Fostering Excellence
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Five Non-Traditional “Employee of the Month” Programs

Employee recognition is a critical part of a successful and thriving organization. Your employees want to know that they are valued and that their continued contributions will be recognized in the future. The modern workforce is mobile, and they will gravitate to the organization that demonstrably values its employees. Be that organization that attracts top talent!

Recognition takes effort and it can take some imagination as the traditional “employee of the month” program may not incentivize or reward the variety of behaviors important for the success of your organization. Employees take on numerous functional roles in an organization, often simultaneously, and no one recognition program can be a one-size fits all. Not one single recognition program can motivate all the behaviors you would like to see in your organization.

Here are some non-traditional “employee of the month” programs geared to recognize behaviors important to organizational success outside the scope of core business tasks:

Recognition and Teamwork

Elements of a Good Recognition Program

Rookie of the Month – the first year of a new hire’s employment is critical for retention. Recognizing those new hires that are performing well is in good form, but also boosts retention of your top new performers.

Enabler of the Month – This is a great way to recognize the unsung heroes. Those who fill secretarial positions, or those in IT, finance or travel departments make your business function well but often do not get praise for what they do. Building a program that recognizes those who enable your business’s core functions can do a lot to keep your business moving in the right direction while recognizing exceptional performance.

Community Volunteer of the Month – Do you have employees who are living the core values of your organization, and who are paying it forward in the community? Having a program that recognizes the good things your employees are doing in the community sustains that community investment and rewards your employees of living your values on and off duty.

360 Degree Leader of the Month – Mentoring makes organizations successful and it often occurs in informal ways. Most mentors are not tasked to be such; they assume the role deliberately and informally. Take time to recognize those who help nurture and grow the next generation of your business’s professionals!
Informal Leader of the Month – Not all leaders are those who are in positional authority. Creating a recognition program that identifies and awards those who exhibit leadership qualities, in or outside of a formal leadership role, will grow your leadership bench and empower your organization.  

Products and Services

Principles for Outstanding
Award Justifications

However you structure it, having a robust recognition program that rewards the qualities and behaviors critical to your success will go a long way to ensure it. It will boost retention as well as develop and empower your workforce.

Do you need help with a review of your recognition program? Do you need assistance drafting an award justification? I would love to assist you! I can be contacted at [email protected]

Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter and @fosteringexcellence on Facebook.