Employee awards are one way companies show appreciation for their staff members. While the award or recognition is important in itself, how it is presented to the employee can equally or more meaningful. Whether you choose to present the award in private or at a formal award presentation ceremony, it'll motivate the employee to continue to contribute in even more significant ways to the success of the organization.

Individual Award Presentation

An employer in a smaller company may prefer to acknowledge productive employees individually and in private if the organization has multiple locations or if the employee reports directly to one manager. It also works best with employees who are very shy. In this case, a special cash bonus, gift card or certificate to a local establishment is an easy way to acknowledge hard work. Other ideas include gift certificates for trips, golf and other outings, as well as for salon services, massages and spa treatments.

Office Parties

An office party to acknowledge hardworking employees with awards can do much to raise the morale of employees. Award certificates can be created easily with computer software to acknowledge achievements such as the highest sales figures for the month.

Provide inexpensive refreshments such as a cake and beverages or host an informal luncheon at a local restaurant. For a relaxed happy hour atmosphere, consider giving out the awards in the evening at a local bar. While presenting the award, you could highlight the employee's job title, work duties, hire date as well as specific contributions to the department or work-related anecdotes.

Formal Events

If budget allows, public recognition at a formal company event provides the maximum impact for both the employee being recognized and his coworkers. Consider hiring an event planning specialist. Schedule the event at a time where you'll get maximum participation, such as during work hours, lunch breaks or shortly after close of business. Holding the event outside the office will make the employees honored feel even more special. Plan for speakers for the event, including co-workers and vendors who work closely with the employee being honored. Entertainment, such as a DJ or comedian can make the awards presentation even more festive. Humor is a great device that can diffuse any tenseness or embarrassment, as some people are very shy and do not like having attention drawn to themselves. To make the event even more meaningful for the honored employees, invite members of their immediate family.

Employee Retreats

Some firms schedule annual retreats to show their appreciation for employees. Retreats can serve the dual purpose of a vacation and office party. Many hotels offer event planning services and can take care of all the details, including arranging for an award ceremony during the retreat.