Jeff Keleher

Nothing says the holidays like your annual office party. Oh, sure, some people get jazzed about carving turkey, opening presents, drinking hot cocoa and even carolling. But here at Brafton, what really gets us pumped about this time of year is knowing that our company’s holiday party is just over the horizon.

And what would an office party be without employee awards? Thanks to Michael Scott and “The Office,” pretty much all companies that fancy themselves fun places to work have their version of the “Dundies” today. (Yes, we call our employee awards the “Brafties.” We’re creative, but not that creative.) It’s a fun way to reward staff members for all the hard work they do day in and day out, and maybe even give some recognition to those unsung heroes who may fly under the radar a little bit. The Luol Dengs of your organization, you might say.

But, can’t we all agree that employee awards have kind of gotten a little stale? Do we really need to watch Brenda from Accounting receive the award for punctuality yet again? She comes in earlier than everyone else, we get it.

Well, if you want to spice up your next office party – holiday-related or otherwise – we’ve got just the thing for you: a definitive – yes, definitive – list of all the top funny awards for employees. These have been carefully, and I mean carefully, curated from the depths of the internet, so you know you’re only getting the best of the best here. There may even be a few inspired by members of our own Brafton team. Which one came from Mike O’Neill? I’ll let you decide.

6 Funny Award Titles

“The Chronic Phrase Coiner” Award

Some people aren’t content with just calling a meeting a “meeting” or a brainstorming session a “brainstorming session.” It seems like for them every event, no matter how large or small in scale it is, deserves a special, unique monicker. They just can’t help themselves but devise new names to describe every occasion, whether they’re one-time, emergency conferences or mundane, regularly scheduled meetings. It may be a form of psychosis. Who’s to say?

Still, these individuals keep things from getting too stale around the office by ceaselessly coining new phrases for every conceivable situation. That takes a lot of creativity and hard work to bang out fresh terminology day after day, and it’s worth drawing attention to their unending commitment with an award.

“Destructo, the Destroyer of Corporate Jargon” Award

Most of us have come to grips with the fact that jargon is an inescapable part of content marketing, despite our best efforts to stamp it out. Synergy, paradigm shifts, bandwidth – these phrases will be with us until the day we die.

Some folks haven’t given up the ghost just yet, though, and continue to eliminate corporate jargon wherever they find it. Every company has at least one person who is steadfastly committed to stamping out buzzwords, even if their efforts are in vain. Give them their proper due by highlighting their ongoing commitment to their originality and creativity, as well as the inhuman amount of restraint they show any time someone brings up action items, elevator pitches or low-hanging fruit.

“Get This Man a Damn Watch Already” Award

If you absolutely insist on awarding your most punctual staff members, consider also giving some recognition to those employees who are a little, let’s say, time-challenged. Just because someone doesn’t roll into the office until well after 9 a.m. every day doesn’t mean they aren’t getting things done on time. I mean, it’s 2018, punctuality is so passe. Give a shout-out to the tardy folks.

Let’s be honest, the concept of the 9-to-5 office is pretty much dead at this point, and most experts agree that a looser schedule is good for employee morale. So, why not throw a little appreciation toward those people who do a great job even though they aren’t what you’d call a morning person? It’s a fun way to let your staff know you value the quality of their work rather than how much time they spend idling away at their desk.

Better yet, showcase those select few who work on a completely different schedule outside the norm, whether they’re telecommuting from a remote island or are just more productive during the wee hours of the night.

“No Man Is an Island” Award

Look, remote employees need to be shown a little love too. Now, I know, it’s easy to forget about them sometimes because they’re not coming around to the office every day, but believe you me, those telecommuters are out there making the world go ‘round.

The “No Man Is an Island” award acknowledges that remote worker who goes the extra mile to stay plugged in, engaged and a contributing member of the organization – both in terms of their great work and how they help establish your company culture.

It’s a great way to stop and say, “Hey, we know you exist. We didn’t forget about you. And here’s a certificate to prove it. The printer ran out of color ink, sorry.”

Obviously, there are logistics concerns with giving a remote employee an award, but you can always have that person Skype or FaceTime into your office party. The marvels of modern technology: Keeping your remote employees connected to the real world and potentially even helping them stave off cabin fever.

“The Snackmaster” Award*

People pay a lot of lip service to things like organizational culture and flexible working hours when talking up their companies, but you know what they really care about? Snacks. Free ones, to be specific.

“The Snackmaster” gives a shout-out to that employee who ensures there’s always a fresh supply of Goldfish crackers, La Croix, fun-size Snickers and mini-bags of Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion potato chips within arm’s reach of their team members.

Those little pick me ups throughout the day have a huge impact on morale, and it just goes to show that sometimes the most seemingly trivial actions leave the biggest impressions.

*Also known as “The Snack Wrangler” Award.

“The Modern-Day Bill Walsh” Award*

In a weird way, managers don’t always get their proper due. (Did I really just write that?) For all the big and little things they handle in a day, month or quarter, sometimes we overlook the role they play in employee development. As detailed and comprehensive as your onboarding and training program may be, it’s up to the individual managers and supervisors to actually execute it.

Every battle-tested company veteran started out as a fresh newbie who needed to be shown the ropes. Even the most talented hotshots among us have needed help along the way to hone our skills, learn the industry and just get better at the job.

If you look back at all the employees different managers have trained, you can probably spot some trends in terms of who tended to have the most productive and capable team members. While others tended to churn out the corporate equivalent of Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini and Charlie Weis. It’s no different than a football coaching tree, really.

I mean did the vaunted Chicago Tech team come about by pure happenstance, or was Matt Kaplan just that good at coaxing the best out of his staff?

“The Kingmaker” Award gives recognition to those managers who don’t just conduct the odd bit of training every now and then, but actively develop their employees’ skills on a day-to-day basis. There are a lot of intangibles that go into it, but if year after year someone is consistently overseeing the best and brightest of your organization, chances are they’ve got that X factor.

*Also known as the “Bizarro Bill Belichick” Award.

If nothing else, hopefully this list of funny award titles for employees shows that you don’t have to rely on the same, tired tropes with your own ceremony. Get creative and recognize those attributes that make your office a more fun and interesting place to work at.

Mix it up a little and show some appreciation for those employees who positively contribute to your company in ways that aren’t as easily quantifiable as the number of new accounts they land or sales they bring in. Your staff will thank you for it, even if they don’t actually say it with, like, words and stuff.

Got a few funny award titles for employees in your backpocket? Let us know all about them in the comments below.