16 Fun and Unique Employee Recognition Awards

Lori Li
8 min read
May 18, 2020

employee recognition awards

Office superlatives. Employee Recognition rewards. Corporate shout-outs.

Whatever you want to call them, one thing’s certain: Celebrating the hard work of your employees is a great way to improve your employee recognition program — and by extension, increase employee engagement.

And the best part? The ceremonies where these awards are given out can function as great team-building opportunities, as well.

Most companies that have employee recognition rewards programs celebrate their employees for making the most sales, retaining the most clients, or building the most successful product, among other things. There are also companies that recognize their MVP and rookie of the year. Others get even more creative with their employee recognition ideas.

However, there’s no rule that says you can’t look beyond employee of the month and best employee certificates and give out funny office superlatives!

For that reason, we’ve compiled some funny employee awards ideas that your team members will love.

Let’s dive right in.

16 Creative Ideas for Office Superlatives/Award Certificates

Add a little spice to your recognition efforts and make this year’s holiday office party a bit more exciting with these awards:

1. The MacGyver Award

Is there someone in your office who’s always fixing things — printers, light fixtures, coffee machines, what have you — even though it’s not in their job description?

Quick, give that person the MacGyver Award!

2. The Space-Time Continuum Award

Odds are someone on your team just seems to not have the best sense of time. Maybe they show up late every day, or maybe they’re always the last person to show up for a team meeting.

Whatever the case may be, this person deserves the Space-Time Continuum Award.

3. The Fashionista Award

No matter what dress code your company has — or even if it doesn’t have one in the first place — there’s someone who takes their wardrobe game to the next level more often than not.

They’ve earned the Fashionista Award!

4. The Pig Pen Award

One of the members of your team is — how should we put it — a little more disorganized than everyone else. 

Give them the Pig Pen Award, which is named after the dirtiest Peanuts character.

5. The Mr. Clean or Ms. Clean Award

On the flip side, there’s someone on your team who keeps their work space immaculately clean — to the point where people say something about it. 

Give this person the Mr. or Ms. Clean Award.

6. The Snack King or Snack Queen Award

Some people always make sure the rest of the team has something tasty to munch on. 

Recognize this person’s culinary skills (or their commitment to buying treats) with the Snack King or Snack Queen Award.

7. The Loch Ness Award

Is someone on your team seemingly harder to track down than everyone else? 

Well, no one’s found the Loch Ness monster yet, either.

8. The Bermuda Triangle Award

When you need to track down a stapler, an extra pad of paper, or a pencil sharpener, you know you can always count on that team member who always has every office supply known to man stashed away somewhere nearby. Office supplies go to this person’s desk to disappear.

This individual deserves the Bermuda Triangle Award.

Surprising Effects of Employee Recognition

9. The Green Thumb Award

Who has the most plants — that are still alive — in their work space? This person obviously knows a thing or two about gardening.

Give them the Green Thumb Award!

10. The Chatty Cathy Award

Someone on your team talks more than anyone else. You all know who that person is. Give them the Chatty Cathy Award.

11. The Opera Singer Award

Some people can’t help it. They’ve just got to sing. 

If one of your colleagues holds the proverbial microphone more often than everyone else, recognize their talents with the Opera Singer Award.

12. The Picasso Award

No, this award isn’t necessarily given to your best graphic designer. It’s given to the person who’s the best at drawing and doodling to the point that everyone takes notice.

Give the Picasso Award to your most prolific artist.

13. The Running with the Bulls Award

Every team has a risk-taker who keeps things interesting at the workplace by taking up special projects (and keeping managers on the edge of their chairs).

The Running with the Bulls Award is a way to give kudos to such employees.

14.  Rookie of the Year Award

Is there a new employee who exceeded all expectations and set a benchmark for future recruits with their great work?

Give that talented newbie the Rookie of the Year Award!

15. The Jock of the Bunch Award

This sports award is reserved for the jocks on your team.

Give it to a show-off who always wins at office sports or a football buff who never shuts up.

16. The Biggest Germaphobe Award

Got someone who’s obsessed with hand-washing and always keeps hand-sanitizer at their desk?

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful! 

Give the Biggest Germaphobe Award to someone who has always been like that.

Great Leadership

Insider Tips for Creating the Perfect Employee Recognition Rewards Program

You can’t just print out a few certificates or get a few custom trophies and be done with it.

Creating an effective recognition platform requires hard work. And, as we’ll shortly see, it’s all worth it.

That being said, here are some tips to help you build a program that works.

1. Get Everyone to Pitch in

Having a strong culture of recognition is a prerequisite.

If your team members (managers included) don’t make active efforts to show their appreciation, you most likely won’t get anywhere.

The first step towards establishing this culture is by involving everyone on your team for fresh ideas and suggestions.

Schedule a company meeting and start brainstorming.

Some of the things that you should definitely discuss include:

  • Ideas for the employee recognition awards
  • How you should hold the ceremony
  • What kinds of accolades you should give out (e.g., certificates and trophies)

Consider checking out Comedian Larry Weaver’s 101 funny awards and the ceremonies he has performed at over the years for some ideas. You can also check out Brandon Gaille's 101 Creative Employee Recognition Award Names for some inspiration.

2. Be Mindful of the Company Culture

You have to realize that these fun office superlatives are, more or less, similar to the teacher recognition awards/funny teacher awards that are given out in many high schools.

While this may bring back some golden memories of school awards ceremonies for some of us, there might be some people who may not be onboard with the idea.

Keep your company values in mind when coming up with ideas.

Before you print out a list of funny certificates, ask yourself this question: Is giving out sarcastic and humorous awards acceptable at the office? If not, maybe you are better off sticking with simple thank-you notes and other traditional employee recognition rewards.

These are a few of the questions that need answering before moving forward.

3. Schedule a Proper Award Ceremony

Having a public ceremony is important. After all, no one wants to receive their awards behind closed doors now, do they?

Make it a proper event. Broadcast the ceremony live on LinkedIn and other websites, and give your employees a public shout-out on social media.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • Would you like to have these awards given out every other month? Or do you want to make this an end of the year awards ceremony?
  • Or better yet, do you want to skip major ceremonies altogether, and give out these office superlatives on work anniversaries/birthday parties (while celebrating their success stories)?

Again, take your team in the fold and incorporate the ceremony into your company’s annual calendar.

Furthermore, you should arrange the actual symbol for the comedic laurels you’ll be handing out. If you’re thinking of giving out mugs, T-shirts, or funny printable certificates, you can get great custom stuff from Etsy.

If you’re on a budget and looking for a low-cost option, you can always find free printable certificates or free funny award templates on Google (try keywords like "funny award ideas office superlatives", "free printable funny certificate templates," or "free funny award certificate templates" to get started).

In case you’re feeling a bit too creative, you can create your own excellence templates using clipart (we suggest checking this out for some inspiration).

4. Gather Feedback

Finally, talk to your employees and gather some feedback about the existing recognition rewards through a pulse survey.

If you receive positive feedback, keep everything running as it is until someone comes forward with a new suggestion.

If your employees have some concerns or suggestions, consider making some tweaks. Iterate over time and you’ll end up with a program that works for your organization.

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Top Benefits of Giving Out Funny Office Superlatives

At this point, you might be wondering why employee recognition and funny office awards ideas are such a big deal. After all, you already have a comprehensive employee rewards program. Shouldn’t that be enough? 

Every business should reward employees with gift cards and other perks. But is employee recognition a perfect substitute?

Of course not. All of these things together can help leave a positive impact on your bottom line.

Public recognition — whether it’s for good work or the little things that count — can certainly go a long way toward creating a happy, satisfied, and productive team.

Don’t believe us?

Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of handing out employee recognition and appreciation awards (backed with statistics):

1. Massive Boost in Productivity

It goes without saying that employee appreciation/staff awards are major productivity boosters and could, therefore, have a major effect on the actual business results.

A survey by OGO found that 40% of U.S. employees would put more effort into their work if they were recognized more often.

2. Increase Employee Retention

As per a survey conducted by Bonusly and SurveyMonkey, 63% of the 1,500 respondents who said that they were always or usually recognized for their efforts were “very unlikely” to go on job hunts in the upcoming months.

In other words, staff recognition can have a direct impact on your employee turnover rate.

3. Improved Employer-Employee Relationships

A report by the Cicero Group revealed that 50% of employees said that being thanked by their managers improved their relationships with them and other higher-ups.

With that in mind, if your employees are not getting the recognition that they deserve, it might be jeopardizing your relationship with them.

Ending Note

While one-off office superlatives and awards offer a fun way to keep your employees entertained and engaged, they shouldn’t completely replace the actual accolades that matter.

That being said, employees should be able to recognize a job well done when it happens in real time. In a recent report, The Surprising Effects of Employee Recognition and Appreciation, we found that 44% of employees give regular peer-to-peer recognition when they have a tool that makes it easy.

Give your team the opportunity and encouragement to recognize one another so everyone is invested in the process, and great things will happen! 

The best part is this is all easier than it might sound. For example, the Employee Recognition feature of TINYPulse (known as Cheers for Peers), can help facilitate the process.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what one of our happy users have to say about it:

"I think the Cheers for Peers feature is very helpful for my role. I go on there regularly, and I look and see everyone that's getting cheers, and I read why they're getting cheers. I make sure that some of those people that are in less visible positions, kind of the unsung heroes get noticed, and that's shared up to our leadership team. "

--- Amy Waryas, SVP of Human Resources at Boston Red Sox

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