Trophy lives

Choosing the most appropriate staff awards can really inspire, reward and motivate your workforce.

Over 300 Olympic champions took first, second and third places in their particular disciplines during London 2012, gaining or retaining the status of being the best at what they do.
Of course, the athletes were competing for the real symbol of success – gold, silver or bronze medals. So does the pride Olympians gain from their medals offer inspiration to companies as they look for the best ways to motivate and award staff?

Best Western Hotels clearly think so, as they have followed the gold, silver and bronze theme in commissioning specialist Coventry Silvercraft to produce a series of high-quality plaques to be displayed at hotels that had been members of the group for more than 20 years.

A royal opening of the Central Manchester University Hospital also saw the services of Coventry Silvercraft called upon. The hospital wanted to inspire more than 12,000 NHS staff by providing each of them with a special commemorative badge to mark the occasion.

“Our staff were delighted with the badges, many of them wearing them into work the next day and it clearly boosted morale,” says Sue Allison, director of corporate services, Central Manchester University Hospital.

But all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold, silver or bronze as, according to some industry experts, one of the emerging materials used in award design is actually crystal.

“Crystal has an enduring appeal and is always associated with premium quality,” explains Paul Bonning, from bespoke award specialists Purple Zebra. “There have been recent advances in technology, which mean we can incorporate colour and now produce many prestigious awards utilising these techniques.”

Whether a medal, bronze plaque or crystal trophy, clearly there are many options for any employer looking to truly incentivise staff, and as the Olympics showed, the challenge of ‘going for gold’ and then having a prize to proudly display to all-comers can be far more motivational than a title can be, no matter how grand.

Getting awards right

Providing a desirable trophy or award is important, but as Kevin Harrington, managing director of Global Prepaid Exchange explains, to really motivate staff you must also plan the competition or incentive scheme it rewards right as well:

“Fair play; that must be how all reward and recognition programmes must be seen. For most businesses payroll is one of the biggest budget lines. Staff make a fundamental difference to the performance of the business on a daily basis, which is why we should recognise success and reward talent. Well-run reward programmes focus performance and accelerate good behaviours and performance.

“So let’s get it right! Poorly managed, badly themed programmes with inappropriate rewards will damage your business and deliver a negative result.

“The basic recipe for success is to first understand your business objective, then create a challenge for your staff that they in turn understand, ensuring it is achievable. Next this needs to be communicated well and a platform/process for administration needs to be set up. The last major component is the reward itself. Make sure you get it right or you will undo all the good you have achieved. For many managers, the best solution ends up being one where choice is delivered to the employee; choice of reward, choice of timing, choice of brands etc.

“All of these stages can be delivered in house but often that is a false economy. Consider using up to 30% of your budget buying in the services of reward platforms and specialists. This can often make the 70% used for rewards work harder than your total budget. And in all your briefing ensure that fair play is centre stage.”

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