Best Employee Recognition Ideas For 2024

In a world where the work culture has become extra competitive than before, companies that have the well-skilled and best-trained staff have the upper hand. But, even the best employees fail to perform well when there is insufficient motivation. With the right amount of motivation, be it verbal or materialistic, employee recognition is needed for a business to grow along with its employees. 

Businesses that have a good recognition plan benefit from more engagement, better staff morale, improved customer service, and less attrition. Acknowledging significant achievements of employees and clients can have a significant return on investment. According to a survey conducted by a Great Place to Work on O.C. Tanner, 37% of respondents said that personal recognition encourages them to produce better work more often.

employee recognition ideas

Employees who receive positive affirmations regularly tend to stay loyal to the company and try to work better than before. Employee recognition shows that they value their employees, which has become important now more than ever. In this article, we will discuss the following:

Creating a Culture of Recognition

Recognizing the contributions made by people and groups within your business and their achievements is the main goal of employee recognition. It ultimately comes down to creating an emotional bond with your team members and your business along with supporting the work they perform.

As Jacob Morgan, a TED Speaker and four times best-selling author rightly said, 

“Company culture is that feeling that a company’s employees get when they work with you being a leader. It’s that vibe usually when you walk in the door. Your tone and mood are something that the workplace will consume and set itself according to it.”

The finest recognition strategies do something no trinket or gift card can do: they leave employees feeling appreciated, respected, and cherished. It’s a combination of art and science.

Why is Employee Recognition Important?

Giving your staff the acknowledgment they deserve has several advantages for you and them. You may decide if it’s advantageous to organize an employee appreciation program at your company by considering these benefits. The following are some arguments in favor of employee recognition:

  • Boosts Morale And Employee Productivity

Boosting employee morale by valuing their efforts and giving them praise can make them feel better about their work, improve their mood, and increase their level of job satisfaction. Additionally, it also leads to higher productivity and creativity.

  • Increases Output and Performance

When you commend a worker for their accomplishments, you’re conveying to them that they’re a fantastic match for their position as well as for the business. This ultimately encourages people to perform a good job at their work in the future. In addition to making them happier, increased productivity increases a company’s production and enables it to accomplish its objectives.

  • Improves Staff Retention

Not only do hiring managers need to teach their new hires, but they must also inspire them to keep doing their jobs that’s because only they can. Low morale and poor production are often the end results of low staff retention. However, rewarding your team increases their desire to remain with the company and raises the retention rate of employees. Additionally, it prevents your staff from working for a rival organization.

  • Polishes Work Skills

Regardless of how you give your staff members appreciation, just the knowledge that you do might inspire them to develop their abilities and do their best work. Not only will this increase productivity, but it also motivates them to look for methods to keep their knowledge about the respective industry and skills updated.

  • Builds Team Cohesion

Your staff will better function in their designated role in your company if you recognize them. It enables people to observe how their efforts directly or indirectly influence the success of the business. They become more motivated and productive when they are aware that their effort matters.

Also Read: How To Create a Culture of Idea Sharing in the Workplace

Inculcating Employee Recognition in your Businesses?

It doesn’t make any difference assuming we have science on our side with respect to building a case for recognition of employees, This is because the managers aren’t generally prepared for doing their share of the duties. This is likely a result of constrained time or the way that it hasn’t been yet established as a characteristic of the organization’s work culture. That eventually implies it truly isn’t fundamentally important to the organization. This can be observed from the source, which shows that while 44% of businesses said that recognition of employees is vital, just 10% of businesses effectively rejoice the Employee Appreciation Day. The level of this particular issue is visible in various studies and research.

As per Gallup, only 33% of all employees felt that their endeavors were valued in the last seven days. Two third of employees who hadn’t gotten any acknowledgment in seven days were twice as likely to leave the organization as individuals who were given acknowledgment. Dr. Donald Clifton moves up this idea in his book – How Full Is Your Container – where he guarantees that the main explanation for individuals relinquishing their positions is a direct result of an absence of appreciation.

Research from Deloitte concluded at the result that businesses with an amazingly successful recognition program had 31% lower willful turnover in contrast with businesses with an insufficient program. This is a major concern, given the monstrous cost and efficiency misfortunes connected with high staff turnover.

Also Read: 7 Common Employee Recognition Mistakes

If you have any desire to acquire the benefits of employee recognition, you really have to do whatever it may take. It is a fundamental share of your employee’s general performance management system, your company’s values, and overall culture. This won’t happen out of the blue; yet, it’s essential to take steps today and begin as you mean to go on. All things considered, the recognition of employees is about real and timely communication.

As we probably are aware, ordinary talks are one of the main work environment patterns. Yearly evaluations right now are an outdated and obsolete idea. They are being substituted by normal efficiency conversations where workers and leaders talk about goals, growth, and significantly, accomplishments. Such typical catch-ups are an amazing open door to permit an employee to know how they might grow in the organization, to say thanks to them for their endeavor, and to permit them to know how crucial their endeavors are to meet the organization’s objectives.

Best Employee Recognition Ideas 

Acknowledgments make you feel seen and appreciated. Even talented but disengaged employees may perform better than their peers, but they will never truly reach their full potential until they feel supported at work. Here are some ways you can appreciate and recognize your employees to make them feel like they matter.

1. Congratulate An Accomplishment

From thoughtfully welcoming your new employees while onboarding to celebrating special occasions and anniversaries in the workplace, recognizing your employees’ achievements or milestones they have covered goes a long way. You can start by giving employees thoughtful gifts on their milestones or any special occasion for the company as a way to thank them for their contribution. With Caroo, a corporate gifting website, you can add all of your employees’ birthdays and anniversaries into the employee milestone program, and mail gifts to them in one place for free!

2. Spot Incentives

Spot incentives are an excellent approach to promote everyday teamwork and collaboration, particularly among employees who work in distant teams. You can express your gratitude by praising or rewarding your employees when they complete a task. You can also build up a platform for employee appreciation that is affordable and manages spot incentives through software.

3. Outdoor Activities

The exhilarating adrenaline of an outdoor experience is hard to match. Such experiences go beyond the ordinary. Many events occur only once in the entire lifespan. When you’re surfing for the first time, rafting down a raging river, or flying through the skies on a paraglider, it’s actually hard not to create unforgettable, life-changing experiences.

Employees will view work as a ticket to a better adventure rather than a hindrance if you reward them with experiences like these. Setting up a program where staff members are given opportunities for excursions and real-world experiences can have a bigger impact than giving them a small salary raise or gift card.

4. Begin a Healthy GIF War

Use your preferred social channel for staff appreciation or communication to host GIF contests that are simply huge praise volleys. You may issue a challenge to everyone to come up with a GIF that best expresses their feelings about the amazing team conference or your designer’s efforts on the new (company logos), for instance. 

5. Make An Organizational Shoutout

Make sure your most efficient employee appreciation speech—whether it be a Tweet or a page—is polished enough. A shout-out to anyone in your emotional expression is a free, simple, and incredibly powerful approach to acknowledging staff. Some of the most well-known corporate leaders understand this and use it to their fullest potential.

Consider communicating your congratulations through a social recognition service rather than sending an email, which can be buried by mountains of spam. These websites are simple to use and may entice other staff members to join in and extend congratulations.

6. Send Them Lunch

The replacement for ‘thank you’ cards is ‘thank you’ meals. It’s simple to experience the age-old tradition of community dining when you gather together for a meal, whether it be digitally or in person.

You may simply plan a virtual team lunch with a digital credit card emailed straight to your team if you have people working from the house or in different places. Each of your coworkers will get a lunch card customized to your lunch preferences and hours so that everyone can order at the same time.

7. Spend Money on Their Health

Considering the unimaginable pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, concentrating on multiple elements of employee welfare is more crucial than ever. You can enroll your employees into wellness programs, which has been traditionally been one of the most popular employee bonuses, to show that you care about them. Any business’s cornerstone is its workforce. They ought to be compensated with resources that aid in building a strong health foundation.

Also Read: The Complete Guide To Employee Health And Wellbeing Strategy

8. Give Genuine Feedback

Giving thoughtful feedback to your employees has been one of the oldest methods of employee acknowledgment, as it is the most direct and successful method of inspiring your employees. By starting an employee of the month program or organizing an employee appreciation day, you can give your feedback and praise them in one go! 

9. Try Out Your Recognition Ideas By Polling Your Staff

An employee survey’s power can be quite strong. It seems to sense that the top response to SnackNation’s poll – What’s Your Top Employee Appreciation & Recognition Idea? – was “surveying your staff to learn how they prefer to be honored.”

Every worker is unique, and they will each value praise for their efforts and successes in various ways. Giving yourself a variety of choices and strategies to choose from can help you look at your employee’s strong points and appreciate them accordingly. You may increase your chances of success and gain a greater understanding of the types of individuals you work with by asking for some candid feedback from your staff via a survey. This can be done by using employee feedback software or just by putting up a simple survey.

10. Make Nicknames for Them

What if you offered colleagues nicknames that reflected their abilities and talents rather than using abbreviations of people’s last names or highlighting a distinguishing physical trait or aspect of their personalities? Nicknames foster workplace friendships and could be a fantastic source of fun. Nicknames may also be a subdued, long-term method of recognizing employees if they are given out carefully.

Imagine referring to your second in charge as ‘Hemingway’ to praise his clear writing. Nicknames based on abilities or skills enable people to live up to and even transcend their reputations while also making people feel valued and recognized. Words, especially names, have the power to change actions and beliefs through time to influence results.

11. Organize a “Crush-It” call on Friday

The candid tradition of SnackNation is the “Crush-It” Call. The whole SnackNation staff gets together every Friday afternoon and they go around in the room saying two things:

Someone in the team which they wish to “crush” and explain why they deserve to be recognized for their efforts.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for individuals to acknowledge one another, benefit from positive thinking, and bring that person’s dedication to the team’s notice. This allows everyone an opportunity to witness the amazing work of the team members they don’t normally work with as the team has increased.

12. Construct a “Go the Extra Mile” Program

Moving patients from one place for testing is a challenging and exhausting task for the personnel of the Radiology Lab at Staten Island University Hospital. The Go the Extra Mile or GEM program was an employee appreciation initiative that the recognition specialists of Michael C. Fina developed as a result of lacking in terms of their target number of movements per hour.

Someone would be nominated for a GEM certification when another employee was seen going above and beyond. The idea was straightforward yet provided the employees with the tangible appreciation they could have in their palms, which went a long way to making them feel valued.

Also Read: Team-building Activities for Your Team in 2023

13. Give Them Space For Fun

Mixing fun with work in the right amount can help create a healthy workplace environment for your employees. You can start off with something simple, like an icebreaker before starting out your work for the way. You can also throw office parties or even activities which employees will definitely enjoy. Throwing in a little bit of fun every now and then in an office environment can boost employee morale and also give everyone a break from monotony.

Key Takeaway

It is not just about giving out awards. Employee recognition helps you create a strong bond with your employees that is more than just related to work. Implement any of the above-discussed employee recognition ideas and observe the change in your organization.

employee recognition ideas

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is employee recognition?

Ans. Employee recognition is the acknowledgment and appreciation that employees receive from their employers.

Q2. What are the benefits of employee recognition?

Ans. The following are some of the benefits of employee recognition :

  1. Employee satisfaction
  2. Decrease in employee turnover
  3. High productivity and engagement
  4. Increase in retention of quality employees
  5. Boost in employee productivity

Q3. What are the different types of employee recognition?

Ans. The following are the different types of employee recognition:

  1. Informal recognition
  2. Formal recognition
  3. Social recognition
  4. Monetary recognition

10 Ideas For Employee Recognition Programs For Remote Teams

Employee recognition programs have become more popular by the day, as companies realize it’s an effective way to motivate and make hard-working employees feel appreciated. Thus, it’s an excellent way to retain employees who do well in their jobs.

With the rise of remote work settings like work from home, many companies wonder if these programs apply to them. The simple answer to that is a resounding “Yes!”. 

What’s great about this list is that you can easily integrate them into your operations and immediately start making your employees feel appreciated.

Below are the top ideas for employee recognition programs specifically tailor-made for remote teams. So get your notes ready, and let’s start with the article.

What Are Employee Recognition Programs?

employee recognition programs

Before we go into different ideas for employee recognition programs, let’s first define what it is. An employee recognition program is a way for employers to reward employees who have reached a particular milestone or achievement in the workplace.

The types of employee appreciation programs vary per company. Some have informal events and others have formal occasions for this. A few celebrate in both styles. It can be held at dinners after work or simply by dropping by their cubicle to let them know they’ve done well.

These types of events are a fun time for employees. It’s where people see their coworkers and team members recognized by the whole company.

What’s great about these programs is the perks attached to them. More of this topic is discussed thoroughly below.

10 Employee Recognition Programs For Remote Teams

The employee recognition programs here differ slightly from what you’ve usually heard and read. The ideas below are for remote teams on how they can recognize and reward their staff even without being physically together. 

1. Surprise Day Offs

This one is a very underrated idea that many companies overlook. Some higher-ups don’t see how important day offs are for their employees, so they never thought about trying this idea. 

Day offs are when employees get to mentally and physically reset for the week. It’s a time for them to rest and do activities outside of work completely. This is the time when they can spend a lot of time for themselves and their family and friends.

So if you’re thinking about how to award top performers, this form of recognition is something that they will greatly appreciate. It’s like saying, “Since you’ve done an excellent job, take some time off to rest and replenish your energy levels.”

What’s great about this reward is it makes companies realize how easy it is to make their employees feel happy and appreciated. Giving them a few days off will allow them to appreciate the company even more and realize how the executives care for them and their well-being.

Also Read: Why Do Employee Recognition Programs Fail?

2. Instant Recognition

A faster way to give recognition to your employee would be by simply writing an appreciation message on the team application you’re using. This doesn’t take much effort and can be easily seen by people in your company.

Appreciation messages can be along these lines:

I would like to take time today and appreciate what *insert name* has done for the sales department! Closing 20 clients in a week is not an easy feat. This only shows how big your potential is. Keep going!

I sincerely thank the ABC Team for the success of the XYZ Project! I would like to highlight the leadership of *insert name* throughout this whole journey. It was a pleasure to see you lead the team through hardships and come out successful! You are a valued member of the company.

3. Virtual Shoutout

There’s a saying that goes, “Praise in public. Criticize in private.” This quote stays true no matter the setting of your company. Just abiding by this line helps you retain more employees and increase their enjoyment of your business.

So if there’s an employee that you want to recognize, do a public recognition like a virtual shoutout. A virtual shoutout isn’t just any regular shoutout; create recognition content and post it on your social media accounts. It’s one way to let thousands of people see your employee’s hard work.

Private recognition isn’t bad, but sometimes the best employees want their work to be seen by others. They want to receive some type of social recognition and peer-to-peer recognition. It makes them feel great for what they’ve accomplished.

It also brings positive feedback to your business. Any company that takes time off their busy schedule to create an appreciation post for their employee is a great business. It’s a must-do for you since not every company takes time to do this.

4. Send Care Packages

This has been suggested a hundred times, but only a few companies integrate this into their employee recognition programs. This one’s a valuable recognition effort to delight your hardworking employee.

When the pandemic peaked, companies sent care packages to their employees. The package would include alcohol, sanitizers, face masks, and even masks for their children.

But when people started adapting to the new normal, the initiative of giving out care packages were gone. However, you can bring back this fun trend in your organization to show your care to your people.

Care packages usually come in a box filled with a set of items. These items can be set in standard or can be customized. Getting it customized to meet your employee’s preferences makes it more valuable for them. 

The insides of the box can range from snacks, drinks, clothes, new gadgets, and others. You can ask another employee to ask the awarded staff what they like. You can then tailor the items in the box to fit their liking.

Even if you’re working remotely, there are a lot of services that cater to this need. A little research can yield good results.

5. Surprise Food Delivery

Everybody likes food. What more if it’s a free delicious meal paid for by the company? Gestures like this are an excellent and hassle-free way to show recognition of your employees’ great work.

Again, if you can’t ask your employee what their favorite food is because you want to make the whole thing a surprise, ask for help from other employees. Tell them to be as natural as possible when asking to avoid any assumptions.

Receiving a delicious free meal can brighten up anyone’s day. This would be a pleasant surprise, especially if they had zero ideas about this. To make it more meaningful, ask the food provider to write a note of appreciation. This will make a better employee experience.

6. Employee of The Month

employee recognition programs

This recognition initiative only works if it has a significant reward attached to being an employee of the month. Otherwise, no one will try their best to receive that title. So to make it appealing, attach something useful to have that title.

Make sure to have a fair and objective way of picking who would receive this title at the end of the month. The last thing you want would be your hardworking employees feeling like you’ve overlooked their work. So have an objective point system for this.

7. Acknowledge Employees in Virtual Meetings

Staff and leader’s meetings are great events to recognize your employees. It’s one way of praising them publicly and letting everyone know how great of a job they’ve been doing. This is one way to create a positive work environment.

Other than just recognizing them, allow them to say a few words about their recent accomplishments or success story. However, others might be hesitant to do this but try to drive them up since it can motivate their coworkers to work hard as well.

This might seem simple, but every hardworking employee wants to feel valued. They want to be appreciated by the company they’re working for. And lastly, they want their good work to be seen by important people.

8. Gift Cards or Vouchers

These items might be small in the grand scheme of things, but they can go a long way to make your employee happy and delighted. Make sure to give gift cards and vouchers they can easily redeem since you are in a remote setting.

A great thing about this initiative is you can give out a voucher for almost anything. Be practical and think hard about what they find useful. You can give a free shopping budget, offer free gas, free car engine or brake repair, a gym membership, etc.

If you want digital gift cards, the most common rewards would be streaming and gaming gift cards, Amazon gift cards, and multi-store gift cards. These gifts are both fun and practical things to give in this digital age.

You can have a one-on-one call with the employee and express your gratitude and appreciation. After the conversation is made, you can send those rewards as your token of appreciation. They’d be happy to receive something after their hard work.

9. Send Work From Home Essentials

employee recognition programs

In a remote setting, working from home is common for employees. So, excellent employee recognition and reward would be gifting work-from-home essentials. Not only will these things come in handy for your employee, but they can also boost their productivity.

Here are some work-from-home essentials that you can send out as gifts:

  • Desk lamp
  • Back pillow
  • Office chair
  • Water bottle
  • Seat cushion
  • Daily planner
  • Lumbar back support

10. Subscription Gift

Subscription services have been the entertainment of most adults lately. When they’re off work, they go to their yoga classes, local gym, or spinning classes. 

Obviously, it’s not limited to physical exercise alone. It can be for entertainment or information purposes as well. Some have subscriptions for movies and others have exclusive club memberships.

You could also give a subscription to an online learning platform. This can help in making them more efficient in their jobs and responsibilities. Examples can be SEO strategy training, sales course refresher, or new trends in marketing.

No matter what it is, you can pay for that subscription as a reward for your employee. Let them pick the subscription service to have something to look forward to.

Bonus: Monetary Reward

Everyone loves a monetary reward on top of being recognized by the leaders in the organization. It’s one of the greatest motivators for employees to do well in whatever they’re doing in the company.

Handing out stock options is an excellent idea too. You can also give them shares of the best dividend stocks in the market to make your reward a compounding monetary gift.

Giving money as a reward can do many things for a person. Some might have problems and challenges that they only know about. Others might need it for medical problems, or simply they need it for advance rent payments.

Money can go a long way. If you have the budget for it, don’t hesitate to reward your hardworking employees with this.

5 Benefits of Having Employee Recognition Programs

Other than making your employees happy and satisfied, there are a lot more benefits that businesses can have when recognizing employees. To further push you to integrate this into your company, continue reading about its top benefits.

1. Higher Employee Retention

According to Gallup, a lack of employee recognition software can be a reason why employees leave an organization. 

Imagine doing the best you can day in and day out, trying to be seen by delivering excellent output, yet no one sees your effort. For some, that is enough reason to leave the company and take their talent elsewhere. 

Gallup added that the more talented employees are, the faster they leave. These are the employees that you want to retain because they are high performers and are very productive.

So to avoid this from happening, recognize your employee’s hard work. Give credit where it’s due. Award them if you can. Celebrate accomplishments and progress in the workplace.

Also Read: Employee Retention Strategy – How To Retain Top Talent?

2. Better Customer Satisfaction

When employees are motivated to work, their output becomes better. This doesn’t only make their performance better, but the receiving end of that output will be much more satisfied. 

This is another excellent reason to integrate an employee recognition program into your workplace. You are creating a company culture and company values that create quality output in their work. Plus, having more satisfied customers typically leads to improved sales, better metrics, and more acquisitions – increasing the value of your online store or SaaS business.

3. Increase Employee Loyalty

Higher retention and recognition will lead to an increase in employee loyalty and lower employee turnover. This is very important today since it’s a common practice to pirate employees from other businesses.

Losing a top employee because of a lack of appreciation is a massive headache. It will cost you money and time since you’ll need to onboard replacements that aren’t guaranteed to provide the same performance. You could’ve retained that employee if you only had recognized and appreciated their effort.

According to the Senior Vice President of human resources at GoodHire, there are a lot of benefits when employees feel valued in the workplace. But nothing comes close to having company loyalty. This alone can increase the average years of service in your company.

This only shows that when employees feel appreciated, they tend to have a great time at work and will develop an affinity with the company.

4. Attracts Top Talent

Attracting top talent is easy when people know that you have great recognition platforms or reward programs in your organization. Remember that top talent will provide your company with remarkable value. They are proactive and always give more than what’s needed. Most of them thrive off rewards, incentives, and recognition.

They’ll be more motivated to do great once they know the rewards they can receive. They will be more excited to work with you. Employee recognition doesn’t just motivate people, but it also indicates that the organization is serious about keeping its employees happy and satisfied. 

Anyone would fight for a place in a company that shows that in their culture.

5. Lessen Employee Burnout

In a remote setting, it’s easy to feel burnt out when you’re giving it your all and have little to no social interaction in your work. This can cause demotivation and can affect output in one’s work.

But with employee recognition ideas in place, it gives employees, even if they’re remote, something to strive for. It will help with employee engagement and productivity.  

This kind of initiative is a big help, especially for remote teams, because it makes employees feel like they matter. They’ll see that their work does not go unnoticed, and it’s a great way to keep them going and motivated.

Best Practices When Implementing Employee Recognition Programs

employee recognition programs

The best practices you can follow to help you successfully implement these programs in your organization are mentioned below.

1. Be Consistent

Once you’ve started these types of programs, be consistent in doing it. You don’t want this to be a one-time event. Your programs should be continuous for your employees to be motivated all year round.

When you don’t follow the right schedule, your credibility will die down. They’ll identify you as inconsistent and not true to your words. This can potentially lessen employee satisfaction and lead them to find other companies.

Also Read: Employee Recognition & Rewards: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid For Remote Employees

2. Be Detailed And Personal

When reaching out to your employee to show appreciation, go beyond saying thank you or good job. Be detailed about what you liked from their performance and praise their recent employee achievements. Explain what positive impact they brought to the company and how they inspired others to be better.

Also, be personal when addressing them. Don’t send out an appreciation letter template. Be genuine with your message – it makes the experience much better for them.

3. Make It Available For All

The culture of recognition in your organization should be available to everyone in your company. Since you’ve started this as a way to recognize and boost motivation, any employee should have the opportunity to be part of it.

If you make the program this way, you’re motivating not just one department but many employees in your workplace. This can boost productivity and quality output for your company.


There are different types of employee recognition programs in the corporate world. But the most successful employee recognition programs are excellent in making ways to keep your employees engaged. 

The types of recognition discussed above are a vital part of running a business, which is why some managers and leaders go out of their way to make their employees feel recognized.

Among the examples of employee recognition programs discussed in this article, the easiest and fastest way to implement one in your culture would be instant recognition. It’s the most basic way to recognize an employee, but it’s very effective because you publicly praise the person.

Employee recognition programs


Employee Recognition: The Art of Gratitude

The holiday season is upon us and even if you don’t celebrate the holidays in the religious sense, we are all aware that holidays are also considered the season of gratitude.  But while we apply that gratitude to our friends and family, and are thankful for their presence in our lives, why is so hard to express or receive gratitude at work?

Continue reading “Employee Recognition: The Art of Gratitude”

5 Creative Employee Recognition Program Ideas

Regular employee recognition has many benefits. When employees are recognized, employee retention, engagement, and motivation are increased.

Continue reading “5 Creative Employee Recognition Program Ideas”