What is a spot award?
A spot award is a spur-of-the-moment employee recognition for employee performance and exemplary behavior as and when it happens. The prize can be both monetary and non-monetary. It is used as a retention tool to let employees know their efforts have been recognized and reinforce the organization's values.
The two characteristics of a spot award are:
- It is instant - The award is given at the moment. Recognizing an employee three months after their performance would not be considered a spot award. The word spot indicates the award is given "on the spot."
- Monetary and non-monetary - Employees can receive non-monetary recognition (such as a certificate) or monetary (cash, bonus, gift certificates, etc.)
A good spot award program has a balance between monetary and non-monetary incentives.
Spot award examples
Non-monetary spot award examples
- Social media shout-out - To recognize an employee by giving them praise on company social media platforms.
- Wall of fame - A wall, in the office or virtual, is used to put up photos of employees doing great work.
- Enjoy a meal on the company - Giving an employee a free lunch, for example, paid for by the company.
- Rotating trophy - A trophy that can recognize an employee who exemplifies a particular value or goes beyond the call of duty on the job. It can be given to a different employee every week or month.
- Spontaneous treats - Giving employees free coffee or snacks.
- Virtual party - Throwing an on-the-spot virtual party to recognize either a team or individual achievement for remote workers.
- Company swag - Giving an employee branded employee goods, such as a hoodie, mug, or notebook.
Monetary spot award examples
- Gift card - A relevant gift card for a particular store for shopping, travel, or dining.
- Cash incentive - Money awarded to the employee on the spot.
- Paid vacation leave - An extra day of paid vacation leave is granted to the employee.
When to give spot awards
Consider the following acts to be noteworthy for a spot award:
- Going beyond the call of duty to help a customer or complete a project.
- Implementation of a creative idea to solve a problem.
- Voluntarily taking the lead on a project.
- Consistent exhibition of one of the values of the organization.
- Assisting a peer when they are struggling.
Spot awards best practices
- Ensure your spot award program is practiced consistently and fairly to avoid overly competitive behavior.
- Do not use it as a replacement for annual bonus awards.
- Ensure social visibility. In other words, make a big deal about it. A spot award is a proud moment for an employee, and sharing it with a larger group will amplify its importance.
- Consider leveraging technology, such as an internal employee recognition platform, email, and social media.
- Empower line managers with the necessary toolkits to properly use spot awards.
- Avoid awarding it to the same employee all the time.
- Ensure that you communicate the process of spot awards in a transparent way.
- Create a threshold for managers to ensure the awards are in line with the company budget.