You've got an employee of the month program. It's lame. People are generally immune to it. Sure, the attempt at recognition is noted and appreciated, but once you try and spread it around, its effect diminishes.
"This month's employee of the month (month 59 in the program) is Johnny Ryall. What makes him special? We're not sure - but he's NEXT, people. Celebrate the life of Johnny with us, and make sure you stop by shipping to say hi to Johnny. He's introverted, so if he's looking down, it's not inappropriate, ladies, he's just shy. On second thought, just send him a note. He rarely checks email, but it will mean a lot to him."
Feel me? It's month 59 of the program. You need to freshen it up a bit.
Here's a couple of big ideas:
1. Insert a work team as the "employee of the month". Do this, and you're showing the power of collaboration. We all have one or two teams that work better together than others, with less pettiness and human condition than others. Celebrating a team instead of an individual would seem in the wheelhouse of what you value, no?
2. Related - if you can't figure out a team, celebrate a duo of employees that work well together as the employee of the month.
When you celebrate groups instead of individuals as employees of the month, you're really saying that the people in question are different that other teams or duos... You're saying they're less selfish, have less ego and generally look to the greater good instead of thinking of themselves all the time.
And that seems like a good way to mix up your employee of the month monotone.