May 27, 2021

15 Employee Appreciation And Recognition Ideas

Go back to the time before you hit it big. 


What’s one thing that drove you to strive for excellence when you were just a regular member of the staff?


For most people, the motivation comes from the desire to get recognized for a job well done. Otherwise, it would be pointless to put in the effort day in, day out with nothing to gain. 

Because the truth is: You can love your job, but being recognized for good work will always be a milestone for any employee. 


As a leader, you’ve already gone through what they did. Use your experience to encourage them to achieve more. Your relationship with your employees should embody trust, commitment, and support. 


We all know that it’s a valid reason to leave our jobs because of a toxic environment or manipulative leader. 

employee recognition

How can you make employees stay longer and give their best to your organization? 

Short answer: Employee recognition. It’s the foundation of loyalty and dedication. If you’re a business owner, here are some employee appreciation ideas you can apply to your organization.


Related Article: Transformational Leadership — Building Leaders Who Build The Future


What are good ways to recognize employees? 


Employee recognition is an ideal way of acknowledging your staff for exemplary performance. Common reasons for giving kudos to an employee are:


  • hitting the sales target
  • make a customer happy
  • simply being diligent at work


Essentially, the goal of employee recognition is to motivate your staff, reinforce positive behaviors, and recognize best practices that will contribute to your business’ success (not to mention—their personal success). 


There are a hundred ways to make your employees feel valued. But in this article, we’ve highlighted 15 ways you can commend your staff for a job well done. 

employee recognition
employee recognition

1. Bonuses and Incentives

When you hear bonuses and incentives, it’s almost always synonymous with money. Think: Christmas bonus. But there are other special occasions where you can give your employees a monetary stimulus. For instance, when you see everyone working together to hit the monthly sales target and successfully pull it off, there’s no better time to share the success with them. 


It’s also a great idea to give bonuses to an employee who has been with you for years. Loyalty deserves a reward, after all.

Tip: Incentives don’t always have to be monetary. You can present company giveaways, such as tees and tokens (pens, notebooks, mugs, bags, and more). Or if you’re feeling generous—a trip to the Bahamas. 


2. Employee Recognition Programs and Events


Recognition programs are pretty standard for companies. You can give awards for Employee of the Month, Quarter, or Year. It doesn’t have to be company-wide. You can have one for each department.


It’s also a good idea to reward your readers. Try having a separate award for your leaders, such as Supervisor of the Month, Quarter, or Year. Cast the votes around your employees based on specific criteria. It’s a fairer game than taking it upon yourself to choose the winner.


Aside from recognition programs, you may also hold events where your employees can have fun and get away from the daily hustle. These can be company anniversaries, birthday celebrations, new additions to the organization, and other special life occasions.  


3. Certificates and Gift Cards


Certificates may vary based on performance, behavior, and years of service. Here are some examples of award titles for each category: 


Performance-based Certificates

  • Employee of the Month/Quarter/Year
  • Best Customer Centricity
  • The Star Employee
  • Stand Out Performer

Behavior-based Certificates

  • Best Team Member
  • Best Attendance Award
  • The Employee Engagement Champion
  • The Social Contributor Award

Service-based Certificates

  • Outstanding Service Record
  • Company Excellence Award 
  • The Collared Diamond
  • Salute to Loyalty
  • Service Anniversaries 
employee recognition

You can couple these certificates with a gift card—a simple but meaningful reward. You may give a free movie ticket for 2, grocery shopping worth $200, or a $100 restaurant meal gift card. Aside from certificates, some companies give a plaque for work anniversaries. This kind of recognition isn’t expensive at all, but it contributes to employee satisfaction a lot. 

4. Positive Feedback


Giving your employees positive feedback has to be more natural. In fact, if you’re not doing it regularly, you’re doing it wrong. Four in 10 employees become disengaged at work when they rarely receive feedback.


And guess what? It can be as simple as responding positively to their emailed report or going the extra mile by handing them a “gratitude sticky note.” Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up with sales targets and business strategies that you might forget to praise your staff for every achievement they make. 

employee recognition
employee recognition

5. Value-Based Rewards

Like what we’ve said before: rewards can be based on behavior or value. Leaders can select an exemplary team member. In return, team members can also choose the best leader in their department. Not only will it make your staff engaged with each other, but it’s also an effective way to strengthen your company values and establish peer recognition. 


Some of the behavioral assessments that you include are personality, work ethics, punctuality, and how employees handle a crisis or major project. 

It may be a familiar opinion, but let’s reiterate the fact that behavior says a lot about how employees deliver customer service and act around your business partners. 

6. Public Recognition


Recognizing a top talent in front of other employees is a good way to encourage everyone. 


Not only will it make the recognized staff happy, but it will also encourage other employees to work harder. 


Public recognition doesn’t have to be grand. A simple acknowledgement of someone who did great work during business meetings, lunch outs, or company events. 

7. Dinner Treats

If you’re having dinner with a team, then it’s a hangout. But if you want to show appreciation to a particular employee, you have to take them on a professional date—a little one-on-one if you will. 


Dinner treats are a good way to talk with your staff personally. It feels more natural and memorable at the same time. Sometimes, employee recognition doesn’t have to be all serious. In fact, it’s much better if you make it more spontaneous and casual. 

employee recognition

8. Experiential Incentives


Experiential incentives are experiences given as a gift to an outstanding employee. 


It can be adventure rides, skydiving, hotel stay, or amusement park visits. Unfortunately, experiential incentives can be costly. You should leave it for your top performers and major accomplishments because this type of recognition is a big reward.

employee recognition

9. Social Media Praise

If you and your employee are active on social media, you can show gratitude through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. 


Posting a photo of you together with an uplifting message won’t go unnoticed. You can also tag them with inspirational or motivational quotes. 


But the best way you can approach this is by leaving a recommendation on their LinkedIn account, which helps them build credibility and a stellar professional record. 

10. Recognition Wall


If you can come up with a birthday corner in your organization, you can surely put up a recognition wall (AKA the Wall of Fame) for your employees. 


Simple ways like encouraging everyone to write congratulatory messages to their coworkers and posting them can go a long way. It will impart a sense of belongingness to any employee. 


Get creative and use sticky notes, colored pens, or even cute stickers. You may also have a special board for displaying framed certificates of exemplary employees and company achievements. 

11. Free Wellness Program

If you aren’t aware of it yet, more and more companies are offering wellness programs for their employees, such as regular visits to the gym or a monthly yoga session.


Like experiential incentives, a free wellness program is a huge investment. However, it can be a great benefit for employees working in big corporations. 

12. Team Building


Team buildings are popular gatherings that strengthen company values and relationships. 


Try hosting a sports festival. Create teams for basketball, football, or volleyball. If you don’t have enough staff members on budget for something big, you can achieve the same through organizing physical games, such as tug-of-war, egg drop, watch your step, penny for your thoughts, and etc. 


And hey, don’t forget fun mental games can be chess or scrabble. If you don’t want that extra stimulus, playing table games keeps employees engaged and doesn’t require too much fuss to pull off.


When done right, team buildings improve the most important teamwork dynamics—trust, communication, and cooperation. It’s a great way to promote bonding and engagement between team members. 


employee recognition

13. Training Opportunities

Training brings many benefits to employees by improving morale and helping with job satisfaction. As a matter of fact, 87% of millennials consider development a crucial part of the workplace.It also increases employees' productivity and efficiency of employees. 


It helps them get to know their job better and excel in their field. Or, in some cases, widen their horizon by trying out a new role. 

Hold job seminars, career development forums, promotions, job transfers, and coaching opportunities. It might require investing extra effort and time, but it’s a surefire way to achieve employee retention and business growth. 

14. Birthday Incentives


Birthdays are always special, and they become more meaningful when celebrated with genuine people. 


Probably the best birthday incentive that you can give to your employee is a paid time off. Let them have intimate time with their loved ones while still enjoying a regular salary. 


If your staff is celebrating in the office, you can give them little surprises by decorating their workspace or organizing a team birthday lunch. Like public recognition, birthday incentives don’t have to be extra. As the popular saying goes, “it’s the thought that counts.”

15. Other Work-Related Support

We’ve already talked about monetary incentives, dinner treats, and special events. 


But the best company wouldn’t miss out on the basic job support for employees. It’s one of the most effective employee appreciation ideas. Examples are free transportation, a free meal, or a food truck at the workplace. 

An accessible and cheap dormitory is also applicable for organizations that have employees working from home. You see, by providing the basics, you’re showing your employees that you care for them not only professionally but also as a family. 

Key Takeaway


Employee recognition should always be a part of your company culture. Sure, hitting sales targets and achieving customer satisfaction are fulfilling. However, employees put more value on good internal relationships. 


When your employees feel valued for their great work, it positively impacts their attitude and behavior. It makes them feel that they’re part of the business’ success, which in turn would contribute to your company’s further growth—which is one of the many benefits of employee recognition.


Hopefully, these employee recognition ideas have given you the jump start you need to encourage your staff better and experience lower employee turnover.


Are you looking for ways to improve how you run your business? We can help. Drop us a line now! 

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