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42 Best Employee Recognition Ideas & Employee Recognition Examples From Real Companies In 2024

By March 14, 2024 June 5th, 2024 57 Comments

It pays to be really good at employee recognition.

Companies with a solid strategy to recognize team members enjoy stronger engagement, increased employee morale, better customer service, and lower turnover.
Acknowledging achievement can have serious ROI - to the tune of 50% higher productivity and as much as 20% increase in business outcomes. Share on X

employee-recognition-header

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Well, it’s not as easy as it seems. You need to find the right ways to recognize employees at your company.

To do that, it first helps to get a better understanding of employee recognition ideas and their benefits.

Establishing and maintaining a successful team recognition initiative takes work. The employee recognition software and ideas in this list are designed to help you build staff recognition into your culture and ensure that this investment produces positive results.

Are you looking for a specific type of recognition?

Explore these five categories to find the best fit for your company: 

So without further ado, let’s explore SnackNation’s comprehensive list of case studies, interviews, and real-world examples that highlight the types of recognition ideas you can implement this year.

Individual Recognition Ideas

Employee recognition ideas range from big to small ways companies say “thank you” to their hard-working employees.

The most meaningful ideas will be personal, memorable, and often reflective of an aspect of company culture or the type of work they do. Delivered with care and thoughtful employee engagement ideas, meaningful recognition can boost employee retention and morale. 

  1   Send a Spot Bonus 

bonusly

Courtesy of Bonusly

When someone meets a goal, does something admirable, or goes above and beyond, show your appreciation immediately with words of praise and a spot bonus through your recognition platform. 

Spot bonuses can be a great way to encourage collaboration and teamwork daily — especially between employees who work on distributed teams.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

Chobani leadership learned from company surveys that while employees loved working there, they craved more recognition. The company’s HR team was running manual recognition efforts, but everyone saw the benefit of leveraging technology to create a comprehensive and efficient recognition system that ensured no one would be left out. 

chobani-logo

Their search for the perfect technology led them to Bonusly. They knew the tool could make their recognition efficient, meaningful, and scalable. 

Here’s how Andrew Schrader, HR Manager at Chobani, describes his company’s experience with Bonusly:

andrew-chobani-transparent-bg “It doesn’t matter how many coworkers people have, they just want to be told they’re doing a good job.

Instead of being driven from the top down, our success with Bonusly grew organically. Our employees wanted frequent recognition, and the program empowers them to recognize each other. Having the ability to recognize someone immediately is the most valuable part of Bonusly.”

Send spot bonuses to your employees with a digital recognition tool. Easy to set up, onboard your team members, and build recognition into your company culture. 👉 Explore this list of platforms!

 

  2   Create a Daily “Shoutout” Channel 

Create a #gratitude-wall Slack channel

A daily “shoutout” channel can make a big difference in connecting employees working on collaborative projects. It also creates a space to appreciate peers by letting the team know when a colleague goes above and beyond.

Perfect for hybrid teams that work on projects from multiple locations, a channel using apps like Slack, Gmail, or Nectar can help to build recognition into the DNA of your company.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

The sales engagement platform XANT recognized the importance of daily recognition. This helped to create a team culture where even the little wins were recognized for their success in the company. It also allowed managers to get first-hand insights into ways employees were supporting each other.

XANT-Logo

Sales teams turn to XANT for expert help managing their sales engagements. XANT turned to Nectar for expert help managing and optimizing their rewards and recognition efforts. The collaboration didn’t just reinforce XANT’s commitment to recognition, but it also inspired a cultural shift. According to their Vice President of Revenue Operations: 

Nectar is helping us to create a culture of sharing, collaboration, and recognition. I’m seeing proof that it’s not the size of the reward that matters, but that recognition is simply happening.“ – Rob, VP of Revenue Operations at XANT 

 

  3   Reward Them with Some Fresh Air 

Few things can compete with the joyous rush of an outdoor adventure. Experiences transcend the day-to-day. Many happen just once in a lifetime.

It’s practically impossible not to make powerful permanent memories as you’re rafting down a wild river, soaring through the air on a paraglider, or learning to surf. 

blueboard_experienceReward employees with experiences like these and they’ll see work as a ticket to more adventure instead of a barrier to it. Setting up a program where employees are rewarded with real-life experiences and adventures can be more impactful than a small raise or gift card.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

The University Information Technology (UIT) team at The University of Utah got together for a team event at a local baseball game to bond over some hot dogs, popcorn, and America’s pastime.

university-of-utah-logo

They attended a Salt Lake Bees game and over 175 employees attended this employee event.

Utah-Baseball-Game

UIT employees rooting for the Salt Lake Bees!

 

Company Recognition Ideas

Company recognition ideas are designed to benefit the entire organization from the ground up. They can be based on company outings, holidays, employee perks, or any appreciation strategy that benefits the entire business.

  4   Buy Them Lunch 

lunch-treat

“Thank you” lunches are the new “thank you” cards. All you have to do is get together virtually or in person to share a meal, say a few words of praise, and enjoy the timeless art of communal eating. 

If you have employees working from home or in multiple locations, you can easily coordinate a group remote lunch with a virtual credit card sent directly to your team. Each one of your colleagues will receive a lunch card configured to your lunchtimes and preferences to get everyone on the same ordering page.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

It gives your managers the flexibility to send out allowances to employees who deserve a lunch on the company’s dime.

Hungry employees can hurt team morale and negatively impact productivity. Let’s face it, every employee deserves a nice lunch to boost their day.

The office manager at KMB LLP, found the variety of vendors on the Hoppier platform to be a plus when it came time to send out digital lunch cards.

KMB-Law

They use Hoppier to streamline lunch delivery for their firm. Plus, with so many options available to their employees — everyone could order from whichever lunch delivery service they preferred. Talk about a win-win!

Hoppier-Lunch-Cards

 

  5   Test Recognition Ideas by Surveying Your Employees

send a survey about your health fair

The power of an employee survey can be a powerful thing. It is no wonder that “surveying your employees to see how they like to be recognized” scored number one in our SnackNation poll: What’s Your Favorite Employee Recognition & Appreciation Idea?

Every employee is different and will appreciate praise for their success and hard work in unique ways.

The goal is to give yourself multiple options and ideas that you can utilize when the time is right to recognize your coworker. Soliciting some honest feedback from your employees via a survey can set you up for success and give you more insight into the kinds of people you work with. You can build a quick survey using employee survey software or set one up using this tool here.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

Pizza Pizza’s newly appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) highlighted the importance of activating the employee voice and together with the Vice President of HR championed the idea of collecting employee feedback.

pza-pza-logo

“We wanted to figure out what our employees were thinking of Pizza Pizza, our leadership team and to see what they were hoping the company would do moving forward. HR has individual conversations with people but we needed a better picture of what employees were expecting from us.” – Therese Sousa

Pizza Pizza worked with the engagement platform to harness the power of employee surveys. With a powerful employee survey platform allowed them to gather valuable information from their thousands of employees. This allowed leadership to introduce updates to their recognition program.

 

  6   Support What They Want to Support

charity-community-program

Supporting a good cause can contribute to your team culture in a positive way. Whether you work with a local charity or a national organization, contributing time, money, or focus can help your company support your most valuable asset: your employees.

This approach to employee recognition not only celebrates individual contributions but also amplifies the impact employees can have on their communities and causes they are passionate about. It creates a culture of empathy and giving back, reinforcing the message that the company stands behind its employees’ values and aspirations, further enriching job satisfaction and organizational loyalty.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

Ad agency Drake Cooper recognizes employees through philanthropic side projects.

They have a Dream Big program where they let the staff select a nonprofit for the agency to work with for free. Letting staff have the time to work on a passion project and do good is a great way to offer recognition to employees.

Drake-Cooper

BBP put on a killer bicycle block party the last weekend in May with live music, auction, and a Frankenbike contest (A Frankenbike is a crazy looking bike created from mismatched bike parts.). We helped them get the word out by designed posters, t-shirts, spokescards, and worked to get them mentioned in an article in Sunset magazine, among other things. This organization has a huge heart and has given away hundreds of bikes to kids in need.

 

  7   Create a Company Store to Send Employee Appreciation Gifts and Treats

Take your employee appreciation approach up a level or two by setting up a company store — a centralized hub for sharing branded merchandise and tokens of thanks.

This cutting-edge solution eliminates the complexities of inventory management, contact detail updates, and minimum order challenges. Empowering in-person and remote employees to browse and choose rewards that truly matter to them ensures that each expression of gratitude is meaningful and impactful.

Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

Imagine the simplicity of selecting and redeeming employee rewards with just a click, sending personalized company swag directly to your employees’ doorsteps.

This vision became a reality for Paperchase when they introduced Stadium to better tackle their employee recognition challenges.

paperchase-logo

With a dedicated company store powered by Stadium, the cumbersome logistics previously involved in distributing employee rewards were eliminated. Paperchase was able to offer their own swag shop to make it possible to reward employes, make goodie bags for team events, and house it all on one digital platform.

An online company store allowed them to free up space in their office and avoid maintaining an overflowing and disorganized swag closet.

Paperchase

Here’s what the Paperchase HR team had to say about Stadium:

“Paperchase’s HR team is happy with the Shop that prominently features its logo on the Shop banner and every item. The recipients are filled with excitement as they select items they can use, and this experience instills a sense of pride in being a Paperchase employee.”

 

  8   Send Them an Employee Care Package

Caroo Gifts

Reward employees with a care package filled with an assortment of items that show you care, including hand-written notes, gift certificates, wholesome snacks, and even toys and games. All these items, carefully selected and lovingly packaged together deliver an impact greater than just one single gift. 

There are employee care companies that take on the logistics of sending out care packages to multiple locations and allow you to customize the gifts to your companies’ needs. This makes it a lot easier to worry less about details and more about the impact of recognizing your employees.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

ADP offers payroll and HR services to help companies streamline essential work processes. With a large, distributed workforce, sending out 3,500 employee gift boxes was a great way to show appreciation to their many employees. 

ADP-logo

When they wanted to show their remote workforce some meaningful appreciation, they turned to Caroo because, as one of their office managers said, they love the “simplicity of the process, the presentation of the curations, and the support.”

Here is more of the review from their office manager, Deysi: 

Caroo - ADP

 

Recurring Employee Recognition Ideas

Recurring employee recognition goes beyond one-time accolades, embedding appreciation into the fabric of your organization’s culture. After reading this guide, it is apparent that recognition is not a one-time thing. It takes a serious commitment to fostering a company culture based on recognition to see its benefits.

  9   Host a Friday “Crush-It” Call

The “Crush-It” Call is SnackNation’s time-honored tradition. Each Friday afternoon, the entire SnackNation team huddles together and we go around the room stating 2 things:

      1. “Crush” someone on the team whose work they want to recognize and why
      2. Something you are grateful for

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

It’s a great chance for people to not only recognize each other and take advantage of positive thinking but also bring that person’s hard work to the attention of the entire team. As our team has grown, this gives everyone a chance to see the awesome work of the people who they don’t work with very often.

Check it this video of one of our recent Crush It Calls:

 

  10   Applaud a Work Anniversary 

Recognize employees for specific events, achievements, major milestones, and work anniversaries. Show appreciation by celebrating their hard work, dedication, and contributions to your organization.

This includes making thoughtful new employee announcements and conveying your heartfelt work anniversary wishes. Consider adding a personal touch by recognizing their individual strengths and unique qualities that have positively impacted the team. You can even inject some humor and light-heartedness by sharing carefully selected anniversary memes that bring a smile to everyone’s faces.

Celebrating these moments fosters a positive work culture and strengthens the bond between employees and the company.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

Motivosity is a great example of recognizing work anniversaries in the workplace. They recognize their own through creative work anniversary awards and acts of gratitude.

A specific call-out to an employee that resonates with them, can go a long way when it comes to celebrating their day. This gesture of gratitude underscores the company’s dedication to acknowledging each employee’s unique journey and contributions.

motivosity_logo

Motivosity sought a way to celebrate employee work anniversaries without missing a beat.

Logan Mallory profiled his recent work anniversary in this LinkedIn post that showcases the impact of a work anniversary program.

Logan-Mallory-Motivosity

 

  11   Invest in Their Wellness 

wellness

Wellness programs have always been among the most in-demand employee perks as focusing on multiple facets of employee wellbeing is more important than ever. 

Employees serve as the foundation of any business. One of the best ways to recognize your team members is to invest in their health and wellbeing. From wellness goals and team challenges, to health incentives and office perks, a successful corporate wellness program can be an effective part of your recognition strategy. 

Don’t just take our word for it! According to a workplace wellness survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, about 70% of employees feel they need employers’ help to stay healthy. 

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

Frontier

A consulting firm called The Frontier Project offers amazing fitness perks to its employees. More importantly, the leadership is passionate about good employee recognition. Lead facilitator Stevie Toepke says:

Stevie-Toepke“Face it: we all spend way too much time at work to feel like the work we do doesn’t matter. Good managers make their employees feel appreciated. Great managers make their employees feel valued.

Yes, there is a difference. That difference boils down to recognition – not just if you give it, but how you give it.  Employee appreciation programs have been around for a while and often take the form of praising or spotlighting an employee for tenure or general awesomeness (think: Employee of the Month).

The best leaders don’t make their employees wait until the end of the month (or year) to let them know they are doing great work. Instead, they recognize good performance by giving informal and frequent positive feedback about specific behaviors – in conversation, in email, or even in a short, hand-written note.

Employee recognition tip: Dole it out daily Share on X

 

Unique Ways to Recognize Employees

The most memorable recognition ideas stand out from the crowd. With a mix of public and personal recognition, the ideas in this list aim to stand out from the tried and true rewards that managers have been using for years.

  12   Spotlight Employees Using Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for any company looking to showcase their new employees.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

The St. Louis Children’s hospital leveraged social media to extend employee recognition reach during their staff recognition gala.

St-Louis-Childrens-Hospital

Employees nominated for awards of honor were profiled on Facebook and they even made the effort to Skype employees into the gala for special recognition if they couldn’t make it.

Dedicated employees working late shifts were still justly recognized. Supplement any employee recognition idea with social media.

recognizing employees on social media

You can also recognize employees by using them in your profile pictures across networks. A picture of your best employees in a Facebook cover photo, for example, is a great shoutout to those who go the extra mile.

 

  13   Recognize Employees with Custom Experiences

Enhance employee recognition by crafting memorable journeys through personalized experiences for each team member.

Bucketlist-Rewards

Going beyond traditional methods to honor accomplishments creates cherished moments and genuine motivation. This innovative strategy ensures that recognition mirrors individual interests and inspirations, transforming every success into a personalized celebration.

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

The tech company, Storable, set a remarkable precedent by integrating Bucketlist into their recognition strategy, thereby introducing “Storabills” – a novel rewards system.

This initiative empowered their team to exchange earned points for exclusive experiences, gift cards, or even make charitable donations.

With Bucketlist’s expertise, the platform was meticulously customized to align with Storable’s ethos, supporting initiatives such as their annual Movember campaign. This kept staff engaged and enthusiastic and reinforced a culture of giving back, making recognition a holistic and impactful experience.

Storable

Here’s what Nicole Tenneyuque, an Engagement Specialist at Storable had to say about Storable:

Nicole-Tenneyuque

“Originally we used Bucketlist as a platform for experiences, it was another perk that helped to bolster our great culture. But now that we’ve pivoted into a remote-first world, it’s broadened it exponentially.”

 

 

Team Recognition Ideas

Team recognition ideas can build camaraderie between employees since everyone is recognized equally. These examples can help managers reward their teams for big wins, the completion of a team project, or if the larger team hit a certain goal.

  14   Ask Employees How They Most Like to be Recognized

The company behind the real-world treasure hunt app, Geocaching knows how to treat it’s employees like treasures too.

Geocaching

HR Manager, Laura Hughes explains appreciation ideas at her large company:

laura-hughes“Find out what forms of recognition resonate most with staff members. Often times, we equate a streamlined process with effectiveness– with recognition, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If we’re taking only one approach to recognition and thereby missing the mark in how we recognize others, it can be equivalent to not recognizing them at all. Encourage managers to ask employees how they most like to be recognized— you might be surprised at the answers that surface!”

➨ Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

It centers on the type of employee recognition program ideas that resonate with your employees on an individual basis. Many companies have found that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recognizing food work – so rewards should reflect this.

 

  15   Set Up a Peer-to-Peer Point System

Elevate your workplace culture with a peer-to-peer point system, a vibrant approach to celebrating every team member’s achievements.

AwardcoThis innovative system allows employees to acknowledge their peers’ hard work by distributing points. As these points add up, employees can redeem them for a range of rewards, transforming appreciation into something both meaningful and tangible.

Why this is an effective employee recognition idea:

Seven Bridges has ingeniously expanded the utility of these programs to promote wholesome and healthy behaviors within the workplace.

Seven Bridges

Leveraging Awardco, Seven Bridges launched an impressive array of 11 different earn programs, rewarding employees for actions such as donating blood, leaving Glassdoor reviews, engaging in learning and development initiatives, using the suggestion box, participating in wellness programs, and even recognizing their peers.

Here’s how Marko Brkic, Employee Experience Manager at Seven Bridges described his experience with Awardco:

“We fell in love with the Awardco platform from the start because it’s so simple, and yet it also has so many customization options to add to it.”


Bonus Employee Recognition Strategies for Companies

  16   Improve Collaboration and Culture with Slack Plugins

Deel-Employee-Recognition

What if you could extend the functionality of your Slack plugins to enhance both culture and collaboration in your business? Turns out you can!

If you and your team members are currently using Slack, then you should be connecting your employee recognition app to Slack to make it easier to reward your peers. Simply install the software in as little as 30 minutes, sync it to your HR apps, and you’re good to go! You will never need to sign in and out of multiple systems again when you use Slack plugins.

The engagement app, Deel, comes packed with several modules that you can use to engage and retain your top-performing employees. Think automated workflows for onboarding new hires, prepping and running of high-value 1-on-1s, pulse surveys, and a lot more!

 

  17   Show Them a Good Time 

office-party

The simple act of having fun speaks volumes. It sends the message that you value fun, you want them to have it, and that you feel they deserve to take a break. 

Cultivating fun doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do something as simple as working in pre-meeting icebreakers to your workplace routine, as complicated as an epic office party, or as perfectly doable as recurring fun office activities

 

  18   Start a Friendly GIF War 

gif-war

Use your favorite social employee recognition or communication platform to hold GIF challenges that are really just epic compliment volleys. For example, you could challenge everyone to find a GIF that captures how they feel about the epic team presentation or your designer’s work on the new company logo. 

 

  19   Do a Company-Wide Shoutout

employee-shoutout

Polish up your best employee appreciation speech whether it’s Tweet-length or page-long. A shout out to everyone in your own heartfelt words is a free, easy, and super effective way to recognize employees, one that some of the best-known business leaders recognize and leverage to the greatest effect. Charles Schwab, the founder of the Charles Schwab Corporation, once said:

If I like anything, I am hearty in my appreciation and lavish in my praise. Share on X

Rather than sending your shout out via email where it might get buried under mounds of junk mail, consider delivering your wishes using a social recognition tool. These platforms are easy-to-use and can encourage other employees to hop in and congratulate others. Here are some top-rated tools you can explore for your org: 

Quick Description 

Best
For

No Credit Card Required

Free Trial

Bonusly is a recognition and rewards program that allows employees to send small, public bonuses to each other to recognize everyday wins and successes. Users can easily redeem bonus points for a wide variety of gift cards, donations, and other personalized prizes!

500+
Employees

Motivosity is a leading rewards program that makes it easy for enterprises of all sizes to recognize their employees at scale with unique and personalized rewards, incentives, and experiences (in-home and out-in-the-world).

10+
Employees

Nectar is a global program that consolidates employee rewards and recognition processes into one easy-to-use solution. With Nectar, employees can recognize each other, redeem rewards, access exclusive corporate discounts, and measure success.

250+
Employees

 

  20   Get Them Something for Their Workspace

office-gift

Both practical and fun, workspace gifts make low-fuss tokens of appreciation. A useful recognition gift for a desk or office makes your recognition go a long way; After they spruce up their spaces, the items provide a daily reminder of how much you appreciate them. 

Find customizable workspace gifts to boost the overall sentimental factor of your offering. 

Pro-Tip: For more ideas, explore SnackNation’s guide to Unique Gifts For Employees That Will Boost Morale & Show Appreciation!

 

  21   Celebrate a Victory

celebration-victory

Your team just did something amazing. This is the moment. Seize it! Celebrate victories big and small to remind yourself and your employees that progress is something to be acknowledged and applauded.

Celebrate with an epic team-building activity or simply share your victory with the rest of the company to properly shoutout their big wins! 

Pro-Tip: Check out this list of team-building companies for inspiration for strengthening your team and celebrating team victories. 

 

  22   Give Them Nicknames

Nicknames boost camaraderie in the workplace, and they can be a great source of humor. When assigned strategically, nicknames can also be a subtle, long-term way to provide employee recognition.

Instead of calling people by some abridged version of their last names or finding a standout physical or personality feature to highlight, what if you gave teammates nicknames symbolic of their strengths and talents?

Imagine calling your second-in-command “Hemingway” to compliment his concise writing style. Talent- or skill-based nicknames obviously make employees feel recognized and appreciated, but they could also help employees live up to, and even surpass, their reputations. Over time, words—including names—can shape perceptions and behaviors enough to ultimately influence outcomes.

 

  23   Create a Giant Wall Clock for Your Employee of the Month Award

This idea comes from SnackNation’s own sales- (and real life) rockstar Joey Joyce.

The “Value Victor” is our long-standing and cherished employee of the month award. Each month, the company recognizes employees who embody one or more of the company’s core values. Value Victors enjoy preferred parking, a trophy, a giant bag of healthy snacks (naturally), and the admiration of their peers.

But Joey thought we could ramp up the program’s public recognition factor. Since there are 12 Value Victors every year, and 12 hours in a day, why not create a giant Value Victor clock display?

Working together with VP of Customer Success Chelsie Lee, Joey hired designers to create a cartoon-like caricature for every Value Victor. These were then placed around a giant wall clock display. For every new Value Victor, a new portrait is commissioned and places on the clock.

 

  24   Give Creative Feedback 

positive-feedback

Thoughtful positive feedback is the original form of employee recognition. It may also be the most simple and effective way to motivate employees. Despite these truths, the essential art of feedback remains too often neglected or muddied by rewards and gifts with no clear connection to performance.

Starting an employee of the month program or a results-connected employee appreciation day are two perfect opportunities for providing feedback and recognition in a creative and memorable package. 

 

  25   Create a “Go The Extra Mile” Program

Employee recognition idea: go the extra mile program

The transport staff at the Staten Island University Hospital Radiology Lab has the tough and tiring job of wheeling patients around for testing. When they were falling short of their goal number of moves per hour, the recognition experts at Michael C. Fina came up with an employee appreciation idea that got the hospital results: the Go the Extra Mile or GEM program.

When an employee witnessed another going the extra mile, they would nominate them for a GEM certificate. The program was simple, but gave the staffers recognition they could hold in their hands, which went far towards making them feel truly appreciated.

 

  26   Recognize your team by recognizing their passions

Omelet’s employee recognition idea involves recognizing something at the core of every employee: passions.

The ad agency has a program they call 60/60, which grants employees two hours every week to work on a project they’re passionate about – and it doesn’t even have to relate to a client!

Through the program, employees have been able to work on anything from sports sites to food blogs. When you value an employee’s passions, they know you value them as a unique individual.


Modern Employee Recognition Programs

Modern ways to recognize employees are the resources and technological mechanisms through which you can complete the long-term ongoing steps necessary to achieve your employee recognition goals. These platforms enable companies, teams, and even individuals to conduct and scale staff recognition activities. 

These are some of our favorite employee recognition programs & platforms:

Bonusly 🥇 Recognize and reward employees for their achievements and milestones Visit Bonusly
Goody 🎁 Award them an eGift Visit Goody
Stadium 🌟 Engage and retain employees with recognition, rewards, swag, and more Visit Stadium
Swag.com 🧢 Create a custom swag box or send gifts directly to employees, clients, and customers Visit Swag.com
Nectar 😃 Peer-to-peer recognition, Amazon integration, boost your engagement and retention Visit Nectar
👉 Compare more HR-vetted and approved options here

Read more about our top-rated platforms for implementing employee recognition ideas into your company…

  27   Bonusly 

An all-time favorite employee recognition idea, Bonusly is an online hub for enabling, encouraging, and sharing recognition.

You can use it to reward someone for meeting a goal with a charitable donation, to publicly recognize someone using the Slack integration, or to celebrate someone’s birthday or anniversary.

Bonusly

👉 See Bonusly in action

Standout features:

  • Social capabilities make recognition moments sharable 
  • Metrics and reporting highlight performance trends 
  • Monthly allowance feature encourages company-wide adoption 

Why we love this way to recognize employees: Bonusly provides an experience as fun and easy to use as social media. Encouraging employees to start and continue using it will be an absolute breeze. 

Notable companies using Bonusly: 

  • Chobani
  • Headspace
  • ZipRecruiter
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Toast

Pricing starts at $3 per user per month. Start a free trial

 

  28   Nectar 

Nectar enables and inspires meaningful, value-rooted recognition at all levels. It supports authentic peer-to-peer recognition as well as top-to-bottom incentive programs.

Social media-style feeds and public promotions turn recognition into a never-ending feel-good cycle. 

👉 See Nectar in action

Standout features:

  • Integrations with popular tools enable seamless employee adoption 
  • Challenge features motivate employees to pursue stretch goals
  • Create custom swag to distribute as meaningful rewards 

Why we love this way to recognize employees: It combines all the best aspects of simply saying “thank you” with a gifting infrastructure that reinforces your appreciation. 

Notable companies using Nectar:

  • SHRM
  • MLB
  • Heineken
  • Teachable
  • Oracle

Pricing starts at $2.75 per user per month. Nectar also offers a Plus option with even more features. Learn more here

 

  29   WorkTango

WorkTango helps companies marry employee recognition efforts to performance management to build a happy workplace. Using one simple platform, you can dole out rewards, post incentives, track goals, and even provide feedback. Employees can connect their accomplishments to recognition with more satisfying clarity than ever.  

WorkTango

👉 See WorkTango in action

Standout features:

  • Integrated goals and OKRs help employees track their progress 
  • Automated rewards catalog setup saves time and stress 
  • Insights help managers make data-driven decisions

Why we love this way to recognize employees: It helps turn rewards, appreciation, and performance into a continuous loop of rewards, appreciation, and good vibes. 

Notable companies using WorkTango: 

  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hitachi
  • Kia
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Meredith

Pricing varies based on selected features and your annual contract agreement. Learn more by booking a demo with the WorkTango team. 

 

  30   Hoppier 

Hoppier is your one-stop shop for gift cards that are more than just gift cards.

Their credit cards empower you to add engaging real-world elements to virtual team building events and also day-to-day virtual work. Send cards to make unified ordering for your virtual lunch easy or simply to offer rewards employees actually want. 

hoppier

👉 See Hoppier in action

Standout features:

  • Have remaining balances credited to your account 
  • Easily pick and choose vendor options 
  • Select usage time frames to ensure everyone orders together 

Why we love this way to recognize employees: It provides more flexibility than other group ordering options, but it remains equally easy for companies to offer and for employees to redeem. 

Notable companies using Hoppier: 

  • Shopify 
  • Fluke 
  • Amazon 
  • LinkedIn
  • Philips

Pricing is available on request

 

  31   Assembly 

Assembly is the employee recognition platform and engagement software for companies who want to create custom culture-boosting rewards. Employers can design their own rewards based on their cultural priorities and core values. Ultimately, the rewards inspire good feelings and also a deep connection with company values.

👉 See Assembly in action

Standout features:

  • A top core values sidebar applauds specific qualities 
  • Badges recognize employees for their unique skills 
  • Public feeds make special events, like birthdays and anniversaries, visible 

Why we love this way to recognize employees: It works by embodying one of our favorite employee recognition quotes:  

“In behavioral economic terms, when we offer recognition we are acknowledging that the recipients have met a social ideal. They are behaving in a certain manner because they believe is the right thing to do. If we then recognize that behavior with praise or appreciation, we offer a confirmation that their behavior is desirable, and do so in a manner that recipients find meaningful.” – Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition that Works

Notable companies using Assembly: 

  • Quest Nutrition
  • FTD
  • Coca-Cola
  • Amazon
  • Casper

Pricing starts at $2.00 per member per month. Free basic plan is available. 


Employee Recognition Examples From Companies That Do Appreciation Right

Employee recognition examples are spotlights and mini case studies from real-world companies. They put the benefits and best practices of employee recognition into context. Learning what has worked for real companies provides plenty of swipeable recognition ideas and quality inspiration. 

  32   SalesForce

SalesForce, probably the best-known name in customer relationship management, found themselves struggling to manage their employee perks and rewards. They offered plenty of perks but helping employees find and redeem them presented a logistical challenge. 

They chose Fond to help them manage this logistical challenge. They knew the streamlined platform would make it easy and even fun for employees to find their perks.

Fond - Sales Force

 

  33   Precision Biosciences

Precision Biosciences realized that the up-and-coming biotech talent they wanted to recruit would likely be able to work anywhere they wanted to. They decided to differentiate themselves and boost retention by offering a stand-out anniversary rewards program. 

They chose to work with Blueboard, knowing they offered a peerless selection of experiences. They also enhanced the benefits of the experience with a platform for building buzz. 

Blueboard - Testimonial - Precision BioSciences

 

  34   Engagedly

Co-founder of Engagedly, an employee engagement platform, Srikant Chellappa shared his employee recognition best practices:

Srikant-Chellappa“The one thing employers can do to recognize their employee is to provide social praise and communicate clearly the positive impact the employee had and acknowledge where employee went above and beyond their jobs description. Monetary incentives while good, have a limited impact and mostly short term. Employees need to feel their work is appreciated and that they need feel invested in the overall goal of the organization they are part of.”

 

  35   HelloTech

HelloTech offers ubiquitous tech support to their global customers. They wanted to set up a recognition system that was constantly available and easy to use as their own services. They found the perfect fit in Assembly

“We were looking for a way to recognize employees that was fun, easy to use, and fit our budget. There’s always a lot happening. We wanted a program that employees could access on the fly and in the moment, and could be tied to tangible rewards.” – Mallory Yohannan – Head of People at HelloTech

 

  36   MINDBODY

MINDBODY offers online business management software.  Their goal is to “leverage technology to improve the wellness of the world.” This goal informs how they treat clients and their staff appreciation ideas. Jeff Harper, Senior Vice President of People and Culture at MINDBODY, says:

Jeff-Harper“Employee recognition can have an amazing impact on culture of a company and employee behavior when done well.  With all the various ways to approach employee recognition, one of the most important things to remember to develope a personalized approach: be true to who you are. At MINDBODY our culture is core to everything we do, so we created our employee recognition program to align with our company values. This approach helps connect employees’ behaviors to what we believe, while strengthening our brand.

For example, we are a purpose-driven organization focused on improving the wellness of the world.  It’s an integral part of our own Core Values and Culture, and one that we offer to other companies through our Connect Workplace Program. This program provides employers with the opportunity to reward their employees and keep them engaged by promoting healthy behavior via the services of the nation’s largest network of wellness practitioners!”

Recognize employees in a way that aligns with your values Share on X

 

  37   Reward Gateway

Sometimes, Content Manager Chloe Deiulis says, a simple “thank you” is all it takes. Reward Gateway, an employee engagement platform, delivers digital thank yous through peer recognition, where tailored eCards help bring company values front and center. She says,

Chloe-Deiulis“I openly try and recognize my colleagues across the globe through a variety of channels, in private and out in the open, too. One of my favorite ways to do this is through peer-to-peer recognition eCards.

They’re non-monetary, simple to send and are a great way to say thank you. There is an infinite number of eCards that employees can send for new employee motivation ideas. Plus, since they’re social the whole company can view and add reactions.”

 

  38   Deschutes Brewery

You probably imagine working for a brewery is fun. In the case of Deschutes Brewery, you’re absolutely right. Pat Gerhart, HR Director for the brewery, favors amazingly fun activities that celebrate every single person at the company.

“At Deschutes Brewery, recognizing employees is not specifically designed to highlight one individual or small group, but to create support for our work environment as a whole, for everyone. For example, we often do what could be called ‘random acts of fun’.

Is there snow?  Let’s do a snow shoe hike with a keg of beer and burritos at the shelter bon fire.  It’s a nice summer evening?  Let’s sponsor co-owners for a local run/walk and have fun together with a beer and sharing stories after the event.  Are a bunch of crazed cyclists in town?  Let’s send out our cyclocross team to join the fun & competition and have the biggest party Bend sees each year to celebrate!

We like to live our core values—and this would reflect ‘Celebrate the culture of craft beer’.”

 

  39   Namely

Ashley Pelliccione, Director of People at Namely, an HR software company, believes in the goodwill that comes from group recognition. She says,

Ashley-Pelliccione“I’d say shout-outs at the all-company meeting. High performers don’t only work for recognition, of course. But to have your name mentioned in front of the whole company—followed by cheers from the crowd—that’s a reward bigger than a gift card, bigger than a thank-you lunch. It’s true appreciation, and that’s powerful.

We have monthly all-hands meetings at Namely. We bring everyone together at a fun spot, like a rooftop restaurant or fun theater space, and present on the big projects everyone is working on. Employee recognition plays a big part.”

 

 40  Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel offers unique adventure travel itineraries to their customers. They prefer taking a unique approach to employee recognition as well. Their Marketing Director for North America, Leigh Barnes told us how to recognize employees:

Leigh-Barnes“Make recognition fun and personable. Go out of your way to find out what their interests are and recognize with a personalized message.

A note, a craft beer….know your staff personally and you will know the little things that truly will motivate them.”

 

 

  41   Awesome Office

Drip Club keeps it old school. In an interview with the Awesome Office show, CEO Mike Zhang described why his team prefers the suggestion box for their staff recognition.

“We have an old-school ‘comments box’ where you can drop a card if you happen to see a colleague, co-worker, a manager – whoever – embodying or living the values. At the next all-hands meeting, we recognize all the folks that got these post cards with a gift card or other token of appreciation.”

We like this method of acknowledging achievement not only because it’s simple, but because the anonymity lends itself to authenticity – you know that the recognizer doesn’t want anything out of the act of recognition. The suggestion box can also be an excellent way to showcase employee appreciation by allowing everyone to offer up fun team activities and wellness workplace ideas to improve the office.

 

  42   TINYpulse

TINYpulse has tons of ideas for showing employee appreciation, including a “thank you” t-shirt signed by co-workers. When we asked them for their employee appreciation idea, they advised being timely and specific. Laura Troyani, Director of Marketing at Tinypulse says:

Leigh-Barnes“I was floored by the findings in our recent Employee Appreciation & Recognition Report that showed how feeling valued in the workplace actually significantly impacts employee retention.  

For managers that really care about recognition, and they really should, I always recommend being timely and being specific. When you see something great happening, show your appreciation immediately, and say why you think it was a great job. It makes sure you don’t forget to do it later and it helps to reinforce the types of behaviors you want to keep seeing.”


People Also Ask These Questions About Employee Recognition Ideas

Q: What Is Employee Recognition?

A: Employee recognition is the act of acknowledging the hard work and accomplishments of the individuals and teams within your organization. It’s really about creating an emotional connection with your employees and your company, all while supporting the work your employees do and staying authentic to your company’s values.

It’s as much art as science, and the best recognition tactics do something no tchotchke or gift card ever can – they make employees feel valued, respected, and even loved.

The creative employee recognition ideas below come from real companies that know a thing or two about making their employees feel cherished.

Q: How do you recognize employees in 2024?

A: Here are some suggestions for how to recognize employees:

  • 👏 Give specific praise – Recognize team accomplishments and explain exactly what they did well. Be sincere and authentic.
  • 💌 Handwritten notes – A handwritten card or note goes a long way in making employees feel valued. Make it personal.
  • 🎁 Small gifts – Give a gift card for coffee or lunch, office supplies, etc. Gifts don’t have to be expensive to show you care.
  • 📅 Flexible time off – Reward extra effort by providing a few hours or a day off. Time is often more valuable than material gifts.
  • 📈 Growth opportunities – Professional development shows you’re invested in their future. Offer training, new projects, etc.

The key is to make your recognition timely, specific, sincere, and personalized. Get to know what truly motivates each employee. Consistent appreciation boosts morale and engagement which drives ROI for your company.

Q: What are the benefits of employee recognition?

A: The benefits of employee recognition compound over time. Employees who feel appreciated are more productive, provide better customer service, and are less likely to leave their jobs. They are also empowered to identify and proactively solve problems that they see in the business when engagement levels are high. Making employee recognition a consistent priority through methods like praise, rewards, and celebrations will ensure your team reaps these tangible benefits.

Q: What is a good employee recognition idea in 2024?

A: A good employee recognition idea in 2024 is all about personalization. Using this moment of appreciation to show your co-workers that you actually know them and acknowledge their good work in a meaningful way will contribute to stronger company culture. Some of our favorite employee recognition ideas include:

  • Public recognition in the next company all-hands or team meeting
  • Custom action figures with a unique super power/backstory
  • Personal caricatures based on their LinkedIn profile picture
  • …more

Q: What is employee recognition?

A: Employee recognition is based upon the premise that acknowledging positive work behaviors and activities results in better overall employee performance. By recognizing your team members for their successes, this creates benefits that positively impact business results. We’ve interviewed the top companies that emphasize employee appreciation to bring the best ways to recognize employees here.

Q: Why is an employee recognition initiative important in 2024?

A: There are a ton of benefits to developing an employee recognition strategy in 2024. Companies attribute improved employee morale, better customer service, lower turnover, and increased productivity. This all points to the fact that employee recognition can drive serious ROI. 

Q: How do you give employee appreciation?

A: Employee appreciation can be administered in many fun and creative ways. With everything from peer-to-peer recognition platforms, office-wide games, celebration events, and personalized rewards. Check out our list of the top recognition and appreciation ideas to start building a culture of recognition in the office.

Q: Where do these creative employee recognition examples come from?

A: These creative employee recognition ideas have been collected from real companies that have prioritized making employees feel valued and respected while at work. Our research and interviews with business professionals have been compiled so that you can see just how well these appreciation ideas can work in your office. 

Q: What are some types of employee recognition awards?

A: We recommend choosing awards that suit both the employee and the culture of your company. Our list of recognition ideas can help you find the right program for your team whether that involves: gamification, office celebrations, social media shout outs, or other creative ideas.

Q: When should I recognize employees?

A: Many of the recognition experts that we spoke to recommend acknowledging employees in a timely fashion with a personal gift, reward, or shout out. Showcasing success and celebrating your team’s victories daily can create a work environment where people feel appreciated and valued as contributors to the whole. 

Q: How can I appreciate my staff?

A: Whether you want to go all out or ball on a budget, get things started with the right employee appreciation idea. We have options here to choose from, but don’t forget to be creative! And as always, be sure to measure the effects of your employee recognition strategy so you can optimize and improve it over time.

Q: What is the best way to show recognition to employees?

A: The best way to show recognition to employees is by finding what works for your team and company culture. Some companies like to go all out with lavish gifts and parties while others prefer more personal and intimate gestures such as handwritten notes or one-on-one time with the boss. Whatever you choose, be sure that it is something that will be meaningful to your employees and that it aligns with your values.

57 Comments

  • Lauren says:

    Wow thanks for this, so many great ideas on recognizing employees. I mostly agree with making employees feel proud and enthusiastic about what they do.

  • Amazing article! Great to see all these ideas to boost employee recognition. I just would like to reinforce number 5! Celebrating daily victories is extremely important, specially if your company is growing. One of the common growth pains for companies is the decreasing morale and motivation when people are exclusively focused on work and forget to celebrate and recognize their peers for all efforts.

  • Towiona says:

    Amazing ideals, Thank You!

  • Great ideas that come from a place of authenticity. Employee Recognition is the natural outcome of a positive relationship with people at work. Thank you for sharing!

    • Emil Shour says:

      Thanks Jenny! Employee recognition is a huge part of the culture at our company. Like mentioned above, our Friday Crush It Call has been around since Day 1 and it’s a phenomenal way to recognize the hard work of others on the team.

  • Rubina Jamal says:

    Wow! Thanks a million. HBR printed an article on ‘Building a Helping Organization’ Employees send in names and examples of how someone went the extra mile to help them. The names which appear the most frequently get posted and rewarded

  • Shannon says:

    This post is so timely and relevant to a project I am working on — so glad to have found this article and these tips!

  • Laura Stevens says:

    Love Love Love! Great stuff here… I feel a snappy zing coming on for the next staff meeting!

  • joe says:

    is it irresponsible to think that if you (management) are overly friendly with the staff that it will be taking advantage of on say the production side of things ?

    • Emil Shour says:

      Hi Joe, I think there is a line you have to walk with being friendly while maintaining a certain level of professionalism. What that line looks like depends on your company’s culture. Some are more relaxed than others so they can be more friendly and not have to worry about lower performance (or being taken advantage of, as you put it).

  • Deepa says:

    This post is very helpful! Glad i found what i needed the most..IDEAS 🙂

  • Cat says:

    Some of the ideas are repetitive and they’re all spun around extroverts. Companies have a good number of introverts as well!

    • Emil Shour says:

      Hi Cat, I appreciate your concern for recognizing introverts as well. I think things like recognition tailored towards the individual (like mentioned in the post) are appreciated by both introverts and extroverts. Writing hand written notes to the person is also mentioned in this post and can be tailored to both groups.

    • Kolby says:

      Hey Cat,

      I have found that something Motivosity is good for introverts and extroverts alike. https://motivosity.com/. Recognitions can be done privately or publicly. But either way it is all online so it works well.

  • Faylinn says:

    I think that it is very important for bosses to award their employees. Doing that tells the workers that they are valued and appreciated for their hard work. Also, I think that such positive treatment could also result into higher productivity ratings. At the jobs that I have worked at, I had bosses who always treated us to random acts of fun. Those acts didn’t include kegs of beer, but they would randomly treat us to Brazilian food, bring us Ice Cream or let us set up a nerf gun war room when they had seen us work hard. That sense of appreciation made me want to work harder, because I knew that I was valued.

  • Ahesan Ali says:

    Thanks lot for your such a brilliant ideas, i will. be utilize them for the growth of my company

  • Kate says:

    These days everyone is so busy that they forget to take time and appreciate things around them. So I feel employee recognition should be there to motivate and encourage employees and help them perform better and feel appreciated.

  • Dana says:

    I’ve sent personalized notes to my employees families for supporting them while they take care of patients.
    I think it is less about the cost or creativity but sincerity. Folks know when you are truly sincere.

  • Tom says:

    Great employee recognition ideas , thanks for sharing

  • Brian says:

    Reaching out on social media is a great way to recognize your employees! It’s a newer strategy that employers are now using to create a more positive work environment. This is a great list of ideas! Thanks for putting this together!

  • marion duffield says:

    I use the app called xoical.com you get xo points for doing good at work, at home and in your community. i did a family challenge….so fun!!

  • Shubhangi Deshpande says:

    Loved it.. Very easy and unique ways to recognise team efforts or individual effort.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Sunetra says:

    Great Article…I enjoyed reading it and could relate to how we created recognition awards…thanks for so many new innovative ways to appreciate and value employees.!!

  • EMcGoo says:

    I’d love to hear more about RoundPegg’s Action figures – I love that idea!

  • Karen says:

    Wow! These are great ideas. I recently left a company that encouraged all types of recognition and moving into a company that currently does not have many recognition programs. Your article will help me to introduce fresh ideas along with what I’ve experienced to a great team.

  • Kim says:

    Thanks for the great ideas to expand our Employee Recognition program. We have 3 ‘travelling’ plaques and each month the previous month’s recipients recognize somebody else publically with their own words and pass on the plaque at the Staff Meeting.

  • Feedback App says:

    Thanks for sharing ideas with us. Employees are the integral part of an organization and this will help in employee recognition.

  • Colin says:

    Peer to peer recognition is so important! It’s so difficult for managers to give all the recognition that their employees deserve, and peer to peer helps hedge that challenge. Bucketlistrewards.com does a great job at peer to peer recognition, especially since it integrates with Slack – it makes it so that employees actual recognize each other!

  • Hema Dass says:

    Great stuff mate..
    Loved reading the whole post that is going to be the major ideas of appreciation in the upcoming year…

    Am from HR Services background and this list would help me great in implementing the ideas..!!

  • Amar says:

    Employee recognition is a huge part of the culture at any company, I believe above mentioned Idea’s will work to provide a healthy environment. Thanks Snaknation! Well Done. 🙂

  • Lovepreet says:

    Great article. These ideas will lead towards healthy work environment and great team spirit.

  • Luzviminda Cometa says:

    Glad I found your article. I am in the process of setting up a recognition program for my team of 130 employees. My team is doing well and I would like them to feel that their work is very much appreciated.

  • Melanie says:

    I was just asked to create, design and help implement an employee recognition program for our non-profit that will include recognizing executive directors in other countries where we have a presence. This article was the perfect place to start! Thank you for all of the terrific ideas!

  • Darlene says:

    What are the 1st and 2nd most requested form of recognition by employees?

  • Thanks for sharing the useful post.

  • Luca says:

    Interesting ideas to keep the reward/recognition ideas at a different level. I will definitely take some of those in consideration for my team. Do you have any suggestion for a team made of people from very different cultures?
    I also believe that the frequency of recognition is so important, we get so much sucked into the day-to-day stuff that we often forget to celebrate victories!

  • Arun says:

    Very good ideas, and a nice article 🙂

  • Norhart says:

    Employees are one of a company’s greatest assets. Recognition and appreciation are known as one of the key motivational factors in the workplace. If organizations wait until employees hit a monumental year of service to show appreciation, then most contributions are going unrecognized. No occasion is necessary to appreciate coworkers, colleagues, and/or employees. In fact, small acts of kindness and small tokens of appreciation spread throughout the year will make people feel valued all year long. The opportunities are endless. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • Chirag Bhayani says:

    These has been a excellent post i have read till now. you shared amazing ideas if its implemented that would be help in company’s growth

  • Deep Das says:

    Your blog was really amazing to read I really enjoyed the ideas are really helpful

  • Nancy Rodriguez says:

    Great ideas! I love the simple ones that you can do today and often we forget to tell our staff just a simple “Thank you” it goes a long ways when people feel appreciated and recognized for their contribution to the organization. I love the ideas you have listed and can’t wait to implement some of these at my workplace. This was very useful.

    • Laura Nguyen says:

      Yes, that’s definitely true Nancy! Employees are often under appreciated and can’t wait to hear your success with these ideas!

  • Jeremy says:

    Hi there mates, pleasant paragraph and good arguments commented here, I
    am in fact enjoying by these.

  • quotepot says:

    Your blog is really amazing to read I enjoyed the ideas are really helpful

  • priyanka says:

    very nice ideas you have share. Employee Recognition & Appreciation Ideas . Amezing topic.
    thanks for sharing

  • Cody Yacoub says:

    I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thx again

  • David says:

    I personally thank you for this post. Good topic regarding Employee Recognition & Appreciation.

  • Microrecognition is the perfect way to support organizational values on a regular basis and make employees feel valued without requiring a ton of time and resources.

  • Pawan Kumar says:

    Hey Ashley, recognition is a key ingredient to success. If you fail to show your employees that you notice their hard work, and how much you appreciate it, then they will never give you their best. You have included all the ideas I believe could help employers to create a stronger emotional relationship with employees while helping staff feel motivated, energetic, and appreciated. Thanks for sharing this great article 🙂

  • hiresmart says:

    Thanks for sharing this blog. Employee recognition is incredibly important, more so than many business owners ever realize.

  • Miska says:

    Amazingly written. thanks for sharing this interesting article.

  • This is excellent advice. All your suggestions are true and reasonable. Great post!

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