timothy Livas, Manager of Telesales, Tie-Jacket Award recipient:

“If you win the Tie-Jacket award, you become an instant celebrity within Softchoice! It’s completely humbling. Its awards like this one that makes me so proud to work here. Working for a company that recognizes hard work and leadership in such a cool way is worth a ton to me!”

white fedora

Jacquie Tucker

Jacquie Tucker, ISAM Corporate, White Fedora Award Winner: “When I received the [White Fedora] award, it was an overwhelming experience. I was in total shock and was literally at a loss for words. When a company recognizes its employees for their efforts, they will always respond in a positive manner because they know that what they’ve accomplished is valued!”

Mike Waters, Technical Analyst, Starfish Award recipient:

“’Appreciated’, ‘respected’, ‘highly-valued’; these are just some of the words that describe how I felt when I received the award. It really made me feel like I was an essential member of the Keystone Technical Support Centre!”

Tuan Dang, Service Consultant, Starfish Award recipient:

“When they first called my name, I doubted I heard right. It took my co-workers pushing me towards the stage for me to realize it really was my name I heard! They told me I received the award because I always have a smile on my face and I go above and beyond to help our customers – this really made me feel like a valued member of the team!”

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