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Hi Kirsten,
While I have not seen an employee award program in a law firm, I can say that lack of recognition is one of the top 10 reasons why an employee will leave a firm.
Ask yourself “Why do we think we need an employee recognition program?” and “What is the goal of our employee recognition program?”
The tricky part about a formal employee award program, in a law firm, is that different people have different temperaments regarding recognition. Someone who is an extrovert and a “Feeler” (An individual who recognizes the impacts of people on people) would be grateful for the appreciation and support of such a program. Someone else who is an introvert and more of a “Thinker” (An analytical individual who is all about logic) may ask: What is the logic? or What will that achieve? and not appreciate such a program as much.
The most successful “recognition program” I have seen in a law firm chooses the goal to be improved ownership/management relations, improved engagement, and happier workplace culture.
Such efforts included:
– open discussion opportunities (staff meetings, committees) for employees to provide their ideas for improvement
– the ability to be attracted to new challenges, promotions, and money incentives through one time and ongoing career communications
– instant and immediate positive feedback for going above and beyond (gift certificates)
– Kudos at staff meetings to those who have done something exemplary
– Thank yous
– personalized gifts at holiday time and Administrative Assistants week