Small Business Tax Center
Small Business Ideas, Grants &
Plans to Start & Run a Business:

Small Business Grants
Network in Cyberschmooz Community Ask Questions Questions and Answers Share Tips Small Business Ideas List Your Business Business Advice from Idea Cafe Experts Coffee Talk with Experts Starting A Business Business Plan Biz Planning | Sample Plans Small Business Ideas Idea Name Your Biz Name Plan Your Biz Plan Financing $ Starting a Business Do It! Running your Business Marketing Tips Promotional Merchandise Marketing Tips Marketing | Sales | Customers Human Resources HR | Employees | Contractors Legal Forms & Tax Information Legal | Biz Forms Managing a Business Managing | Operations
Financing Resources Financing Your Business E Commerce & Webhosting eCommerce Take Out Info Trade Publications FREE Trade Publications Business Books Biz Books Your Own Business Small Business News Small Biz News Gen X Biz Gen X Biz Work at Home Work @ Home Business Information The Fridge - Biz Info on Ice Destress Send Awards Send Awards & Greetings Yoga At Your Desk Yoga @ Your Desk Fun Guide Guide to Find FUN Online About Idea Cafe Press Idea Cafe has received Idea Cafe in the News Idea Cafe's Kudos Kudos for Idea Cafe Advertise on Idea Cafe Advertise on Idea Cafe Privacy Policy Privacy Policy Contact Idea Cafe Contact Idea Cafe Link to Idea Cafe Link to/from Idea Cafe Join Idea Cafe
Search Idea Cafe Site Directory Site Map Online directory to business resources Biz Web Guide

Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

color business bar

How to Design an Employee-Of-The-Month Program That Works


Running a business takes hard work, time, commitment, and financial resources. Most entrepreneurs have to handle all sorts of tasks across various areas, including marketing, sales, administration, design, finance, and human resources.

Long-term, though, you’ll really only be able to achieve all your big dreams and goals by surrounding yourself with the right people and getting assistance from others. To build your business, you’re going to have to hire talented employees and find ways to keep them engaged, happy, and productive.

One way to do this is through an employee-of-the-month program that recognizes team members and shows them how valued they are. Here are tips for designing an effective offering.

Know Your Goals

Before you begin designing your Employee-of-the-Month program, stop and work out exactly what it is you want to achieve. By understanding your goals upfront (and making sure anyone working on the program knows them, too), you’ll better see how to proceed at each step along the way.

For most businesses, the idea of this program is to boost employee morale. However, you may have other agendas, too. For example, do you want to create some healthy competition between teams or departments, or otherwise increase productivity?

Perhaps you’re looking to see a rise in sales via incentive programs that you use as the basis for selecting program recipients, or you might be keen to spend less money on team-building activities that don’t seem to be producing results. There’s no right or wrong here, but it is crucial to know your focus area(s) so you can design the Employee-of-the-Month program to suit your needs.

Create Structure

Programs that work well always have plenty of structure, too. It’s helpful to set guidelines for how the program will run, with clear rules and other parameters. Everyone in the business needs to understand how the recipient of each month’s award is chosen. These criteria should be consistent, so people don’t feel like anyone is playing favorites.

Be specific with the details of the program. For example, steer clear of subjective guidelines such as “best team player” or “most helpful colleague” that could be decided in multiple ways. Instead, put in place easy-to-understand parameters that aren’t likely to be disputed, whether you have the same criteria every month or mix it up throughout the year.

Be careful about making programs peer-voted, too, as sometimes these can turn into popularity contests and make employees feel worse. It’s also critical to set guidelines that work for everyone equally. Don’t favor certain people or groups over others. For example, ensure new employees, remote staff members, and those who don’t work full time have a chance to be awarded the winner of a month’s award as much as anyone else.

Choose Quality Awards and Rewards

You don’t want to go to all the effort of creating an Employee-of-the-Month program only to let yourself down with awards and rewards that don’t live up to employee expectations. Think carefully about what you will hand out to chosen workers who receive the commendation. Avoid cheap and nasty trophies, plaques, or certificates that look badly-designed and make people feel like you don’t care much after all.

Always opt for quality gifts such as engraved pens, sophisticated glass awards, or a nice-looking plaque that gets hung up on the office wall. Alternatively, reward people with hampers, nice bottles of wine, accommodation or restaurant vouchers, gift cards, and so on. Another option is to go down the fun route, where you create an award that people can laugh about, such as one shaped like a shoe for a footwear company or shaped like a football for a sporting-related business.

Be as creative as you like but no matter what you opt for, choose something that people will feel proud of winning. Consider, too, choosing personalized gifts for each recipient of the award that you think they’ll like. When you show you understand a person’s likes, hobbies, family life, etc., this shows you’re paying attention and value employees as individuals.  

Once you have your program all designed and set up, be sure to communicate widely about it, so all your staff members know it exists and how it works. Then, refine the system over time as you get feedback to ensure it only gets better and more effective as the months go by.

Many owners and managers have had great results from these programs over the years. Now might be the perfect time to incorporate it into your company, too.


Small Business Tax CenterIdea Cafe HomeSign UpBiz Grant CenterCyberSchmoozCoffee Talk with ExpertsPeople in Biz ProfilesStarting Your BizBiz PlanningRunning Your BizFREE Trade PublicationsMarketingFinancing Your BizHuman ResourcesLegal & Biz FormsManaging Your BizeCommerceYou and Your BizGen XWork@HomeThe FridgeDe-StressSend an AwardSend an eGreetingYoga @ Your DeskWeb GuideIdea Cafe in the NewsAbout Idea CafeAdvertise on Idea CafeContact UsPrivacy PolicySite MapSmall Biz News

Copyright 1995-2024, Idea Cafe Inc. Downloads are for personal use only, not for resale to others, and may not be reprinted in any form without written permission from Idea Cafe Inc.

DISCLAIMER: We hope whatever you find on this site is helpful, but be cautioned that it may not apply to your own situation, or be totally current at any given time. Idea Cafe Inc. and all of its current and past experts, sponsors, advertisers, agents, contractors and advisors disclaim all warranties with regard to anything found anywhere on this family of websites, quoted from, or sent from Idea Cafe. and its related sites, publications and companies. We also take no responsibility for comments published by others on these pages.

TRADEMARKS: The following are Registered Trademarks or Servicemarks of DevStart, Inc.: Idea Cafe®, Online Coffee Break®, The Small Business Gathering Place®, Take out Info®, Biz Bar & Grill®, Complaint-O-Meter®, A Fun Approach to Serious Business™, CyberSchmooz™, and BizCafe™.