Be it a school or a large corporation, award certificates hold value for all. The aura associated with award certificates is irrespective of the age. The award certificate represents the extra mile that an employee has gone for the organization and the acknowledgement of the same by the organization. At the same time, is aspirational for other employees who feel motivated to work harder and perform better to get the same treatment. The award certificate makes the employee feel valued and special.
There are various ways in which organizations recognize their employees and these practices have evolved over time. But, award certificate is one form of recognition that has stood the test of time.
How did award certificates come into being?
During the early 19th century a famous experiment was conducted known as Hawthorne Experiment by a leading sociologist of that era. The experiment was aimed at finding ways to boost the productivity of employees in factories. It was found that if employees were treated with more warmth and appreciation, the productivity increases.
The Hawthorne experiment brought employee awards into existence. Award certificates came soon after in almost every business and industry. Award certificates soon became the best tools to appreciate employees and to make them feel more special. The award certificate may seem to be just a piece of paper but it holds immense emotive value for the recipient.
What are the different types of award certificates?
1. Handmade Certificates
The award certificates have constantly changed over time. Generally, the certificates were given at the end of the year during the 1950s to 1980s; especially Thanksgiving and New Year vacations were special occasions when these certificates were distributed to employees.
The original certificates we made on thick hand-made paper with the name of the employee written on it. At that time, the printers were not so advanced to print such certificates nor was there a requirement for a large number of award certificates.
Hence, these certificates were handmade with calligraphy and embroidery. They were framed and presented to the employees. These certificates have become collectables in today’s world.
2. Printed Certificates
The advent of printers revolutionized the award certificate business. After the 1980s the demand for printed certificates increased. Printers enabled certificates to be made very easily and at one-fourth of the cost of the handmade certificates.
The calligraphy and embroidery were replaced by the new fonts which were more attractive. The intensive manual labour of making a certificate by hand was replaced by machines that increased the output.
Also, there was a change in the way these awards certificates were distributed. From being given during certain special occasions, certificates were being given as and when required.
3. Digital Certificates
This was the third and the most recent wave in award certificates. After the 2000s, the millennium was ruled by computers. Internet and information technology developed rapidly, creating new start-ups that changed the rules of the game and disrupted the traditional practices.
Technology has enabled organizations to design and create award certificates that could be sent over email, consuming very little resources and requiring no or minimal manual effort.
The certificate design and styles also improved vastly. The two-dimensional image certificate could be replaced by three-dimensional video or image certificates. Templates could be made and used to generate innumerable certificates.
The Relevance of Award Certificates today
The workload and stress levels of employees have increased over a period of time. An average employee today feels over-worked, under-compensated and demotivated in most organizations. Hence it is imperative for organizations to keep their employees happy. Most organizations create a formal recognition policy with monetary or other benefits.
No matter what the value of the reward is, the award certificate still holds a lot of social and emotional value for the employee. For the employee, it becomes a status symbol that can be flaunted in front of their colleagues, whether it is physically or digitally.
The awards certificate is not just a piece of paper or attachment in an email for the employees. It is a critical part of the employee rewards and recognition program in every organization.