Catchy Name Ideas for Your Employee Recognition Program

July 30, 2020

In Employee Engagement

Recognition program name ideas

Gold Star, MVP, Kudos, President’s Circle…you’ve probably heard these employee recognition program names more than once before. Perhaps they’ve even made the short list for your own program. Of course, there is nothing wrong with using a generic name; if you have a program in place, you’re doing well no matter what it’s called!

However, if you’re looking for something a bit more creative and unique, you’ve come to the right place. An employee recognition program is the way you acknowledge achievements and reinforce behaviors within your organization. A communication vehicle of sorts! Done well, it has the power to improve employee engagement, retention and performance. For a program with all this potential, it’s not surprising you’re looking for a noteworthy name to match.

Creativity is in our DNA, and we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Read on to see our suggestions for catchy recognition program name ideas.

Catchy Names for Employee Recognition Programs


We’re a little biased here…Inspiraction is our own (peer-to-peer) recognition program name! It is the combination of inspire + action. The thinking behind it is that recognition inspires others to do more positive actions, and it works the other way around too – acts of recognition inspire others! Plus “to inspire” is part of our core purpose; what better way to reflect our brand and culture? For our visual, we used the same “a” from the Altrum logo and added 2 arrows around it to show that inspire and action have a cause and effect relationship that can be interchanged.

inspiraction recognition programDoes it resonate with you as well? Don’t be shy to borrow it. We’d be flattered if you used the same name as us!

Perfect for:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition
  • Team performance program
  • Individual performance program

The Alfred Award(s)

Arguably the world’s most famous butler, Batman’s Alfred is a legend when it comes to exemplary customer service, loyalty, and overall efficiency. If your company is into the whole superhero theme, you can even do a series: The Alfred Award for customer service, the Joker Award for product innovation, and the Batman Award for sales performance. These fun and creative award names will give you plenty to work with in terms of storytelling and visuals to recognize your internal heroes – think about how cool the awards will look!

Perfect for:

  • Customer Service Program
  • Years of Service and Retirement Program

King/Queen of Hearts Award(s)

Recognize benevolence, teamwork, customer service or a person who truly lives the company values at their core with this award! It’s a great name that puts kindness centerstage and encourages employees to show empathy towards clients and each other. For a Royal Flush, add the Jack of all Trades Award to recognize an employee who is constantly learning new skills, and the Ace of Spades Award to recognize a high performer!

Perfect for:

  • Employee performance recognition program
  • Peer-to-peer recognition

Great Heights

Have a culture of achieving extraordinary goals and/or a team of outdoor enthusiasts? Draw inspiration from the mountaintops. The Accounting team may collectively win the Mount Everest Award for crushing new KPI’s. The Mount Kilimanjaro Award might be handed out for most improved performance. Is risk-taking a company value? Proudly presenting…the Black Diamond Award! You could even work these themes into training programs. Imagine trainees graduating from the  course to  terrain.

Perfect for:

  • Company goals and milestones
  • Values-based recognition
  • Team-performance program

The (Your company name) Orchestra

A typical orchestra can have as many as 120 musicians who work in harmony to create beautiful music. What a great analogy for teamwork in the corporate world! Begin with The Conductor Award to recognize leadership – managers deal with a lot of pressure every day, so to have an award dedicated to recognizing middle management can be very motivating for your aspiring leaders and for people already in leadership positions. Add the Symphony Award to recognize teams or people who work graciously together, and the Standing Ovation Award to honor your retirees. Draw the curtains on your employee recognition program and let the show begin!

Perfect for:

  • Team-performance program
  • Years of Service and Retirement program

Pro tips

The key to the “catchiness” of any employee recognition program name is that it makes sense for YOUR company. Ensure it has meaning to your people, reflects your culture and is connected to your brand. Keep it simple and easy to remember. And think about how it may withstand the changes of time!

Check out our special bonus list for more inspiration:

  1. If you work in recruitingPeople’s Choice Program
  2. If you work in travel or transportation..Topflight Awards
  3. If you work with animalsBest in Show Program, Pedigree Program
  4. If you work in technologyBreak the Code Awards
  5. If you’re in the music industry ..High Notes (works for cannabis too 😉)
  6. If you work in health carePulse Awards
  7. If you work in constructionSkyscraper Program
  8. If you work in miningPrecious Medals
  9. If you work in financial servicesGreatest Assets Program
  10. If you work in hospitalityTop Shelf Awards

How we rolled out Inspiraction at Altrum

Ok, you found a name you like. Now what? If you’re new to setting up your employee recognition program, this next section is for you. Below is a quick rundown of how Inspiraction was rolled out at Altrum!

Step 1: Choose what you will recognize and how

An essential starting point is to identify the employee recognition program goal and which behaviors warrant recognition. At Altrum, we had recently modified our core values so our Inspiraction goal was simple: to ensure we live these values. Choosing what to recognize then became clear. We’d base our recognition criteria and awards on our new core values and use peer-to-peer recognition as the foundation.

We introduced the Client Focus Award, Better Every Day Award, Teamwork Award and Support & Determination Award (for managers) and designed a 3-tiered approach to incorporate multi-directional recognition.

Tier 1: Employees recognize each other for living our values.

Tier 2: Employees vote on nominees + managers select finalists and awardees.

Tier 3: The exec team appoints Value Ambassadors at the end of the fiscal year to receive special prizes.

Of course, peer and values-based recognition are just 2 of many ways to structure your program.

Other recognition programs for employees:

Individual performance award program

Customer service, sales performance, project management guru…you can make it as specific as you want or leave it as a broader performance program depending on the size of your company.

Company goals and milestones

Whether it’s hitting a revenue target or gaining market share, this type of program shines the light on results and contributions.

Team recognition

They say ‘it takes a village.’ A program based on team performance pays tribute to collaboration and work towards a shared goal.

Years of service recognition program

1 year, 5 years, 30 years…you can find unique and special ways to show appreciation for tenure.

Retirement recognition program

Whether it’s called the Take a Bow, Standing Ovation, or the Legends Program…a genuine thank you goes a long way as a dedicated employee closes an important chapter in their life.

Step 2: Choose the right platform to manage your employee recognition program

Since we based our first tier on peer recognition, a social recognition platform was the perfect place to house our Inspiraction program. We also happen to have such a platform right in house – Celebration.

Program adoption is easier when the platform is already a part of the way you work, so consider leveraging your internal resources, like a company intranet, to manage your program. Use it to make your program criteria clear and transparent to all.

Step 3: Launch your internal marketing campaign

Then make it exciting! Introduce it in a way that creates a buzz. Leverage the creative talents of your internal communications, marketing and/or HR departments to create clear, easy-to-understand and fun material for your program.

At Altrum, we paired the launch of Inspiraction with the introduction of our new value program, complete with newly-branded swag, a company breakfast and even a fashion show. Many of us will never forget the Zoolander pivots in the middle of our conference room while noshing on sesame bagels with blueberry cream cheese…

After the launch, keep the momentum going by reminding employees of the program. We hung some pretty posters in the office, we talk about it in our internal newsletter, and we discuss it in our company meetings. Your employee recognition program is an integral part of your culture, it should be part of many conversations!

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