How to have a Perfect Corporate Awards Event

You have management buy-in, you’ve created your strategy, and you’ve built your program. Now it’s time for your big recognition event! But if you’ve never planned a recognition event, you may wonder how to do it.

If you have an event coordinator in your organization, team up with that person. Their wealth of information will help you put on an incredible event.

If you don’t have an event coordinator, that’s OK! You’re capable of doing this on your own.

First, create a pre-event checklist that lists out each task. Make sure to include

  • The details of the task
  • The person in charge of completing it
  • Any contact person
  • The deadline

Use this checklist as a guide to stay on task while planning the event.

Click here to download a sample pre-event checklist.

A recognition event needs to be memorable. If you treat it like an incredible event such as the Academy Awards or the Olympics, your employees are bound to remember every aspect of the event and the presentations. Your organization can accomplish this by following these six tips:

  1. The right person needs to make the presentation. This doesn’t need to be the highest-level executive. The presenter should be the highest-ranking person who can personally attest to the accomplishments of the employee. The presenter needs to be able to tell stories that evoke an emotion in the recipient as well as all employees.
  2. Managers must be trained to make a great presentation. They need to know who is being recognized and why they are being recognized. They need to be able to talk about the accomplishments and focus on the positives of the employee.
  3. Tie in the corporate symbolism. If an award is symbolic to the organization, the manager must be able to explain the symbolism and how it relates to the organization.
  4. Ask others to make comments. Colleagues who know the award recipient can add comments to make the presentation even more memorable. Inviting colleagues to the event also lets them see behaviors of the winner that they can emulate.
  5. Ask the recipient to make comments. If your recipient is willing, let them say something! This allows them to thank people who have helped them as well as the people involved in the event.
  6. Close with a sincere thank you. Thank the recipient and all who attended.

You may have a few reluctant presenters. Presentations can be awkward for everyone, but if a presenter is prepared, it’s less awkward. A great recognition event generates pride, increases employee engagement, and establishes trust between employees and managers. But if a presentation is done poorly and without preparation, all of that is washed away and can even hurt your bottom-line.

Click here to download the What Do I Say? template.

Your event is now over. Everyone enjoyed the celebration, and the winners are humbled and grateful. What happens now?

Just because your event is over doesn’t mean your work is done. You need feedback to see how effective the event was. Be sure to debrief with presenters, attendees, recipients, and planners. Ask each group the following questions:

  • Presenters: how can we improve the award presentation for next time?
  • Attendees: what should be changed for the next recognition event?
  • Recipients: what would have made your recognition experience more memorable?
  • Event coordinators: how can we improve the pre-event planning process?

You can ask these questions in a variety of ways. Many organizations prefer short surveys to gather feedback like the one you can download here. Others prefer a short meeting to go over everything in person.

When you’ve gathered this feedback, you’re able to make good changes to your program. Programs evolve and change for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the program needs improvement, and other times organization policies change. Using tools like these will help you facilitate the changes your program needs:

  • Surveys
  • Measurements
  • Recognition platforms
  • Anecdotal feedback

Most importantly, make sure your program is flexible and welcome purposeful change!

Recognition Do’s and Don’ts

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