Take A Cue From The Military: Build Pride And Reward Excellence With Challenge Coins

Rewarding team members and demonstrating appreciation for their service and great work is one of the most important parts of any organization’s work as an employer. If you want to create a high-quality culture, it starts with your team members. If you’re not showing you appreciate those team members, you’re doomed to lose them.

There are many creative ways of acknowledging your employees. One that has a particularly enduring impact is the use of challenge coins. Originating in the military – with a history possibly even dating to the Roman Empire – challenge coins are used today by a wide variety of organizations to recognize team members and others, building loyalty, strengthening connections and creating a sense of belonging. They are a powerful and unique way of telling someone that their efforts matter.

Fryed Egg Productions can design and source challenge coins that are an ideal fit for your organization. Here’s what you need to know.


Challenge coins started in the military to recognize special achievements but today have been adopted by organizations of all kinds for a range of purposes. Businesses and other employers give them to team members to celebrate new career accomplishments, tenure milestones, innovative problem-solving efforts, cases of sterling customer service, and instances of exceptional organizational loyalty, among other compelling reasons. In some organizations, they are not just given to team members. For instance, nonprofits award them to donors, volunteers and others who work to support their mission, and academic institutions provide them to alumni and others to support school spirit. Similarly, businesses can award them to long-time customers or partners to honor that relationship.


Ideally, a challenge coin should not be common or distributed for simple accomplishments. Otherwise, they will have little cachet and carry no special meaning to those who receive them. We all know when we’ve really earned something, and we feel no great value in something that was easy to earn. However, that does not mean making them obtainable only for those in elite, rarefied air within an organization. They should be attainable to team members in lower levels of seniority and in all types of positions – after all, making the coins teamwide engages all team members. Challenge coins are a way for an organization to convey to team members the respect and esteem that it feels for them. It ensures they understand that not only are their efforts noticed but they are truly valued. This helps strengthen team members’ morale, loyalty to their organizations, and their understanding that their work matters.


The designs for challenge coins should be unique to each organization and each purpose. A challenge coin’s distinctiveness is a crucial piece of its appeal and power. A coin’s design should feature the awarding organization in some striking visual manner, such as with a logo or iconic image, and it should provide insight into the coin’s meaning with an insignia. You will want it to align with your brand, creating a memorable token for your team while underlining who you are as an organization. Remember that these coins are meant to be held and displayed with pride – commit to creating a design worthy of the efforts being honored.

At Fryed Egg, we can help you build a strategy for a robust employee recognition plan, produce recognition events, and introduce new internal and public-facing ways to recognize employees. We help organizations strengthen their cultures and achieve meaningful results. If you want to see if Fryed Egg is the right agency for your needs, contact us at (813) 478-0494 or [email protected] or visit www.FryedEgg.com.