The lights began to flicker signaling the 10 minute mark. Friends and coworkers trailed down the aisles of the historic Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 17th. GreatAmerica was celebrating its 25th Anniversary at its Annual Employee Awards Ceremony. Throughout the months prior, Leadership worked tirelessly to put together an entertaining event to recognize high achieving GreatAmericans while providing some humor and humility from senior officers in our company.
(Tony Golobic, Chairman and CEO, presents during the 25th Annual Awards Ceremony.)
You may be wondering why GreatAmerica would go to these lengths to recognize its employees? As a first year attendee of the awards ceremony, I left re-engaged, re-energized, and ready to work harder than ever.
Awards ceremonies, or any type of employee recognition, are an opportunity for you to reinforce your company culture and reinvigorate your staff. Employees at any company appreciate recognition for their hard work, and can be inspired to earn recognition in the future. At GreatAmerica, we may hold an awards ceremony, but there are so many different ways to inspire your team.
Offer employee spotlights in company meetings
Take high performers out to lunch
Find key behaviors of each role you’d like to encourage, and create awards to highlight those attributes
Create peer-nominated awards to allow for employee driven recognition
(Doug Olson,Vice Chairman of the Board Corporate Leadership, offers a hug to Sue Homsey as she was recognized for her 20 years of service to GreatAmerica.)
The awards that hold the most weight in my opinion are the peer-recognized awards. Your employees want to know you think they’re doing well, but they really want to know what their peers think of them.
At GreatAmerica, we have the Outstanding Achiever award and each year 10-15 people are peer nominated and selected by a committee of the previous year's winners. It’s the biggest award of the night and it’s the award every GreatAmerica employee aspires to receive.
(GreatAmerica Oustanding Achievers 2017.)
Since it was my first awards ceremony, I was shocked by how much the event was able to shift the mood at GreatAmerica. In the days prior to the event, employees were full of excitement, ready to hear who would win the coveted awards. But it was the atmosphere this past week that really opened my eyes. People were working harder and congratulations rang through the office to those who won. Everyone, whether they won an award or not, was feeling a little more proud to work at GreatAmerica and honored to serve our customers.
Though we were recognizing our own successes, there was an underlying theme at our awards ceremony: customers make our success. As we celebrated 25 years in business at the event, it became clear that we would not be in a position to celebrate without the longstanding, loyal customer relationships that have driven us forward.
Keep your customers in mind, but also remember your employees want to be recognized. It will only reinforce the culture you’re building and re-inspire your employees to work harder every day and provide the best customer experience. How are you inspiring and rewarding your employees?
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