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All You Need To Know About Spot Awards

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All You Need To Know About Spot Awards

In recent years, spot awards or spot recognition has emerged as one of the most effective ways of boosting employee motivation and engagement. Here’s all you need to know about spot awards.

What are Spot Awards?

5 Common Mistakes in Employee Recognition Programs

As the name suggests, organizations utilize spot awards to reward and recognize exemplary performance or commendable behavior of employees immediately, as and when it happens.

What is the Importance of Spot Awards?

Driving Workforce Productivity through Employee Recognition Software

It is a well-acknowledged fact that rewards and recognition help in enhancing the performance and commitment levels of employees.

In this context, spot awards or on-the-spot recognition has emerged as an extremely powerful tool for reinforcing desirable behaviors and boosting the effectiveness of the workforce.

This is because this method of recognition assures the employees that their supervisors value their efforts and behaviors.

Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organizational Culture

They can receive spot awards almost immediately or as soon as possible after the act of good performance.

This timeliness and specificity of spot awards makes them extremely effective in motivating employees.  

Employee Recognition Can Drive Innovation By Creating the Right Culture

Spot awards help employers to express their gratitude towards employees for a job done well and also to set an example for the entire workforce.

To make spot awards more impactful it is important to instantly recognize and appreciate performance/ behaviors that the organization wants to promote.

There should be a strong linkage with the overall business goals of the organization or the kind of culture it wants to create.

What are the Best Practices for Spot Awards?

The primary objective of Spot Awards is to recognize employee efforts and behaviors on the fly and at the moment.

To get the best results from this method of recognition, organizations can adopt the following best practices:

All you Need to Know about Spot Awards

1. Empower Line Managers

Should Rewards and Recognition be only for Entry-Level Employees?

Empowering line managers to offer spot recognition is one of the most important factors to make the program successful.  

Providing supervisors with digital recognition tools, budgets, and minimal approvals would encourage them to reward and recognize employees as and when they demonstrate good performance or behavior.

This helps in building a strong culture of appreciation at the ground level. When their supervisors recognize them immediately, employees feel truly happy and proud.

It also assures them that they are on the right path in the execution of their business goals.

2. Establish Well-defined Criteria

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The organization should establish well-defined criteria for spot recognition, like any other employee recognition policy.

This is essential to create transparency, authenticity, and credibility of the award in the eyes of the employees and make it something that they would aspire for.

To make the policy more effective, each type of spot award should have well-defined criteria.

This would make it easier for line managers to choose the right level of award based on the impact of the performance/ behavior of the employee.

3. Ensure Social Visibility

Awards Event

Spot recognition is generally offered at the moment, but to make it more effective it should be announced more publicly within the organization.

Spot award announcements should be shared either on social media or through a digital wall of fame, to create a high level of social visibility.

4. Leverage Digital Recognition Platforms


Using a digital employee rewards and recognition platform to give spot recognition can make it more effective.

A recognition platform helps managers and supervisors to reward and recognize instantly.

It also helps create social visibility by integrating them with other digital platforms in the organization like Slack and Teams or external social media like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Also Read: Manage Spot Awards Using Employee Recognition Software

5. Include Monetary Benefits

Gift Cards

One of the key success factors of spot rewards is to offer monetary benefits to the recipients.

The organization should tailor the monetary benefits based on the budgets and employee expectations.

Digital recognition platforms can help organizations provide monetary benefits for spot awards in the form of reward points.

These reward points can be accumulated over time by the recipients and then redeemed for e-gift cards of their choice.

Being able to choose their e-gift cards makes the recognition experience more personalized and memorable.

What are the Drawbacks of Spot Awards and How to Avoid them?

All you Need to Know about Spot Awards

1. Short-term Focus

Employees might focus on short-term achievements for receiving spot awards.

These achievements might not be in sync with the longer term business goals

Hence, it is important for organizations to set clear criteria for spot awards, rather than leaving it completely at the discretion of the supervisors.

2. Perceived Bias/ Favoritism

Other employees might perceive it as favoritism or unfairness on part of the manager or supervisor.

This might dent the credibility of the entire employee recognition program.

Apart from setting clear criteria, organizations might also introduce some sort of moderation by the HR or the management.

3. Overdependence on Rewards

If not managed properly, too many spot awards may make employees overdependent on them for doing their work.

Instead of motivating employees to do better, it might create a culture of entitlement.

Defining clear criteria, moderation by the HR or the management and restricting the number of awards could ensure that the awards are given for the right reasons.


In recent times, powered by digital employee recognition programs, spot awards have emerged as one of the most effective tools for boosting employee motivation and engagement.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.