The Element of Surprise

What’s Christmas morning without packages to tear open? A birthday without cake and presents? Valentine’s Day without flowers and chocolates? Everybody loves to get gifts on special occasions – in fact, we expect them and can get pretty annoyed when someone forgets!

On the other hand, we’ve probably all received “just because” gifts: expressions of love, friendship or gratitude that aren’t tied to a holiday or anniversary. Those gifts can be the most memorable – and the most treasured – because they’re not expected.

The element of surprise makes the same lasting impact when it comes to recognition. Years of service awards are great, and employees look forward to choosing their gifts…especially when they come from Award Concepts! However, unexpected recognition is perceived as less of an entitlement and more of a personal reward, yielding higher motivation, deeper loyalty and greater employee engagement.

Try surprising employees with a reward when they:

  • Take on extra projects or shifts for a vacationing co-worker
  • Volunteer to assist with or lead a project
  • Implement a process that saves time or money
  • Give up a weekend to complete a project
  • Identify, report and/or correct unsafe workplace conditions

A few more tips to keep things fresh:

  • Be sure to vary the rewards
  • Don’t always recognize the same people for the same behaviors
  • Have others in the organization deliver the rewards

Who knows, you may find yourself the recipient of a reward when you least expect it!


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