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Year End Award and Events Ideas

The holidays are here! It seems like all the major retail areas are already bustling with holiday shoppers looking for the best gifts for everyone on their list. Have you thought about appreciation for your team yet?

The holidays and end of the year are an important time to reflect upon the contributions, accomplishments, and successes of your team. At Baudville, we celebrate with our Year End Party which includes awards, employee gifts, and lots of fun! Our employees always look forward to our event, so I’ve put together three areas of tips and ideas to help you make your own year end efforts successful. You can also get all these tips in our Recognition TV video.

1. Event Themes
Your year event or award ceremony should have a theme! It can be simple or as creative as you can imagine. Some of our past themes for the Baudville Year End Party have been game show, roaring twenties, and casino. Regardless of the theme you choose, you should always make it about the guests of honor: your team.

Your theme gets applied to all the communication about your event including the invitation, presentation slides, menu, directional signs, table cards, ID cards, even your follow up newsletter article. ID cards are an important element of our year end party. Every employee receives a card (we make them with the IDville ID Maker system) when we arrive at the party. The ID card reveals table assignments and makes employees and guests more comfortable because they don’t have to remember everyone’s name!  

2. Awards
The end of the year is a popular time for the presentation of awards. Most organizations have some form of an award program. Award programs are an important part of your culture because it expresses what’s important at your organization and gives real life examples of your values. When it comes to presenting awards, your speech and prepared remarks are extremely important. Download our Award Presentation Guide for help writing an excellent award presentation.

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about popular year end awards. You can get all the details in my Popular Year End Awards Motivate Performance article. These awards are great for public recognition at a company-wide year end event.  However, not every organization gathers together at the end of the year. 

Even if your organization doesn’t throw a holiday bash, you should celebrate and recognize your team! I recommend using award certificates because they’re an inexpensive option and can be personalized for the recipient. My tip for recognizing a small team is to create a unique award title for each recipient. We have some sample recognition award titles you can download from our Recognition Resource Center. Bring your team together to enjoy some holiday treats and call each member up to the front to receive their certificate. The camaraderie and public recognition may make this your employees’ favorite holiday event! 

3. Gifts
Finally, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without gifts! What’s your plan for recognizing your team? When you give your team a gift at the holidays, it expresses your appreciation for their presence, contributions, and loyalty. In our last Recognition TV webisode, our product manager shared a few of her favorite gifts. Watch her video and read her suggestions on the Baudville blog. Here are a few more tips to help you with your team gift shopping: 

Make it personal. Recognition that’s sincere and personal is the most effective. When your gift is personal for the recipient, it shows that you know them and value their preferences. Of course, you’re faced with the challenge of selecting something personal for every member of your team. To streamline your gift giving, you can get variations of the same item. Our gift books are perfect. They focus on a variety of different topics, like teamwork, making a difference, or thank you. Select a different book for each member of your team and write a note on the inside cover. Sign your name and date it, so the recipient will always remember where it came from.

Make it last. You also want your gift to last – not be tossed out in the post-holiday rush. Choose a gift that your team can use in the office. Take a look at ourdesktop gift collection. You can engrave the character story of your choice on several of the items, so your gift is personal and lasting. Some of my favorites are the journals and folios. We’ve found this kind of gift to be very effective. For example, for her first holiday at Baudville one of my coworkers received a folio from her manager. Her manager had written a personal note on the inside of the folio expressing how excited he was to have her on the team. That’s memorable!

Make it meaningful. Your recognition during the end of the year is purposeful: you want to reinforce desired behaviors and make your team feel appreciated. But your team won’t know what you’re recognizing if you don’t tell them. When you present your awards, be sure to give specific examples of the award recipient’s successes and accomplishments from the year. At Baudville, the accomplishments and contributions of our Inspire Award winners are listed before their names are revealed! It’s very effective and fun for everyone in attendance. 

How do you recognize your team during the holidays? What are your best practices? 


Cori is Baudville’s in-house Recognitionista (she’s officially a Certified Recognition Professional, too)  and a member of the Millennial generation. Get her employee recognition tips and special discounts by liking Baudville on Facebook