Four ways to showcase your personality through employee recognition

We all have our own unique and special personality, something that shows to others the ways we think, act, and behave. And when it comes to your company, the same is absolutely true, with each company having its own unique and special personality, or as more commonly described, its own company culture.

And in this competitive and challenging workplace, your personality and culture is exactly what you need to be showcasing to your existing and potential employees. It’s what helps to differentiate you from your competitors, helping you stand out to win in the war for talent.

But this can only happen if you weave and showcase your personality and culture into your people programs, doing so in how you treat them throughout the entire employee experience. An example of this is with your company’s employee recognition programs, bringing your personality out to play in how you appreciate your people over and over again.


To bring this concept to life, let me share with you four examples of how companies are doing this from my latest book, Appreciate it! The Playbook for Employee Recognition.


Life-size toy goat The first example is from Zappos, an online retailer who believe that anything worth doing is worth doing with WOW, which they define as “doing something a little unconventional and innovative that has an emotional impact on the receiver.” And when it comes to recognition, they’ve absolutely delivered wow in both the depth and breadth of their formal and informal recognition programs, going above and beyond to help their employees, or what they call “Zapponians,” feel appreciated.



An example is their GOAT Award, which stands for greatest of all time, and is an award that has been developed for the customer loyalty team. Leaders from this group each month nominate someone who has really gone above and beyond, and then together select the person who most deserves the award. The recipient receives a traditional reward of a gift card, but in addition, they bring out the WOW by also giving them a life-size toy goat to celebrate their achievements.




Spin of a recognition wheel The next example is from Ascentis, one of the U.K.'s leading educational charities, who are not only committed to creating life-changing experiences and opportunities for their customers, but also for their people. This definitely comes across in how they recognize their people, as employees don’t just receive recognition, but experience it in their own fun and unique way.


An example is what happens when employees receive three celebration tickets, which are what managers can give out to employees for going above and beyond. They don’t get a stuffy gift, but they get a spin on what they call their “winning wheel,” which is where they can win prizes such as a day of annual leave, a treat basket, a double lunch break, cakes served in one of their themed rooms or even a secret lucky bag. Another company who has a recognition wheel, or what they call their “Wheel of Wonders,” is Tony’s Chocoloney, a chocolate company based in the Netherlands. During the pandemic they adapted it to be the “QuaranTony Wheel”, that employees could spin after winning one of their many online quizzes or other virtual team activities taking place during lockdown. Some of the wheel prizes were a six-pack of Corona, toilet paper, a voucher for a visit to the hairdressers, a LEGO kit, a movie night kit, and a voucher for a meal cooked by their office chef.


Picture on an aircraft

The next example is from InterGlobe Aviation Limited (IndiGo), India’s largest passenger airline, where they do something unique to recognize the winner of the Employee of the Quarter award. Winners of this award receive a gift voucher along with a money can’t buy gift, which is to have a photograph of them displayed on one of their aircrafts. And to make it even more special, their family is invited for the unveiling, creating a great moment of pride for the employee, their family and their colleagues.


Personalized bobbleheads And the final example is from Atlassian, a global enterprise software company who have a fun and unique way to celebrate and recognize their employees when they hit their 10 year service anniversary. Instead of giving them a trophy, plaque, watch or something else a bit ordinary, they create a personalized bobblehead of the employee. One copy is given to the employee, and the other put onto the bobblehead shelf, becoming a part of the company folklore.



I hope these examples have not only made you smile, but have shown you practical ways that companies are bringing their personality and culture out in how they recognize their employees. I challenge you to do the same, to show appreciation based on your personality and culture.


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