Advance Corporation
ASI 32180 - PPAI 111135 - UPIC ADVANCE - SAGE 50260

Case Histories

Recognition Doesn't Cost----It PAYS!

With the economic situation as it is, most organizations are looking to cut costs. One cost that should never be cut in a downturn, however, is employee recognition. Recognition will ensure higher morale and better productivity, as employees feel they are being valued and respected, which ultimately translates into better bottom line results throughout the year.

Just recently, a distributor's client decided to eliminate a travel reward program for its employees, but understanding the need to still recognize the employees' accomplishments, the client presented them with a crystal award at a catered luncheon in the organization's cafeteria. The client wrote a note of appreciation to the distributor and commented that the "awards were a real shot in the arm" for the organization as he already observed the level of employee engagement increase.

Take this information to your clients when you are visiting with them about the value of a recognition award program, and show them how Recognition Doesn't Cost - It PAYS - right to the bottom line!


Following are case histories describing how various markets have incorporated recognition items into their programs. It is often thought that recognition is reserved for sales achievement and years of service; however, these examples of other markets will provide an insight into different types of recognition programs which perhaps can be instituted as an addition to programs already in place with your clients.

Distinguished Service

An international manufacturer wanted to recognize specific employees who have contributed to the success of the company throughout the years. This Distinguished Service award was to honor those employees who had served in different capacities above and beyond their normal job. The award they chose was a framed and matted award with a medallion on a ribbon on the top and a copy plate underneath stating the project that the employee was involved in for which they received the award.

Educational Institutions

A state University has a program that honors those who make monetary contributions to the University. The Alumni organization administers the program and allocates the monies to various projects; e.g., scholarships, building funds, equipment replacement, etc. To recognize those contributors who donate a certain amount of money, the University gives them a plaque with a 1/4" thick brass bar and a copy plate. There are two designations in the program; individuals who contribute receive the Presidents Club Award and organizations that contribute receive the Presidents Club Associates Award.


A charitable organization, which holds a telethon every year to raise money for its cause, was also celebrating its 75th anniversary a couple of years ago. In the past the organization had always given the volunteers who have helped with the telethon some item of thanks. This particular year because of the special occasion of their anniversary they decided to also give the volunteers an award. They chose a white plexiglass substrate on which was silkscreened the combination information of the 75th anniversary with celebratory artwork and the telethon graphic to which was added and the heartfelt thank you message for their volunteerism.

Community Organizations

A local community wanted to recognize the winners and runners-up in each of the Youth Baseball divisions at the end of the year and wanted to present something different from the standard trophy. Two sizes were needed to represent first place and runner-up and it was estimated that there would be 50 first place awards and 50 runner-up awards for the four divisions of the youth program. The organization selected the digital graphics awards printed with a baseball theme in a 7 x 9 size for the champions and the 5 x 7 size for the runners-up.

Businesses of all Sizes and Functions (Anniversary)

A local bank was celebrating its 50th anniversary and wanted to present gifts to its employees, board of directors and larger accounts. They estimated the total number of products presented would be 100 to 150. The President of the bank decided on a note holder as it could be used either in an office setting or at home. The logo of the bank was etched on the top of the holder and before the gift was given to the recipients, the President hand wrote the words "Thank You" on the top sheet of the paper pad in the holder and then re-packaged it for presentation.

Businesses of all Sizes and Functions (Years of Service)

Several years ago a firm started an employee recognition program for years of service. The program is structured so that recognition is given for the first year of service, for five years of service, and for each five year increment after that. They set up the program to include two items for each anniversary; one that could be permanently displayed and one more personal. Following is the breakdown of the recognition items presented:

1 Year Brass keytag

5 Years 8" x 10" award
Nautical jacket
10 Years Upscale picture frame
Leather travel bag
15 Years Clock
20 Years Coaster set
25 Years Framed award
Porcelain eagle sculpture
30 Years Crystal bowl
Digital camera

The awards, picture frame, clock and coaster sets all include a personalization area with the employee's name, number of years of service and the signature of the President of the company.

Manufacturing (Safety)

The Safety Division of a manufacturing company designed a program to reward each employee who was part of a team which had (as a team) incurred no lost time accidents and showed a reduction in occurrences reportable to OSHA. The program ran a full year and reinforcement meetings and gatherings were held during the year to keep up the interest. The award they chose was a walnut plaque with two plates. The teams that recorded no lost time accidents and showed a 50% reduction in OSHA recordables received a "Gold Award" with gold plates; those who recorded no lost time accidents and showed a 25% reduction in OSHA recordables received a "Silver Award" with silver plates; and those who recorded no lost time accidents and 10% reduction in OSHA recordables received a "Bronze Award" with bronze plates.

Sports Organizations

The PGA was looking for a large crystal item for the winner of one of its events. They wanted the winner to receive a classy, distinguished looking piece that not only represented the tour event, but also showed that course in particular. They chose the 18" crystal bowl because it could have an aerial view of the golf course etched into the back of it and be surrounded by a contemporary design.

Manufacturing (Productivity)

The manufacturer of breakfast cereal wanted to develop a new variety of a very well known cereal and wanted it to hit the market in a relatively short amount of time. They formed special teams to accomplish their goals and one of them was the Specialty Development Group that prepared the information necessary for the introduction of the new product to the market. To show appreciation to the members of the teams after the project was completed the company presented plaques to each of them. They incorporated the logo of the new cereal into the plate and placed the copy below stating appreciation to the recipient for commitment, speed and dedication.


A pharmaceutical company was introducing a new product to the market and wanted an item to accompany the new product to assist in capturing the attention of hospitals, medical facilities and physicians to whom the product was being sent. The new product itself was packaged in a blue presentation box along with the product information so they chose an artistic glass item of blue translucent colored glass on which a graphic of the product and name were etched in the iridized glass center. The item could then later be used as a display on desks or counter tops.

Businesses of all Sizes and Functions (Recognizing Achievement)

An aerospace company designed a multi-plate plaque recognizing individuals in three separate categories: applications, communications and systems & operations. A large plaque was hung in the lobby of the headquarters building that designated the outstanding individual in each of the categories for each month. A smaller plaque manufactured in similar materials was presented to each of those individuals at a monthly awards function held at the company. At the end of the year, the individual who achieved the highest in each of the categories was presented with the Employee of the Year award at the annual banquet.

Financial Institutions

A bank wanted to reward its employees on a monthly basis for outstanding customer service. This award was to be placed on the employee's desk and they estimated that there would be a minimum of 30 winners per month. They wanted the award to not only show the company logo and what the award was for, but to show each month it was won. The bank decided on an acrylic award mounted on a base to which the recipient could place a medallion etched with the month for each time they met the criteria.


A national vision care plan company wanted to honor their high sales achievers who had assisted in the growth of the company. They wanted a multi-plate plaque so they could just add the years, but they wanted it to be unique. They chose a plaque design on which a brass logo plate was mounted and the theme of the program "Million Dollar Club" was screened. A magnetic-receiving strip was routed into the side of the award and each year the salesperson attained their sales goals, an individual year plate with a magnet on the back could be mounted on the strip.

Investment Companies

A worldwide investment company was looking for an award to welcome employees to its "executive council" for meeting the sales level necessary to be part of the council. They were looking for an award that represented the hard work and innovative thinking of each employee in the council. They chose a prestigious Dymondwood and granite award on which they also have mounted their logo plate. The estimated number of employees who received this award was 800, but the actual number came in much higher. After receiving the award, some employees liked the look so much; they purchased an additional one.

Manufacturing (Patent Awards)

The research and development departments in the many divisions of a large international manufacturer are very successful in inventing new products, processes or parts for which they apply for and receive a patent from the government. In order to recognize these inventors for their achievement, the company has the actual patent (complete with diagram or drawing, if applicable) reproduced on a metal plate and mounted on a plaque. The award is then presented to the recipient of the patent. These awards have been manufactured for several years and the quantity produced is now in the thousands.