11 Ways To Recognize Your Employees

Updated September 30, 2022

Employee recognition is the acknowledgment of your company’s staff for excellent performance. Employee recognition in the workplace reinforces certain behaviors, practices and attitudes that lead to better performance and business results. In this article, we discuss what employee recognition is and 11 employee recognition ideas that you can implement to make your employees feel valued.

Related: The Best Ways To Motivate Your Team

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What are the benefits of employee recognition? 

The four primary benefits of employee recognition are to: 

  • Increase happiness at work

  • Retain employees

  • Boost company morale

  • Generate a self-growth company culture

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Employee recognition programs to implement

There are plenty of options you can use to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of your employees. With this in mind, employees respond better to recognition that is individualized to them.

Here is a list of employee recognition ideas to start with: 

  1. Employee of the month

  2. Employee recognition days or events

  3. Peer recognition programs

  4. Employee wall of fame

  5. Rotating trophy

  6. Social butterfly

  7. Off-site day

  8. Bonuses and treats

  9. Commute help

  10. Workplace training rewards

  11. Lunch with the CEO

1. Employee of the month

Employee of the month is a distinction given by management to employees that have excelled in their role at the company that month. When recognizing the monthly winner, make sure to list specific achievements that led to this award and how these achievements align with your company’s values. Your intention is to tie in the values of the entire organization to the productivity of your employees to motivate them reach their peak performance. 

Also, you can have other awards that complement the employee of the month award to generate further engagement from your employees. Some examples include: 

  • Problem-solver awards 

  • Customer service recognition 

  • Office cheer award 

  • Hopeful award

Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples

2. Employee recognition days or events

If your team or company has met or exceeded its goals, organize an employee recognition day at work to celebrate their contributions. Take the whole day to orchestrate and participate in team-building activities to increase your bond with your staff. Additionally, provide food and awards to give the proper recognition to individual team members’ wins. 

Here are some team-building activity examples: 

  • Potluck

  • Water balloon toss 

  • Scavenger hunt 

  • Community service 

  • Karaoke night

  • Rock-climbing 

  • Escape rooms 

  • Ax throwing

3. Peer recognition programs

A peer recognition program gives employees the chance to listen to feedback from their coworkers about their work. This approach can either be in a casual setting or a formal program established with your approval. In fact, this approach differs because employees facilitate the nomination of who deserves the best recognition. This way, employees will have an increased opportunity to be recognized. 

Peer recognition programs may consist of: 

  • Personal and meaningful handwritten notes 

  • Kudos message board 

  • Departmental recognition awards 

  • Daily affirmations 

  • Team huddles

4. Employee wall of fame

An employee wall of fame can be an extension of an employee- or peer-based recognition program. This presents snap photos of employee accomplishments. You can implement a wall of fame at both the company and department level and hand out awards at the company’s recognition day. A collage or storyboard telling how an employee reached the desired result of a project can lead to more interaction between employees and can provide additional inspiration for how to complete current tasks. 

5. Rotating trophy

Identify and purchase a fun trophy, stuffed animal or figurine that you can pass around the office. Give the trophy to an employee who deserves to be recognized for their performance and commitment to the organization. Have them keep it on their desk for a week or a month before they pass it along to another member who’s reached the performance threshold. 

6. Social butterfly 

Recognize your employees’ accomplishments on a public domain like your company’s social media channels. Describe who they are, their role, what they’ve done to receive this recognition and why it had such an impact on your company.

You can also do this for new hires, where you would highlight their education and the department they’ll be working in. It’s an added bonus to include the manager and the employee in the same photo to show who the new employee will be reporting to. 

7. Off-site day 

Take your company to a neutral site to work for the day. Some places that can hold a small or medium-sized team are cafes, libraries or other locations with a WiFi connection. A remote workforce might have more capability since they don’t have a centralized office space, but a change of scenery may be what your team needs to bolster productivity. 

8. Bonuses and treats 

A performance bonus is a common gift of gratitude towards an employee. During the performance review, see how they like to be rewarded and if a bonus reflects their performance. Treats are another strategy to reward your employees on a day-to-day business. For example, after your employees leave for the day, place their favorite treat or snack on their desks. Little signs of appreciation will boost morale and motivate the team.

9. Commute help 

If you know that a recognized employee has a long commute, consider offering a transportation reimbursement. You can give them a free bus or mass transit pass, give them your parking spot for a week or discuss adding it to their compensation package. This method demonstrates the care and appreciation you exhibit for the employee outside of the workplace. 

10. Workplace training rewards  

Offer workplace training rewards for employees and departments who are looking to level up their skills. Offer these three types of workplace training and development to gain more informed and communicative employees: 

  • Technical skills development: Content writing, social media, management, data analysis, coding and programming. 

  • Soft skills development: Communication, problem-solving, presentation, time management and conflict resolution. 

  • Team training: Improving team, collaboration, productivity, relationships and motivation. 

Related: What Are the Different Types of Workplace Training?

11. Lunch with the CEO

Depending on the availability of the CEO, consider this as a recognition for employees, especially if you’re a part of a larger company. Employees can use the opportunity to gain company and industry insight as well as to discuss how they can improve the company through new contributions and ideas.

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