Employee recognition idea: use Poll Everywhere to celebrate milestones

Have you ever tried to get an office of 50+ people to sign a birthday card?

It’s not easy. There was a time when we at Poll Everywhere used paper cards to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other excuses for a party. But we kept losing the cards under a pile of papers, and a few people routinely forgot to sign (you know who you are).

Despite our best efforts, those cards rarely made it to their intended recipient on time.

The search for the perfect e-card platform

employee recognition idea sam

As Office Manager — aka greeting card chaser — I went searching for a solution. E-cards are a thing, right? Surely those will make our lives a bit easier. I had a few simple, but non-negotiable, requirements in an e-card platform:

  1. It had to be customizable. Not all events are created equal, and a good employee recognition idea has to adapt to the occasion.
  2. It had to have electronic signatures. Writing and reading entertaining signatures are half the fun. Plus, signatures are a prerequisite for need #3.
  3. I needed to be able to see how many people responded to the card, to make sure we had a good representation. (Otherwise I’d have to hound encourage more people to participate.)

Not for nothing, doing things digitally would also solve a huge problem with paper greeting cards: our remote workers could actually take part in the festivities. Since we have a lot of remotes at Poll Everywhere, this quickly resolved problem #3. The responses rolled in quickly and I didn’t have to chase people down.

I was admittedly hesitant to give up the good ol’ traditional greeting card feel. And at the end of the day, I’ll go with what’s best for the team, rather than what’s easier for me.

To my relief, the e-cards experiment resulted in a more heartfelt delivery. They were delivered on time, every time. And as a bonus we saw an uptick in responses. This might be because space is no longer an issue, but I suspect it’s because everyone knows their congratulations will be seen company wide.

With paper greeting cards, there tends to be a pressure to sign quickly and pass the card on. Using polls as cards, though, everyone has plenty of time to chime in. That means everyone could (and did) write from a more genuine, unhurried place. The unlimited space and timing we got from e-cards allowed for genuine comments. That beats traditional paper filled with generic “congratulations!” every time.

Card chaser no more.

My employee recognition idea/platform of choice: Poll Everywhere

It didn’t take long for it to dawn on me: we have the perfect e-card platform right in front of us. Poll Everywhere checked all the boxes. Plus, we already use it for everything else. Why not employee recognition?

Here’s how to use Poll Everywhere’s open-ended polls as the ultimate employee recognition idea.


Try it: celebrate an employee birthday with a birthday poll template



Customize visual settings to match the occasion

Once you’ve created your poll, customize it to match the occasion. In edit mode, upload a background photo, or use the built-in Flickr search. I use these mainly for work anniversaries (or “polleversaries,” in Poll Everywhere lingo), so a photo of the lucky employee usually suffices.

Next, I play around with the look and feel until I think it jives with the employee’s personality.

employee recognition idea

Require registered participants (or not)

Under response settings, check “Registered participants only” to make sure only those who are registered can respond to the poll. If you don’t want to require registration, you could also simply instruct respondents to attach their name to the end of their comment.

employee recognition idea, registered participants


Now you’re ready to send! Just grab the “Live results” link under the “Present” tab, like so:

employee recognition idea, live results

You can send that link via email, social media, text message — anywhere you can paste a link. I usually send these out a few days before the anniversary. Dare I say they’ve been much more rewarding than paper cards.

And that’s how I do employee recognition, Poll Everywhere-style.