Why Personalized Employee Recognition Matters

Lynee Luque
May 8 · 4 min read

At Envoy, we’re all about creating great experiences — for our customers and internal teams. In fact, we believe our ability to deliver a modern and human experience for our customers starts with our own employee experience.

What does this look like? It starts with asking different, more recognition-specific questions to our Envoys (what we call our Envoy employees). Instead of asking, “What rewards would you want to receive?” we asked, “How do you like to be recognized?” We got unexpected answers and are building experiences around them. Overwhelmingly, the majority of respondents preferred personalized gestures that acknowledged contributions during their tenure at Envoy. This stood in contrast to the “status quo” employee recognition that we assumed employees wanted: gift cards or something similarly monetary-based.

Turning casual lunch conversations into actionable recognition

In response, one of the ideas we’re bringing to life is the launch of our first work anniversary gift, which we fondly refer to as an Envoy-versary. As many ideas at Envoy do, our Envoy-versary gift idea came to life during a lunch conversation in our dining space. We have large, communal lunch tables and everyone is encouraged to take the first seat available whether or not it’s with people you know.

This can seem daunting at first. However, usually by the time Envoys are eating their second taco, everyone is comfortable. The conversations shift from office small talk about the hot sauce to weekend plans.

Luckily, I happened to be there one day when a lunch conversation shifted from small talk to a discussion about recognition at work. I had some ideas too, but enjoyed listening to their innovative ideas. There was so much passion and energy that we were still discussing ideas even as we finished our meal and put our plates away (yes, we clean up after ourselves).

The makings of an Envoy-versary

What was this novel idea sparked during lunch? While there are many ways to celebrate a work anniversary, the idea centered on the importance of doing so throughout the employee journey. Given this, we felt it was important to begin this recognition on the first day of an employee’s time at Envoy.

Starting this month, each employee received a wooden iPad that commemorates our first product: digital visitor registration. Along with the wooden iPad, every employee gets a commemorative pin each year on their Envoy-versary date. The iPad is small enough to place on the desk yet big enough to add more pins as employees build their multi-year career at Envoy.

Each employee will receive a pin at each annual anniversary that commemorates the anniversary year.

Small-scale but consistent personalized gestures go a long way

The response thus far? We asked one of our newest employees what it meant to her to receive the gift: “I feel very grateful to work for a company that takes the time to recognize their employees. Receiving the Envoy-versary gift made me feel valued and important.”

In addition to marking one-year Envoy-versaries, our design team reveals new pins throughout the year to represent company values (like our colorful pineapple “crush it” pin, in homage to the well-known symbol of hospitality) and celebrate cultural events (like our vintage-inspired Pride pin). In this way, the Envoy-versary gift resonates and expands all-year round, as employees add pins that are most significant to them.

We then asked our longest tenured employee, Larry Gadea, Envoy’s founder and CEO, what this meant to him. “What I like most about the Envoy-versary gift is that I haven’t seen something like this before. The attention to detail on it and creativity is something that couldn’t represent our company better.”

Do you have ideas you want to see come to life? We’re hiring! Join us!

Lynee Luque

Written by

People Leader. Culture Enthusiast. Havanese Owner. California Native.