Employee recognition software…is it actually beneficial?
The short answer is “absolutely.”
Brace yourself for a list of questions:
- How many times did you provide valuable recognition, let’s say, 2 months ago?
- How many employees did you recognize?
- How many employees recognize one another on a regular basis?
- Does this recognition impact your mission or revenue?
Employee recognition software can help you answer these questions. We know you’re wonderful at making employees feel valued, but expertly designed software can help make your feedback more strategic, consistent, and measurable.
What is employee recognition software?
Employee recognition software is technology that helps you manage abstract human concepts—like employee satisfaction and relationships—with as much purpose and efficiency as you use to manage project deadlines and sales goals.
In the hands of thoughtful peers and managers, employee recognition software can enhance your company culture.
Luckily, there are plenty of employee recognition software options out there. We made this roundup of reward programs to help you find one appropriate for your team, your goals, and your budget. Keep browsing our list of employee recognition apps to take the first step in optimizing your workplace culture.
Best Employee Reward Programs And Recognition Software In 2021
Nectar helps organizations reinforce great work – anytime, anywhere. Its top-rated 360 recognition & rewards platform for companies under 1,000 employees that enables every team member (peer to peer & manager to employees alike) to send meaningful recognition rooted in core values. Streamline your incentives and maintain a connected culture regardless of whether your workforce is centralized or distributed.
Why we love it: It’s very intuitive and has the most equitable pricing structure a la Fair Billing that is best suited for teams of 10 to 1,000.
- Connect Slack, Microsoft Teams and your other software to increase engagement and make recognition easier than ever! Also integrates with your HRIS/HCM and SSO provider
- Create a custom swag storefront as a reward option. Swag is “on-demand” and shipped directly to the end-user once ordered with zero admin overhead
- Incorporate wellness initiatives or challenges that reward employees for participating
Notable companies using Nectar:
- Free: Perpetually free for unlimited users
- Standard: $1.70 per ACTIVE user/month
- Plus: $3.50 per ACTIVE user/month
- No contracts or implementation fees
- Visit the Nectar pricing page for details
One happy user wrote the following review on G2.com:
“Not only does Nectar encourage employees to do better, but it also encourages employees to show their gratitude, creating a team-based culture where hard work is noticed. It also is a way to get some insight into who is working together and what hard work is being done throughout departments that I didn’t much about before.”
Bonusly is an online platform for rewarding, recognizing, and generally celebrating awesome employees. It enables everyone to recognize anyone. Peers can recognize each other, managers can recognize direct reports, and so on and so forth. (The good vibes are basically endless.)
Why we love it: It makes recognition fast and legitimately fun for everyone.
- Social features make recognition visual and interesting
- Analytics point out team members’ strengths
- Monthly allowance features ensure everyone can give recognition
Notable companies using Bonusly:
- Core: $2.70 per user/month
- Pro: $4.50 per user/month
- Custom: Price dependent on needs
- Visit the Bonusly pricing page for details
One happy user wrote the following review on G2.com:
“The opportunities that employees have to recognize their peers for various ways that they have gone above and beyond has been invaluable to the morale of the company! Morale and camaraderie have increased significantly.”
Blueboard is the world’s top all-in-one experiential rewards and recognition platform that enables companies to recognize their employees at scale. They make it easy to quickly send employees unique and personalized in-home or out-in-the-world experiences for anniversary awards, employee referrals, spot recognition, sales incentives, President’s Club, and more.
Additionally, Blueboard’s employee rewards program is paired with a member of the Blueboard Concierge team, who personally handles all logistics and details necessary for them to fully enjoy their experience. Talk about service!
Why we love it: Blueboard is a high-value, lower frequency experiential rewards and recognition platform that consists of a native catalog with a worldwide selection of experiences across 12 major categories to wow your employees and help you build a strong culture of recognition.
- Dedicated Concierge Team provides high-end, white-glove service to help employees pick meaningful and personalized experiences
- A hands-on client success team helps companies develop recognition programs
- Story capture helps build excitement and engagement
- Experiential wellness incentives bring added health benefits
Notable companies using Blueboard:
Pricing options: Request a demo to get custom pricing
Blueboard users appreciate how the team takes care of all the details. Check out this glowing review:
“Great customer service. Fast, friendly account managers. Makes it very easy. We simply send the reward and Blueboard takes care of everything else. If you’re doing a big batch of rewards at the same time, Blueboard can help with a bulk import.”
Assembly is a peer-to-peer employee recognition and rewards software that’s completely free to use up to 50 employees. We all know a simple truth, when employees feel appreciated and acknowledged for the hard work, they perform better. Assembly makes recognition fun!
Why we love it: It “closes the recognition loop,” making something everyone wants to do into something everyone can easily do.
- Top core values sidebar helps everyone see highly valued qualities
- A variety of badge options highlight specific skills
- Public anniversary and birthday feeds help everyone feel special
Notable companies using Assembly:
- Nesco Resources
- Free forever until 50 employees
- Team: $2.50/mo/seat
- Business: $3.50/mo/seat
- Talk to Assembly for additional details
One pleased participant loves creating unique awards and animated gifs. Here’s the full review from G2.com:
“It allows for creativity, it’s honestly fun to create awards, use badges and find fun animated gifs, and worth seeing what other people have posted. And, while it’s a small gesture, and we help each other out anyway, it really does help you feel appreciated when you go the extra mile. The weekly summaries are also fun. Overall creates a little friendly competitiveness but it never gets past friendly.”
We know that HR has its hands full. Managing all their responsibilities while fostering employee engagement can be an uphill battle. Luckily, Xoxoday Empuls helps businesses rise to the challenge with their holistic employee engagement solution that promotes a positive company culture.
Empuls has features for workplace intranet and communication, social rewards and recognition programs, employee lifecycle surveys and employee wellness – all in one place. This recognition app helps organizations put a cap on employee absenteeism and attrition, improve productivity, manager effectiveness, and team motivation.
Why we love it: It is a holistic platform for all things engagement. Offering functionality that can make it possible to build out your own culture of recognition.
- Simple admin DIY controls for white-labelling, awards, workflows, access, surveys, notifications and more.
- Research-based engagement surveys and pre-built templates that can be readily used.
- Readily integrates with HRIS/HCM systems, Collaboration tools and SSO providers.
Notable companies using Xoxoday Empuls:
- Evolent Health
- Free Trial: 30 days
- Small & Medium-sized business: $3 per user / month
- Enterprise: Custom Pricing
- Request a demo to learn more pricing information
One of their happy customers, RealPage, testifies how effective Empuls has been for them:
“Our employees just love the software! Many appreciations, congratulations, awards are shared almost every day. This keeps them motivated. The numerous options to choose from in the rewards catalogue – makes it even more lovable.”
Kazoo is the all-in-one employee experience platform that connects employee recognition and rewards with continuous performance management to create an amazing employee experience. By bringing Recognition, Rewards, Incentives, Goals & OKRs, Conversations, and Feedback into one place, Kazoo motivates employees to grow and develop — and love doing it.
Why we love it: It makes appreciation, continuous feedback, and growth part of day-to-day work — not something restricted to annual performance reviews.
- Real-time employee recognition feed drives morale and connection
- Global Rewards catalog offers meaningful rewards for everyone
- Trackable, stackable goals keep teams aligned and productive
- Insights help managers make data-driven decisions
Notable companies using Kazoo:
- Habitat for Humanity
- Kaiser Permanente
- Growth (100-250 employees): Starting at $6.00 monthly per employee
- Standard (250-1,000 employees): Starting at $4.50 monthly per employee
- Enterprise (1,000+ employees): We’ll customize a solution that scales to your company’s needs.
- Visit the Kazoo pricing page for details
In a review posted on G2.com, one customer says peer-to-peer recognition can even lead to supervisor recognition:
“I enjoy the conversations that are started by recognizing fellow employees. It’s nice to be able to bring to light that you appreciate them, but also to show to their Supervisors, as well!”
Fond makes company-wide recognition easier than ever. With a social feed that can be accessed from any device, any time, anywhere, this employee rewards program supports virtual, global recognition for diverse teams. Plus, users have access to a massive catalogue of rewards and exclusive discounts all over the world.
- Custom recognition occasions help keep communication focused on what matters most
- Cost of living adjustments, language translations, and an international rewards catalogue to support global workforces
- Detailed analytics that offer managers deep behavioral and budgetary insights that can help better support employees
Notable companies using Fond:
- WW International
- Hard Rock
Pricing options: Request a demo with Fond to get more information about pricing
On G2.com, a reviewer comments on the value Fond provides across program administration, positively enabling managers, and effectively showcasing employee accomplishments:
For a small company, this is simply a great way to streamline recognition and rewards. But for a larger company, Fond would be hugely beneficial. It allows management to spotlight accomplishments and thank employees, for the whole company to see.
First and foremost, Kudos is designed to enhance company culture and build meaningful relationships. This company culture software provides a one-stop shop for recognition, communication, feedback, and overall camaraderie. Employees use Kudos to come together, celebrating epic achievements or simply offering words of thanks.
Why we love it: It helps foster a lasting culture of gratitude.
- Private and public feedback options promote participation and honesty
- Video options make recognition even more meaningful
- Kudos TV feature lets you stream and display recognition events
Notable companies using Kudos:
- Meals on Wheels
- Kudos Basic: Price available on request
- Kudos Plus: Price available on request
- Kudos Enterprise: Price available on request
- Visit the Kudos plan page to request details
This review from G2.com illustrates what makes Kudos so special:
“Kudos is an amazing tool that brings coworkers together. By giving someone Kudos I acknowledge the impact they made, whether it be to a customer, another coworker, or myself. Kudos facilitates having a great working environment by giving people an easy way to show appreciation between coworkers, Getting rewards for the Kudos I have earned is delightful, and only further entices me to earn more Kudos, and thus be a better coworker.”
Give employees rewards they really want with Snappy—a virtual gift-giving platform that allows recipients to choose from a vast catalog of rewards. The platform can accommodate peer-to-peer gifting, bulk gift sends, virtual gifts, and so much more.
- Real-time thank you notes indicate reward success
- Automations make recurring annual rewards a snap
- Campaign-based gifting helps track ROI for different reward types
Notable companies using Snappy:
- 21st Century Fox
Pricing options: Request a complimentary Snappy gift to talk to the team about your needs
One customer posted this review on featured customers.com:
“We care deeply about our employees at TaskRabbit and Snappy really helps us live our core values by allowing us to recognize milestones, life events and stellar performance! Managers and employees enjoy opening their inbox to find that they have received a Snappy which celebrates the wins and motivates our team as we lead the future together!”
Giftogram is your streamlined platform for tons of gift cards from tons of brands your employees love. Easily send personalized physical or virtual gift cards to reward your employees for any special occasion or achievement.
Why we love it: It helps you put a personal touch on the fuss-free, classic gift card.
- Massive design library makes cards feel special
- Logo upload helps you brand each gift
- In-house designers can create fully custom designs
Pricing options: Giftogram charges no monthly fees and their classic Giftogram gift cards carry no cost. Visit the Giftogram pricing page for details
Tellinga makes story-centric greeting cards, each one as unique as each one of your employees. This software is perfect if you’re looking for sentimental gifts that employees will cherish. Tellinga will take your story and photos and turn them into illustrated masterpieces.
Why we love it: It’s about as thoughtful and unique as employee recognition can get.
- Story length options accommodate your content
- On-staff artists hand-draw each story
- A library of existing stories provides plenty of inspiration
Notable press on Tellinga:
- One Day Card: $9.99
- One Week Story: $22.99
- Two Week Story: $39.99
- One Month Story: $69.99
- Visit the Tellinga pricing page for more details
Tellinga’s customers are delighted by the quality artistry of their cards. Check out this glowing review:
“I am so impressed with the quality of work these artists put out. They really took the time to read what I wanted, and then transformed it into something amazing! This is definitely a great idea for a gift, and I can’t wait to see more of my own story through their detailed artwork!”
Guusto helps companies partner with merchants to easily send rewards. Companies can assign budgets, send gift cards, and track all gifting initiatives from a helpful command center.
Why we love it: It’s a gift-based recognition program you know will align with employee interests.
- Pay-forward feature empowers recipients to pass a gift to someone else
- Claim periods allow companies to recoup expenses for unused gifts
- Expense reports make accounting a breeze
Notable companies using Guusto:
- Purdy’s Chocolatier
- DLA Piper
- Basic: Free
- Premium: $1.50 per person per month
- Custom: Price dependent on needs
- Visit the Guusto pricing page for details
Customers posting on G2.com love how easy Guusto is. Check out this glowing review:
“How easy it is to use ! 🙂 Simple and user friendly and you can make kind gestures towards colleagues to thank their tireless efforts. Even better is the fact that you can choose what type of gift card you’d like from a few dozen partners in different areas. Payment options are pretty easy to choose from and the merchants are pretty abundant.”
HeyTaco is a Slack integration focused on verbal recognition and acts of kindness. The service gets your entire team using a taco icon as a universal symbol of gratitude and props. Employees can hand out as many tacos as needed to acknowledge someone awesome.
Why we love it: It focuses on the powerful relationship-developing aspect of recognition.
- Taco “budget” gives everyone plenty of props to hand out
- Gift unlock feature spotlights extra-special achievements
- Team reward feature lets users turn in tacos for custom activities and treats
Notable companies using HeyTaco!:
- Boys and Girls Club of Hood County
- Team and Workspace: $3 per person per month
- Enterprise: Price dependent on needs
- Visit the HeyTaco pricing page for details
Reviewers love how HeyTaco provides immediate feedback:
“HeyTaco allows me to give my coworkers a small token (well, up to five small tokens) of gratitude in coordination with the event in which they earned it. This is immediate feedback. No more waiting for peer reviews (that may not even occur), or losing track of reasons to thank them.”
Cooleaf’s platform helps companies reward positive behaviors with the aim of cultivating long-term business growth and solid relationships. By facilitating behavior-based awards, Cooleaf empowers employees to better understand company values and expectations.
Why we love it: Behavior-based rewards help boost employee-employer harmony.
- Team challenges provide healthy competition
- Machine learning technology provides specific recommendations
- Team-, location-, and role-based analytics point out trends
Pricing options: Request a demo to learn more about Cooleaf’s pricing structure
Here’s what one reviewer likes best about Coolleaf:
“I love the different features and the accessibility it provides. I like being able to connect with my coworkers and give them kudos. The platform is easy to use. I like that we can vote on people who have joined in on the challenges and make it a fun way to show support. We are able to share pictures, give thanks and interact with employees that work in different states.”
Credly is a digital credentialing platform companies can use to celebrate employees for their demonstrated skills and talents. Teams can create their own digital credentials and then start recognizing employees who achieve them.
Why we love it: Employees will love receiving recognition for specific skills.
- Promotion tools let employees show off their credentials in other platforms
- Metadata options allow users to add testimonials to their creds
- Analytics pinpoint employee interests as well as achievements
Notable companies using Credly:
Pricing options: Request information to learn more about Credly’s pricing structure
This quote from a case study explains why IBM started a digital credentialing program:
“IBM will always attract the world’s best and brightest. With our digital credentials program, we want to shift mindsets in our industry and make tech more diverse and inclusive. We want to bring in people with non-traditional backgrounds, attract people re-entering the workforce or relaunching their careers. We want to create more jobs for people where tech jobs are scarce to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”
Bonfyre is a one-touch platform for communications, recognition, idea exchange, and even event management. By giving employees what they need to connect, Bonfyre aims to enhance the holistic employee experience.
Why we love it: The events integration adds engagement value away from the desk.
- Live polling for events and speakers
- Quick polls produce valuable feedback fast
- Broadcast feature gets your key messages noticed
Notable companies using Bonfyre:
- Commerce Bank
- Teach for America
Pricing options: Request a quote on Bonfyre’s pricing page
Here’s what users love about Bonfyre:
“Bonfyre” is a great social networking app that allows you to share your photos and videos, as well as group chat with what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. It’s simply picture messaging that ties in with how you live your life: one moment at a time.”
The Bravo platform aims to optimize, as well as enable, employee recognition. An intelligent interface offers suggestions for who to recognize and tips for making the most impact through your recognition.
Why we love it: It helps everyone learn how to provide truly meaningful recognition.
- Bravo lens helps employees snap pictures of recognized employees in action
- Augmented writing helps everyone best craft recognition messages
- Machine learning algorithm provides recognition suggestions based on emails and other interactions
Pricing options: Request more information on Bravo’s get-in-touch page
One reviewer loves how Bravo makes peer recognition easy:
“It’s maintaining proper data of all my company members, I can easily select the peer whom I want to appreciate, we can choose recognition from multiple categories.”
Reflektive aims to maximize the net benefit of recognition by linking it to specific goals and performance. The team has found this goal-centric approach to boost productivity, engagement, and retention.
Why we love it: It keeps morale and engagement high as employees receive peer recognition that’s meaningful to their priority goals.
- Custom hashtags socialize core values
- Charts highlight team members working on shared goals
- Feedback requests empower employees to seek input on key issues
Notable companies using Reflektive:
Pricing options: Request more information on Reflektive’s let’s-talk page
One manager says Reflektive is perfect for understanding employee goals:
“I love the Outlook extension that allows me to view the goals of any employee, add/edit topics for upcoming 1×1 meetings (savings tons of money on post-its) and give them real-time feedback and potentially rewards points right there. 89% of our users have given feedback and 100% have received feedback in the first few months of use.”
19) Vantage Circle
Vantage Circle is a one-stop employee engagement and employee benefits platform that strives to celebrate your workforce. This comprehensive yet cost-effective solution is designed with the intent to help organizations in attracting and retaining their top talents.
Why we love it: It comprises of four different aspects of making people feel engaged in one single suite of solutions.
- Delivers 3 seamless integrations including chat collaboration
- Gift cards are available in 55+ countries
- Real-time data analytics for Admins to check engagement levels
Notable companies using Vantage Circle:
Pricing options: Vantage Circle offers a free trial and 3 paid version plans. For any further details, visit the Vantage Circle pricing page.
One happy user wrote the following review on G2.com:
“I appreciate this platform where the contributions of self and colleagues are recognized, which leads to self-satisfaction. Vantage Circle provides a sense of oneness in the team and improves our engagement”.
Preciate’s model is based on what they call Culture Nirvana,™ the balance between cognitive culture and emotional culture. This staff recognition app helps companies find and recalibrate any out-of-balance culture touchpoints.
Why we love it: It promotes an emphasis on balance that feeds healthy, holistic workplace cultures.
- Activity feeds may be displayed to applicants and customers
- Portraits feature makes recognition personal and shareable
- Trending strengths reports give managers a big-picture view
Notable companies using Preciate:
- Allegis Group
- American Airlines
- Mission Wealth
- Preciate +: $1.00 /mo/per user
- Premium: $1.50 /mo/per user
- View the Preciate pricing page for details
One happy reviewer loves how Preciate makes it easy to feel connected:
“A quick and easy way to share appreciation and feedback in the moment! Love the ability to “scroll” the wall and see all the amazing things happening throughout the company. In a company with multiple locations it helps feel more connected to the buzz.”
Workstride offers feature-packed recognition programs that can be catered to nearly any company style or goal. From widgets to gamification tactics, incentives keep employees engaged in programs.
Why we love it: This employee recognition app channels insight on what motivates employees into features that make engagement soar.
- Gamification leaderboard keeps recognition exciting
- Employee interest groups foster organic socializing
- Highlights feature delivers key updates on login
Notable companies using Workstride:
- Cleveland Clinic
- Orlando Health
Pricing options: Contact WorkStride Sales for details
One user was particularly impressed with WorkStride’s variety and ease of use:
“They were easy to deal with and I received the information I needed. There were a very good selection of different options that would meet a variety of different people’s needs. I was pleased with the variety. I was very satisfied with the value this employee rewards program provided. It was worth the value I received from it and was happy with the results. I was pleased with how easy it was to use this program. It would be easy for a wide variety of individuals and it was a good experience.”
People Also Ask These Questions About Employee Recognition Software
Q: What is employee recognition software?
- A: Employee recognition software is technology that helps you manage abstract human concepts—like employee satisfaction and relationships—with as much purpose and efficiency as you use to manage project deadlines and sales goals. This type of software helps companies provide feedback strategically, consistently, and measurably.
Q: How do I get company buy-in for an employee recognition software?
- A: Get company buy-in for an employee recognition software by telling leadership about amazing reporting features and telling employees about usability. Management will love using reporting features to link recognition to goals and ROI. Employees will love easily providing meaningful feedback. Use all the information and bullet points in this roundup to start your pitch.
Q: What do I need to do to get started with a rewards software for employees?
- A: To get started with a rewards software for employees, you’ll need to consider your budget, your program goals, and your employees’ technology preferences. Keeping all these factors in mind, you can browse a list of rewards software options and pick an option that best fits your team and your goals.
Q: How do I measure the success of my employee recognition platform?
- A: You can measure the success of your employee recognition platform in several different ways: direct feedback, quick polls, ratio of adoption, platform usage rate, reward redemption rate, influence on job performance, and so much more. Most available employee recognition platforms have robust tracking and analytics in place. Once you establish your key metrics, your program success should be a breeze to evaluate.
Q: Are there free employee recognition softwares?
- A: There are plenty of free employee recognition software options available that still boast a variety of useful features. Browse this list to find softwares with free plans.
Q: How does an employee recognition platform help with employee engagement?
- A: An employee recognition platform can help with employee engagement by making it easier for employees to get and also review the feedback they need. These platforms empower employees to get more feedback than they’ve ever received before. This visibility removes doubt and uncertainty, helping employees engage deeply in pursuing crystal-clear goals and trajectories.
Q: Does software for employee recognition really work?
- A: Employee recognition software works for many companies because it helps them provide strategic, consistent, and measurable feedback. Even companies with strong casual recognition cultures can benefit from software that provides a framework and platform for managing abstract, but incredibly important, work concepts, such as satisfaction, happiness, and camaraderie.
Q: Can a peer-to-peer recognition platform improve company culture?
- A: A peer-to-peer recognition platform can improve company culture by fostering goodwill, accountability, collaboration, and so much more. Consider how it feels each time you receive a compliment from a colleague. Recognition platforms help employees feel those positive feelings on a daily basis.
Q: What makes a good peer-to-peer recognition software?
- A: A good peer-to-peer recognition software will be easy for employees of all technological skill levels to use and adopt. Software that incorporates social sharing features helps increase program adoption and buzz. Browse features for a variety of recognition softwares here.
Q: How many hours a week will it take to manage an employee recognition platform?
- A: Most employee recognition platforms manage themselves; after an administrator completes the initial setup, organic participation should flourish with little hands-on management. The specific hours it takes to manage an engagement platform will ultimately depend on the platform you choose and how involved you wish to get in pulling reports and studying analytics.
Q: How do remote employees benefit from a peer-to-peer recognition software?
- A: Remote employees benefit from peer-to-peer recognition software that makes them feel more connected. Remote employees may feel disconnected or isolated, but even just a few kind words can help them remember they’re valued members of a team.