Martin Awards

13 Reasons to Invest in Employee Appreciation Plaques

Post Date: July 26, 2023

73% of employees see bad company culture as a valid reason to quit. Could your business afford to lose three-quarters of its workforce? The obvious answer is “no”.

The people we hire are vital to the health and success of our business. Yet too often, managers and supervisors will offer feedback that’s negative or neutral in tone. Positive praise doesn’t come as easily.

Losing people is expensive. And your business can’t afford to lose to the other team because your employees don’t feel valued.

Keep reading to understand why employee appreciation plaques are more powerful than you think.

Reason #1: Recognition Is More Than a Kind Word

Striking a balance between encouragement and reproach is a skill that every manager and every business should master.  It’s a simple equation:

Recognizing when employees do things right encourages them to do those things more often.

And while a kind word or an encouraging phrase can go a long way, saying “good job” in private moments doesn’t always cut it. Verbal appreciation is essential. However, tangible (and formal) recognition is what truly makes employees feel valued.

Military organizations and sports teams are two examples of award schemes done right.

The military offers medals and special recognition awards for feats that go beyond the call of duty. Sports teams love to highlight impressive plays and valuable teamwork.

Why do they do this?

It’s all about creating the right sort of culture: One that rewards and encourages behaviors that align with an organization’s goals. Verbal appreciation and kind words are still essential.

It’s the concrete authenticity that makes employees truly feel valued.

And appreciation plaques are a palpable reminder of achievement. They’re a permanent token that employees can cherish and show off – and look to in moments of uncertainty and doubt.

Reason #2: Reinforcing Exemplary Behavior

Your employees aren’t pets that need a healthy mix of carrot and stick to do good work.

Yet some of the basic principles still apply: Encouraging productive habits and punishing negative ones can help your business get the most out of everybody.

It’s why quarterly performance reviews exist. It’s the reason for managers to request quiet asides with select members of their teams. Yet both of these examples happen behind closed doors.

What’s lacking is the element of spectacle and community.

Your employees should see their colleagues being rewarded and appreciated for their efforts. When they do, they’re encouraged to emulate the behaviors that got them there.

It’s a strong reinforcement tool that can bolster your company’s values and standards.

Reason #3: Encouraging Soft Skills in the Workplace

Hard skills are often the focus of employee recognition.

They’re what recruiters look for on CVs. They’re what HR teams ask about in interviews. On paper, at least, they’re what makes an employee productive.

After all, hard skills are easy to verify.

Some come in the form of formal qualifications. Most are evident in the course of the working day and known to supervisors. Soft skills, on the other hand, are less easy to notice.

That’s why they often fall into the “wait and see” category; it’s impossible to determine at an interview whether an employee can communicate clearly and resolve interpersonal conflicts.

Only time can tell whether they have the necessary soft skills their job demands.

But soft skills are vital for a healthy working environment. And, just as your business should reward good work ethics and outstanding achievements, so too should it recognize soft skills that make positive contributions.

Awarding exceptional communication, leadership, and teamwork skills with appreciation plaques encourages others to develop these skills further.

Reason #4: Employee Appreciation Plaques Offer Psychological Benefits

Recognition has deep psychological roots.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it fulfills our psychological need for esteem, leading to feelings of accomplishment. It boosts motivation, increases job satisfaction, and improves team morale.

Yet there’s only so much of it to go around.

Recognition, respect, and appreciation; these are intangible feelings that are difficult to quantify. They all have three things in common:

  1. They must feel personal
  2. They must feel relevant
  3. They must feel earned

If any of these three things aren’t true, then the respect or recognition won’t feel valid. For example, if a company blasts out email memos to every employee insisting they’re respected and recognized for their efforts, no employee will feel any particular sense of connection with such a statement.

If, however, that same memo takes the time to highlight a noteworthy contribution of a particular team (or member), it will feel real. It will serve as something to inspire others.

It will feel personal, relevant, earned – and not insincere.

Rewarding employees with appreciation plaques for outstanding achievements is a fantastic means of making recognition feel earned and genuine.

Reason #5: Plaques Are Personal

Employee awards shouldn’t amount to a participation trophy.

While it’s crucial to incentivize and reward positive traits, your employees are also being paid to do good work. They’ve signed a contract. The simple act of showing up and doing what their job descriptions demand isn’t particularly noteworthy – or personal.

Yet employee appreciation plaques are personal.

A plaque engraved with a name and an achievement is unique. It celebrates the talents and skills of the individual. It adds a splash of class that’s always superior to a generic “employee of the month” award.

Instead, the personal touch of recognizing an employee’s unique contributions to a team is what makes appreciation plaques so powerful and meaningful.

Reason #6: Showing Support for Personal Milestones

Your employees are people with rich lives full of diverse experiences. They engage in hobbies and passions and goals that extend beyond your business, and everything they do influences how they approach their work and how they value your company.

Understanding this will help your employees feel more at home under your roof. And the more integrated they feel, the more invested in your business they become.

So, employee appreciation plaques needn’t be reserved for work-related achievements alone: They can also be given to recognize personal milestones.

Earning a degree, running a marathon, and celebrating a significant anniversary are all examples. By celebrating such personal achievements with your employees, you’re demonstrating that you care about them as individuals.

You’re going the extra mile and letting them know that they’re more valuable to you than their work alone. They’re not simple numbers on a spreadsheet; they’re people.

And you care about them.

Reason #7: Enriching Company Culture

Every business worth its salt knows it needs to foster a productive culture – because a positive working environment yields fruitful results.

How can employee plaques contribute?

As physical symbols of gratitude, they publicly recognize hard work and accomplishment. Crucially, they help to cultivate a deeper culture of appreciation.

If recognition comes from the top down, workers will understand the value of a kind gesture. They can draw inspiration from the positive examples set by their colleagues, and they will encourage their colleagues to always give their best.

And, by publicly displaying appreciation plaques in common areas, businesses can communicate their core values. They reinforce the desired culture and behaviors across the workplace.

Reason #8: Rewarding Leadership and Initiative

Your employees aren’t mindless drones.

It takes solid leadership and initiative to propel your business forward and stay ahead of the competition. Sometimes, you want to recognize these talents and promote them.

If an employee takes the lead and guides their team to a successful business outcome during a difficult time, your business should recognize that behavior and highlight it as something for others to endeavor to match.

Reason #9: Welcoming New Hires

Welcoming new employees into the fold and bringing them up to speed can be a challenge. They need onboarding. They need to feel comfortable working with a new team.

Much of the time, they will make a handful of embarrassing mistakes before they’re a fully integrated team member. While they’re learning the ropes,  seeing colleagues recognized can be a powerful motivator.

It demonstrates that their efforts will be appreciated, encouraging them to keep their heads down and work hard. Listing employees and past achievements on perpetual plaques serves as a powerful daily reminder of what’s possible – and what is expected.

That’s not to mention that employee awards don’t have to be reserved for major events.

Awarding employees a plaque after their first completed year can help them feel settled. Some businesses may even gift plaques to employees who complete the onboarding and probation period successfully – particularly if their industry is one with a high turnover rate.

Reason #10: Improving Employee Loyalty

Replacing an employee is exorbitant.

It can cost up to three times an employee’s yearly salary to do so. As a rule of thumb, the costs go up with seniority. These expenses are usually a mix of “hard” and “soft” costs – but the fact remains that it’s always cheaper to keep employees around than to replace them should they head for greener pastures.

How do you improve employee loyalty?

That’s a subject that could fill an HR manager’s bookshelves ten times over. But overall, your business should always endeavor to ensure its employees are in it for the long run. That means exciting career opportunities and extensive employee training.

It means a constructive culture.

It means recognizing good working habits. A valued employee is a loyal employee. And a loyal employee won’t be heading for the door any time soon.

Reason #11: Attracting Top Talent

Finding highly skilled workers is tough. Convincing them to work for your business – and not a competitor’s – is even tougher.

Enticing benefits and promising career opportunities are only one side of the coin when you’re looking to attract good people with winning skills.

Remember: During the selection process, a highly skilled candidate is interviewing your business as much as you are interviewing them. Some may take the time to speak with existing employees.

Others may have heard about your business through their network.

Potential employees have to want to work for your business, and that means they have to be sure they will be recognized and rewarded, and not feel undervalued.

Quite simply, a business that openly engages in employee recognition sets itself apart from one that doesn’t.

Reason #12: Increasing Employee Retention

Making employees feel valued is one side of the coin. And yes, as an employer, you should respect and reward your employees.

But your reasons for doing so aren’t entirely altruistic.

You’ve got a business to run, after all, and retaining top talent can be a challenge in today’s competitive job market. Showing appreciation and rewarding ongoing excellence is one of the most effective ways of keeping employees around for longer – and off of job boards.

Reason #13: Rewards Don’t Have To Be Monetary

When most employees think of recognition and awards, they think of bonuses, raises, and promotions. In many ways, these rewards revolve around the financial aspect of employment.

Yet financial rewards aren’t the only way of showing appreciation and encouraging productivity.

Think about it: Company culture extends beyond earning a paycheck. Non-monetary rewards are just as impactful in fostering positive work environments and enhancing employee engagement.

They’re also more sustainable.

For instance, when an employee is given a raise, that process is permanent. It can’t be undone. In all likelihood, cutting employee pay will send them hunting for a new employer.

Gifting an employee an appreciation plaque is personal. It shows them that you care.

Reward the Right Behavior

Employee appreciation plaques might seem insignificant, but they can make all the difference to employees who need a little validation.

They won’t only boost morale, increase retention, and attract top talent. They enrich your company culture and give new employees a confident push in the right direction. Investing in plaques helps you show your employees the appreciation they deserve.

With over 27 years of experience, Martin Awards is America’s first-choice manufacturer of corporate business awards. From plaques and pins to military awards and sports trophies, our product range caters to any kind of business. View our employee recognition awards here.

google tag