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Tried-And-Tested Career Advice From 5 Award-Winning Employees

Catch your boss's attention by never settling for mediocrity
by Justine Punzalan | Apr 25, 2018
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Aside from its groundbreaking innovations and half-a-trillion-dollar market cap, Google has been lauded worldwide for its employee-centered workplace. In November 2017, the tech titan was awarded for Best Company Culture by Comparably. “(The results) were derived from sentiment ratings provided by employees who anonymously rated their employers on,” according to the US-based culture and compensation data provider.

Yet more than the free food, electronic car rides to meetings, and in-office game centers, what is it really that makes many of us dream of becoming a Googler? The answer is simple: people are most motivated to work when they are given rewards, which come in many forms. The simplest is the practice of positive reinforcement within one’s company.

Jerico Castro, Managing Director of human resources development company TrainingPH, confirms just that: “Individuals are encouraged to work better when their good efforts are recognized. Some companies give certificates, gifts, or bonuses. For many employees, though, the most important thing is to hear a sincere ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ from their boss.”

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It is also by exercising positive reinforcement internally that their company is able to provide effective people management workshop to their clients. Castro shares, “We practice it by praising our employees for a job well done or by engaging them on one-on-one discussions.” And as for the results: “They perform better, knowing that they are being cared for.”

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Like Google, there are also many organizations in the country that incentivize their manpower with quantifiable rewards. Take it from Giselle, who has been working as Learning and Development Manager of a multinational food and beverage company: “We hold a program wherein employees who exemplify outstanding leadership skills are awarded with certificate and cash. Usually they are the ones who are determined to grow and bring other people up with them.”  It stirs a good amount of positive vibes within the company, with Giselle adding, “People are inspired to aim high not only for the prize, but more importantly, because they are valued.”

The same goes for the IT company that HR partner Joan works for. “Our sales consultants are granted with domestic or international leisure trips whenever they reach their monthly quota,” she says. This incentive system, in turn, has been loading profit to the organization similar to how confidence and determination power up the employees. Joan explains, “The program has been providing them more reasons to appreciate their job and continuously perform well.”

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However, like in all aspects of life, rewards can only be achieved through acing responsibilities. One must be brave enough to do things differently and have the burning passion to keep going for it. And though we may not be working in offices as phenomenal as Google’s, we must learn to flex our creativity, tune up our knowledge, and make the best of everything we have.

FHM interviewed five award-winning employees about their challenging yet fulfilling journey to the top, and how you, too, can work it up the ranks.


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I won this award last September 2017 after achieving 100 percent of my sales goal for three consecutive months.

I earned it by doing what was needed—I met with my clients, updated them on the latest market trends and products, reviewed their investments, and gave recommendations. Then, I went the extra mile by sealing each meeting with a sale. I also made sure that I gave them quality service, that they refer me to their friends who eventually became my new clients.

Before receiving this award, I had a challenge with clients who withdrew their funds and closed their accounts because they preferred other banks over us. I had to move forward. I focused instead on existing clients and ways to earn new ones.

I was motivated to work hard because of my family. I wanted to supply for our family’s financial needs using the cash incentive I was aiming to receive.

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What put me in the lead was that I worked smart and strategized. I listened to my client’s interests and recommended products that I know would only suit their taste and needs. I avoided being “pushy.”

My colleagues took my award as something to be proud of. Our team has developed a relationship made to help one another.

Winning gave me the lesson that there’s great reward and joy for being consistent. Now I know that I can be the best and that I can do it repeatedly.

My career advice is it pays to work hard, but to be more efficient, you must choose to work smart.

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I won this award in January of this year after achieving success in leading an employee development program that improved their attitude towards themselves and their work.

I earned it by aiming to make an impact in the business. When I did the program, my goal was not to attain recognition, but to ensure that all the project objectives were met. The award came as a bonus.

Before receiving this award, I had a challenge with finding meaning in my work. I wanted to do something different. I was yearning for development. It consequently led me to creating this program.

I was motivated to work hard because of my desire to keep growing into a better version of myself. The trust that my leaders gave me meant a lot, too. Whenever they assign an important task, I do my best in exceeding their expectations and showing appreciation for their confidence in me.

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What put me in the lead was that I took initiative. As Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

My colleagues took my award as an example of how teamwork, anchored by good leadership, can produce results that exceed expectations.

Winning gave me the lesson to always give my best and be sincere in everything I do.

My career advice is have a vision of what you want to be and own your career. Never stop learning and share those lessons to others.


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I won this award last June 2017 after achieving a grade of 4.5 on my scorecard.

I earned it by making sure that each call that I took was only within the required time limit, that customers were always satisfied with how I assisted them, and that I had perfect attendance during those four months. I also studied processes by heart and observed how my performing teammates worked on these processes.

Before receiving this award, I had a challenge with proving I was competent. It even came  to a point where I was enrolled in a program called “Performance Improvement Plan.” It was intended to help employees who are not capable of meeting the minimum requirements of their position. I worked double-time after that.

I was motivated to work hard by my girlfriend. She was my teammate and she received the same award a year before I did. She wanted me to work hard, too. So, she thought of holding a healthy competition between us. It did made me strive hard and eventually, win the award.

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What put me in the lead was my dedication to carry out all my responsibilities and to improve myself every time. I also made sure that I was at my best whenever a call came in. I wanted to start each one with a good impression.

My colleagues took my award in two different ways—others congratulated me, while some took it as a threat. It showed me who my real friends are. And that pushes me to keep making a winner out of myself.

Winning gave me the lesson that I can be the best employee. I also learned that if you train yourself to be strong enough, trials can never keep you down.

My career advice is to celebrate even your simplest achievements, yet remember to keep your feet on the ground. Always believe in yourself. Every great accomplishment starts with a strong trust in oneself.

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I won this award last December 2016 after achieving the highest average rating in the company’s annual performance appraisal.

I earned it by knowing all my goals and accomplishing them on time, practicing a sense of ownership of my work, and stepping up to suggest new, creative projects.

Before receiving this award, I had a challenge with having our management agree to my proposed marketing campaigns. I gave my best for each, but they ended up being disapproved. It made me feel unappreciated. But then I took it as a challenge to keep on trying harder.

I was motivated to work hard by my faith in the Lord and in the idea that good things come to those who never give up.

What put me in the lead was that I delivered results fast. At the same time, my bosses saw that I had the potential of a leader even if I was still working as staff.

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My colleagues took my award as something that made them look forward to a stronger and better team. I was promoted as team leader after receiving it. And I assured them that with all the hard work that everyone puts in, we would continue performing well as one team.

Winning gave me the lesson that all hard-work pays off. Having patience and making sacrifices can help you succeed in life.

My career advice is to see that change may be a challenge, but when it’s for the better, it’s definitely worth taking. Don’t let the trials bring you down, but push you up.

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I won this award last December 2017 after achieving success on various tasks beyond my job role.

I earned it by working all-around. Besides overseeing the fabrication of our products, I also had a hand in creating. I worked very closely with everyone in our studio, to the point that I’d take on their responsibilities if more manpower was needed. I was on top of everything.

Before receiving this award, I had a challenge with gaining a hundred percent of my boss’ trust. I was only permitted to work up to a certain extent back then. I was confident with how I delivered, but I guess not everyone saw it that way.

I was motivated to work hard because of my pursuit for excellence. I consider myself a go-getter and I do not settle for mediocre work. I didn’t want people thinking I was incompetent.

What put me in the lead was that I took on any task that was given to me. Passing work to someone else wasn’t an option. If there was something I wasn't familiar with, I would research and spend time learning it.

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My colleagues took my award as something to be happy about. We have a lean team, so maintaining good rapport with each other comes naturally.

Winning gave me the lesson that opportunities come when you work hard enough. Always play to win and finish strong.

My career advice is to keep on learning. Do not settle for a job that doesn't allow you to grow. Do what you love and always give it your all.


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