7 Effective Employee Recognition Ideas

Make your staff feel appreciated by offering tokens of appreciation for their hard work. Get your inspiration for employee recognition ideas from this list!

Did you know that only 51% of employees are satisfied with the recognition they receive after doing a great job?

Not only that, but only 1 in three employees have received recognition in the last week.

Now, we don’t expect you to offer the following employee recognition ideas on a weeklbasis, but it does need to be consistent. As a result, your company will benefit, too!

How?

Recognition helps increase productivity in your workforce. Your employees become happier to work (less time for complaining!), their loyalty grows stronger, and employee retention increases. This saves you time and money.

As you can see, employee recognition is a tremendous all-around practice. We’re here to offer some creative ideas for the next time you need to award someone for a job well done.

Keep reading!

1. Positive Feedback

We’ll start with the most straightforward recognition of all — positive feedback.

Sometimes, even a little acknowledgment can go a long way. Too often, employees perform well and get nothing but silence in return. If you offer regular, specific feedback, they’ll know to continue doing good work.

Take the uncertainty out of the equation. Tell your employees what an excellent presentation they did, how happy you are with their sales, or whatever applies to your business.

2. Company Swag

There’s nothing like some swag to get people excited (and hey — it’s an advertisement for you, too!).

If you’ve got custom mugs, t-shirts, stress balls, pens, etc., consider pulling it all together into a company tote bag. Gift it to the employee you’d like to recognize.

This small gesture allows them to feel proud of their place of employment.

3. An In-House Meal

A Harvard Business Review study found that 26% of employees value healthy food options in the workplace.

While you may not be able to supply these healthy food items on a daily basis, you could consider hosting quarterly or bi-annual catered parties. Provide a variety of healthy, yummy options.

It’s easy to just order a bunch of pizza and call it a day.

Instead, seek out a local caterer and have them bring a smorgasbord of great grub. Not only will your employees love eating in (and not having to pay for their meal), but it’ll give them some time to de-stress and comingle with their coworkers.

Additionally, healthy food should spark some energy. High-carb pizza results in that sleepy after-effect that’s not too good for going back to work!

4. Employee Outings

Say you’d like to recognize your whole team rather than a specific employee.

Employee outings are great for recognizing an entire group of people at once. And if someone on the team is slacking a bit, a group outing should encourage them to pick up the pace.

Some ideas for your next outing could be:

  • A pool hall or bowling alley
  • A scenic, easy hike
  • Volunteering for a local charity
  • A painting class
  • A cooking class
  • A sporting event at your local arena

Try to find something that offers group discounts to lessen the cost of the bill.

Additionally, try to avoid divisive activities. For example, taking your employees on a bar crawl could make those who don’t drink feel uncomfortable or left out.

5. Custom Challenge Coins

Custom challenge coins are an excellent souvenir for a job well done.

In fact, non-monetary incentives like these are just as effective as cash bonuses. They complete the same objective — motivate employees, develop camaraderie in the workforce, and bring teams together.

Challenge coins have a long and storied history that dates back to WWI. And they’re still used today at corporate events and often show up in the workplace.

Not only does collecting coins give your employees something to look forward to achieving, but they’re a great way to highlight individual successes. You can create a custom medal for any type of achievement. If there’s more than one style of coin, that’s one more thing for your employees to strive for.

At the end of the year, employees can compare coins, see who got what, and see who collected the most. This’ll give them something to look forward to going into the next year — collecting even more coins!

6. Social Media Shout-Outs

If your employee is okay with having a photo posted online, this is a great way to recognize their achievements.

Take a picture of the employee you want to shout-out and post it to your business’s social media page. Write a short little bio about them and explain why they’re getting recognized.

Then, they can re-share the post on their account and let their family and friends see what a great job they’re doing at work!

Bonus — this increases awareness about your company and shows what a great team you’ve cultivated.

7. A Wall of Fame

Similar to the idea above, a wall of fame praises employees’ achievements in a fun and fresh way.

Say your company incentives employee or company reviews. You can start a Wall of Fame and print out any reviews that mention your employees. Highlight their names and pin the paper to a corkboard in your office.

This works in two ways.

One, it recognizes those who’ve gone above and beyond. Second, it encourages anyone not yet on the board to strive for getting their name featured!

Try One of These Fantastic Employee Recognition Ideas

You’ll be surprised at how effective they can be!

Not only will you feel content with offering praise and acknowledgment, but your employees will feel even more over-joyed at their achievements. This directly results in a better work ethic (which is good news for your company).

Why not put one of these employee recognition ideas to the test right now?

Contact us today to see your options for a custom, creative, high-quality challenge coin. We’ll even help you come up with a free design that’s perfect for your company!

Boost Corporate Workplace Morale With Custom Challenge Coins

Boost the workplace with custom challenge coins. Read to learn how custom challenge coins can benefit your companies workplace and employees.

Thanks to recent lower underemployment and employment and a slight increase in turnover and worker satisfaction with benefits, we’re seeing one of the most engaged times in the US workforce:

A whopping 34% of American workers are “engaged” – enthusiastic, committed to work, and involved.

Workplace engagement hasn’t been this high since back in 2000 when Gallup first began recording these stats.

This is exciting news; there’s still room to grow. Read on to learn how custom challenge coins can reinforce company identity, praise, and honor high-achieving individuals, and commemorate service and training.

What Exactly Are Custom Challenge Coins?

Challenge coins are high-detailed coins that serve as a token of accomplishment. They can have a more general design or a customized design based on the area of work.

Some industries that use custom challenge coins are the corporate workforce, police, fire department, and the military – AKA, army, navy, air force, marines, and coast guard.

But other businesses and industries can still take advantage of these coins as a source of encouragement, motivation, and gratitude.

How Can You Use the Coins?

First of all, know you can use the coins however you deem fit. As general guidelines, you can use them in the police force to honor a specific division like SWAT or detectives.

The same goes for the military that wants to honor a specific branch or troop.

These coins can also congratulate well-deserved promotions and service on the job. Not to mention, retirement for soon-to-be veterans, and a symbol of welcome for new entrants.

For military, police, and firefighters, they can be a symbol of purpose and dedication to their communities and nation.

One of the Biggest Ways Challenge Coins Can Boost Morale in the Workplace

As Harvard Business Review states when it comes to motivation, rewards work better than punishment.

This is where custom challenge coins can come in. Corporate, fire departments, police forces, and military can use these coins as that reward or encouragement for motivational action.

For example, let’s say you need your employees to work overtime this week on an upcoming project for a big client. Of course, you’re going to pay them overtime. But what about that extra step that shows your employees you care?

How do you motivate them to work that extra hour or three the next time an important project comes around? Honoring that time spent in the office with challenge coins will not only employees feel proud but boost company morale.

It’s One More Benefit

The reason for more engaged workers in the US may have to do with a slightly higher increase in workers’ satisfaction with tangible workplace benefits. Some tangible benefits Gallup mentions include:

  • recognition at work for accomplishments
  • retirement benefits
  • and health insurance

Custom coins can be one more tool in companies’ and departments’ recognition-benefit arsenal, which can help make employees and servicemen and servicewomen feel more engaged in their jobs.

What About Rewarding Training Courses and Certificates?

According to Entrepreneur, the online learning industry is booming. This means companies can offer employees more training that’s easily accessible.

Training courses mandatory or not, challenge coins can give employees the recognition they need.

How About Firefighters, Police Officers, and Military Servicemen and Servicewomen?

Firefighters, for example, have more job responsibilities than fighting fires. Some other ways firefighters help the community include:

  • aiding people during non-fire disasters
  • providing medical aid
  • and assisting with traffic accidents.

Several professional fire departments in California offer on-going training through their state’s apprenticeship program.

Why not award firefighters who attend such programs with a challenge coin? What about giving them a coin for completing their a skills certificate (i.e., EMT)?

The same goes for police offers, who must undergo continual training. And what about challenge coins for new recruits who finish training courses in boot camp?

Speaking of the military… Challenge coins can also honor the 18% of military that are officers. These men and women manage operations and enlisted servicemen. Not to mention, the 82% of enlisted men and women who complete these missions and keep our nation safe.

Getting the Community Involved

Challenge coins can also be a bridge between law enforcement and the community. For instance, police officers can hand out coins to the public at community events to help foster community relationships.

They can also give these coins to schools when police officers come to talk to classes about their jobs. That coin could inspire children who dream of becoming an officer.

Consider a Different Course When Trying to Deter an Action

As mentioned, they’re great for rewarding and encouraging motivational actions. But, as HBR states (same article), if you’re trying to deter certain actions (i.e., breaking company policy,etc.) rewards may not be the way to go.

In such cases, you may want to hold off on the challenge coins. How about setting a limit on something instead?

The Takeaway

Custom challenge coins offer a way for fire and police departments, corporations, and the military to honor employees.

They’re an appreciation tool for leaders who want to impact and inspire others. According to Medium, leaders can use the five love languages at the office. Challenge coins can be a part of the gift giving language.

Or be combined with a high-five or praise, checking off more love language boxes.

Ultimately, these coins are a great go-to for motivating employees and boosting company morale. Remember, you know your company/department best and will know when the best time is to use or not use the coins.

Have you used custom coins in your company or department? What did you use them for, and what was the result?

Did the employees feel more recognized for their work? What other benefits do custom coins have in the workplace?

We want to know. Comment or question? Write it in the comments section below. We’ll get back to you!

The Airman’s Coin: 8 Interesting Facts About the Air Force Challenge Coin

The airman’s coin has a rich history. Given to airmen at their Air Force graduation, it signifies their accomplishments. Learn more here.

Military challenge coins are an object of honor and tradition. To receive a challenge coin is a recognition for the merit of something you’ve done.

From military to civilian organizations, a typical challenge coin has an organization’s insignia. Leaders or commanders present a challenge coin to a member of the unit or organization in recognition of special achievement or honor.

The Airman’s Coin is no exception to a deep tradition of history and honor. Here’s a look at eight interesting facts about the Airmen’s coin and the tradition of military challenge coins. 

1. From Trainee to Airman

Air Force trainees receive the Airman’s coin at the time they complete basic military training. Trainees receive their coins during the coin ceremony. 

This coin is the first and most significant coin of an airman’s career. It’s typically given by the Wing Commander or Command Chief Master Sergeant. Once a trainee receives the Airman’s coin, they are no longer referred to as “trainee.” 

They are officially known as “Airmen.”  

2. The Origin of Challenge Coins

There are several versions of the origin of the challenge coin. The most widely accepted story took place during World War I.

A lieutenant had bronze unit medallions created for his squadron. He gave one medallion to each member in the squadron. 

The French captured one of the squadron pilots after his damaged plane landed behind German lines. The French believed he was a spy. The pilot faced execution.

The only thing the pilot had with him was his squadron medallion. The French saw that he was an American and rewarded him with a bottle of wine–instead of death. 

From this story (or a similar story) the idea of challenge coins grew across all branches of the military, including the Air Force and the Airman’s coin. 

3. There’s a Technique to Giving a Coin

The USAF challenge coin tradition follows the traditional challenge coin protocol.

Awarding a coin is more than handing over a coin. You don’t mail a coin or slide it across a table.

The airman coin passes from the giver to the receiver during a strong handshake. The coin sits in the palm of the commander’s hand. During the handshake, the coin transfers to the recipient’s hand. 

4. Versions of the Airman’s Coin

The Air Force challenge coin is different today than the original version. 

The first version of the Airman’s coin featured an eagle on the coin’s front. The eagle claws its way out of the coin. The words “Aerospace Power” sit underneath the eagle.

The reverse side of the coin includes a white star with a red dot in the center. This is the Hap Arnold star. On the coin, a pair of wings flanks the.  

Around the edge of the coin are the words of the USAF Core Values: Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence In All We Do.

For the Air Force’s 60th anniversary in 2007, the Airmen’s coin featured a special anniversary design. 

The latest version of the coin uses the new Air Force symbol instead of the eagle.

5. What Are Challenges?

Once an airman receives a coin, they must keep with them at all times. They never know when a challenge could happen.

During a “challenge” (or “coin check”), anyone in can request all other members to produce their coins. 

Any member who can’t immediately show their coin has to buy the challenger a drink. While the losing task can be anything, it’s most often buying drinks for other members.

If everyone has their coins, the challenge has to buy a round of drinks for the unit.

6. Earning Additional Coins

Aside from the Airmen’s coin, Airmen can receive other coins throughout their military careers.

Coins include those presented to them by a first sergeant or by the president for any service deemed meritorious. A collection of coins often tells the story of an airman’s career. 

7. Personal Coin Designs

One of the perks of becoming a commander in the Air Force is creating your own coins. Officers typically have a personal budget for coins. They can create coins to represent why they choose to give coins to other airmen. 

Coins should represent excellence and significance. The design should recognize airmen who go above and beyond to serve their unit and their country. 

One coin is the “first salute” coin. It’s often presented to the first enlisted member to salute a newly-commissioned officer. 

8. The Coin Has Rules to Follow

As with many traditions, the Airman’s coin comes with the rules of challenge coins

Some of these rules include:

  • Explaining the rules when giving a coin. 
  • You must carry your coins at all times.
  • Do not ever give someone else a coin in response to a challenge. 
  • You are responsible for replacing a lost coin as soon as possible. 
  • There are no exceptions to the rules. 
  • A challenge coin is not a belt buckle or jewelry. Carry it, don’t wear it. 

Receiving an Airman’s coin or other Air Force challenge coin is a great honor. It’s also a great responsibility. 

Airmen who carry their coins within the rules show they understand the gravity of the honor. 

The Airman’s Coin is an Important Tradition

The Airman’s coin is an important USAF tradition following the tradition of military challenge coins. 

Airmen work hard to receive the Airman’s coin. The coin ceremony ushers them from trainee to airmen.

The Airman’s coin shows that the former trainee now understands the full range of air and space power capabilities. They have finished training to employ or support some aspect of these capabilities.

As airmen rise in ranks, Custom Challenge Coins takes great pride in helping commanders choose the perfect design for their coins. We understand the importance of what challenge coins represent. We enjoy creating the perfect coin to recognize your own airmen. 

Our team represents families with members from all branches of the military. Contact us to let our team help your design and produce the perfect challenge coins to represent outstanding service to our country. 

A Look at Challenge Coin History and Why They’re Still Cool Today

Challenge coins are an excellent morale booster for teams. Part of the reason lies in challenge coin history and traditions. Find out more about where challenge coins originated and how they’ve stayed popular all this time.

Are you looking for an original, unique marker of membership for your team or club? Challenge coins are special keepsakes and fantastic tools for ongoing teambuilding. Best of all is their fascinating history.

From Romans and Renaissance nobility to WWI pilots, challenge coins have played an interesting part in human history! Learn more about challenge coin history and just how they’ll turn you into a club hero here.

Challenge Coins

Challenge coins are small commemorative coins or medallions. You engrave them with a special insignia or message. The idea is to share within any special group as a mark of membership.

Think military units, civil society groups, sororities, fraternities, work teams or graduating class-groups. They are also bought and sold as collector items. In the military, challenge coins unit commanders give them to a unit member to mark special achievements.

Challenge Coin History

The story of the challenge coin’s history is unique. According to the legend, a US army lieutenant had coins made for his WW1 squadron. A pilot was captured behind enemy lines. When he escaped and made it across the border, a French patrol had no way to identify him.

Not recognizing his accent, they figured he was a spy from the enemy side. To avoid execution, the pilot showed his Challenge Coin to prove his identity and his US nationality. It saved his life.

There are histories of challenge coins going back even before this WWI tale. The Roman Empire gave them to soldiers for special achievements. During the Renaissance, they were called ‘Portrait Medals’.

These were handed among members of the royal family or nobility, to mark special occasions. Even today, the US President hands a challenge coin out to mark special occasions.

Fun Ways to Use Challenge Coins

The challenge coin gives members of your team a real sense of identity. But they are also a way to play ongoing team building ‘coin checks’. They don’t call it a challenge coin for nothing!

Once your team has been awarded their coins, you can initiate the coin challenge. One member can yell, ‘coin check’. Everyone has to show they are carrying their challenge coins. Anyone who isn’t carrying their coin has to buy a drink – or whatever other rules you set – for the challenger, and everyone carrying their coin.

Where to Buy Them

To mark a special event or membership of your club or team, consider challenge coins. At Metal Promo, we offer die struck challenge coins in a range of sizes. We also one or two side color options, and a range of edging options.

You can customize the challenge coin, mixing it up each year for members to collect all the coins in the series. We offer free artwork, free shipping, guaranteed quality and competitive pricing. We love posting verified reviews from customers on our website. We look forward to putting yours there, too.

Get a Free Quote

If you’re feeling inspired by challenge coin history, consider having some made. Your club, team, or military unit will love the physical symbol of their membership, or marker of their special achievement.

You can talk to us about a free quote and some ideas on artwork. Find your favorite options on our website, and get in contact today!

What is a Challenge Coin and What Do They Represent?

What is a Challenge Coin and What Do They Represent?

You’re at a military ceremony. A soldier is being honored for service above and beyond the call of duty. As he approaches the unit commander to receive his award, he salutes and then reaches out to shake hands.

In the unit commander’s palm, before he clasps hands, you notice a glint of metal. Wondering what that is? Well, you’ve seen your first challenge coin.

What is a challenge coin? I’m glad you asked.

What is a Challenge Coin?

The simple answer is this: A challenge coin is a specially designed coin. It’s given to someone to confirm membership in an organization or group. A challenge coin can also honor a person for a special achievement.

Description

Challenge coins are small, metal coins that fit in the palm of your hand. They are made of metal. Each challenge coin has a unique design that belongs to the organization it represents.

The emblem or insignia of the organization is etched directly into the coin. The organization’s motto can be engraved around the edge of the coin. They can have colored enamel painted into the etching, depending on the unique design.

Though they are usually round, some challenge coins come in other shapes. Special designs even include cutouts or unique features, like a bottle opener tool.

Challenge coins are made out of a variety of metals. Some are made of zinc, bronze, and brass. Other more expensive versions even include 24-carat gold.

What Does a Challenge Coin Represent?

Challenge coins represent organizations, units, and teams. They can also represent an achievement, an anniversary or a special event. They build close-knit, lasting bonds between people who receive them and represent unity.

They have a long-standing tradition in military history. But the military isn’t the only service that uses them. First responder services also have a history of using challenge coins, too.

Civilian groups are starting to use challenge coins to represent accomplishments in their businesses. This is a new way to represent challenge coins. They are using them to build morale in teams, link people with similar interests and even to promote their brand.

Military Challenge Coins

There are many traditional challenge coins that represent each of the military branches, individual units, special groups and even specific missions. Military leaders can have their own coins, too. Top generals and the President of the United States have their own special challenge coins.

Service members are known to develop large collections of challenge coins during their time in the military. They feel pride and a sense of belonging when they display their various coins.

First Responders Challenge Coins

Like the military, first responders use challenge coins to honor service. Law enforcement agencies and firefighters use challenge coins to honor special accomplishments in the line of duty.

Government agencies and politicians are using challenge coins to recognize first responders in their communities. This creates a sense of honor and unity during a time of tragedy and loss.

What is the Purpose of a Challenge Coin?

The purpose of a challenge coin depends on why it was made in the first place. It can be used for membership, recognition, to create a bond between people in a group or to commemorate an anniversary or special event.

Membership

In the military, challenge coins are proof that you are a member of a unit or served on a specific tour of duty. They mean you are a member of an elite group of people.

In early military history, they were used for security. A service member may have been required to show the coin to prove their loyalty. That may not be necessary today, but being a member of the team is still a strong military tradition.

Awards and Recognition

Challenge coins are used to award team members who perform their duties extremely well. Giving a coin as a reward for excellent performance builds pride and morale. Receiving one is a great honor and team members work hard to get them.

Creates Bonds and Connections

The challenge coin tradition keeps members of the military connected to one another, even after they leave the service. Veterans frequently display coins from units they have served in, missions they have been on and leaders they have met. First responders receive coins for heroic efforts during times of tragedy.

Challenge coins pay tribute to events that members of an organization endured together and create a bond that will last a lifetime.

Branding

More recently, challenge coins have been used to identify a corporate brand or logo. Corporations are beginning to hand these out at conferences, sales events, and trade shows. A challenge coin is certainly more memorable than a business card.

Even schools and sports teams are jumping on the bandwagon. Mascots and logos are being put on coins to hand out at local events in communities.

Where to Get a Challenge Coin

What is a challenge coin? It’s a great way to recognize an individual, a team or bring meaning to an event or accomplishment. They create lasting bonds between team members and encourage hard work.

Challenge coins make great gifts that are memorable and unique. Whether you want to honor a service member, a first responder or a valuable team member, challenge coins make the moment special and memorable.

If you are considering a challenge coin for your organization or event, you can submit a request online. If you need help with your request, you can contact us directly.