Using Awards to Motivate Staff

What do awards mean to fleets, and how can they be used to improve operations and morale?

June 1, 2014

by Thi Dao - Also by this author

When I’m touring fleet facilities, it’s always interesting to note what kind of recognition programs exist in each fleet.

In May, we held our first Government Fleet Expo & Conference (GFX) Road Show in the Southern California area, where we visited and got tours of six public fleet facilities in San Diego and Orange counties. We saw walls of awards and certifications, as well as trophy displays showing department achievements in many facilities. I saw a wall of at least 20 certificates for just one technician alone, adjacent to his work bay. We saw Employee of the Month photos and a giant Garage of the Year wrench trophy. People are proud of their awards.

What do awards mean to fleets, and why are they important to the industry?

Providing Motivation
People go to work for the paycheck. But they stay, mostly, because they’re happy with their jobs, because it motivates or challenges them in some way, or they like their coworkers or the cars they work on.

Recognition programs provide another way for fleets to reward their staff and for the industry to reward its highest performers. There are individual recognition programs you may have at your fleet, such as Employee of the Month, which may come with a small perk such as a nearby parking spot for the month. There are internal team awards such as safety programs that encourage safe operations, which may come with group awards such as a catered lunch. There are industry awards that recognize both the accomplishments of individuals and entire operations, including Government Fleet’s own awards. There are certificates that prove excellence or competency in a specific topic or overall operations.

Whatever it is, there are many ways available to recognize your staff and people, and it often doesn’t cost anything. You can certainly provide monetary prizes, but they aren’t necessary.

Recognition programs can provide motivation and promote healthy competition, as well as goal-setting, and encourage staff to become more knowledgeable and efficient. It pushes fleet managers to continually improve.

Also important is that recognition programs help professionalize this industry. Awards programs can bring positive attention to fleet and what a complex job fleet management is as well as the areas in which technicians are highly proficient.

And recognition doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of specific, preset programs. It’s easy to recognize someone for a job they do well, and it can be as simple as noting their accomplishment during a meeting or stopping by their work area to let them know. I doubt any of your staff would complain about a “congratulations” and a pat on the back.

Strive for Continuous Improvement
What might be best about recognition programs is the drive for continuous improvement. Even if you don’t achieve that one specific goal or award this year, you can learn from the experience.

We manage a few awards here at Government Fleet, and one action I’ve been impressed with is a fleet that applied for the Leading Fleets and didn’t make the list. The fleet manager e-mailed me to get more information, and he eventually set up a meeting with one of the judges to discuss how he could improve his fleet to better qualify for the award next year.

What are some creative methods you’ve used to motivate staff? How have you used awards to improve your fleet’s morale and operations?
[email protected]


  1. 1. Steve Kibler [ June 23, 2014 @ 02:42PM ]

    Staff recognition is a huge player in organizational success AND moral. In Loveland, we do all we can and I feel that when it comes to recognizing our front line workers, we are better than others. The single most valued recognition that we award our people is free; the closest parking space to our building for the employee of the month. If we forget to award that even one day after day #1, we hear about immediately. So – don’t overlook the free stuff.

  2. 2. Allen Mitchell [ July 16, 2014 @ 05:47PM ]

    I agree that employee awards are amongst the best motivators for all levels of staff. Continuous improvement is also a worthwhile goal - staying in a stuck
    - state is truly a killer for improvement and innovation. The best is only achieved at a point in time, but is not a permanent position. Giving staff an achievable goal is worthwhile to all concerned.

Comment On This Story

Email: (Email will not be displayed.)  
Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Recent Topics

We are in the middle of standardizing PM process with all of our technicians. And I'm asking if anyone has a standard pm checklist for...

View Topic

Hello to all the members I am checking to see if anyone is using a company for GPS/AVL called Fleet Complete (AT&T)? I would like to...

View Topic

Fleet Documents

1134 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Author Bio

Thi Dao

sponsored by

Executive Editor

Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

» More

Sponsored by

Tesla Motors is an electric vehicle manufacturer founded in 2003.

Read more