Thinking about starting an employee recognition program in your company? Or just looking to revamp the one you already have? Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out 20 creative employee recognition ideas your employees will love.
20 Ideas for Employee Recognition Programs
Why is employee recognition so important?
Employee recognition plays a very important part in today’s fierce competition to attract and retain employees.
Companies work hard to find and hire top talent. HR professionals have started to use advanced marketing tactics to attract top talent and persuade to take their job offer.
➡️ Download free eBook and learn how to apply the Most Productive Recruitment Marketing Strategies!
Once top talent is hired, their work is far from over. Now they have to work hard at keeping their top performers happy, productive and loyal.
This is where employee recognition programs come in. Employee recognition programs are crucial for retaining top talent:
One of the top reasons why employees leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated, according to Gallup’ research.
Gallup’s poll also found out that 65% of employees haven’t received any form of recognition for good work in the last year!
Study by CareerBuilder found that 50% of employees would stay if they were tangibly recognized.
TJinsite’s research revealed that more than 35% of the employees consider lack of recognition as the biggest hindrance to their productivity.
Thus, if you want to retain your employees, keep them motivated, engaged and productive, you should implement an effective employee recognition program.
Characteristics of effective employee recognition programs
Before you start implementing an employee recognition program, it is important to understand what makes a certain employee recognition effective and successful.
Gallup's data reveal that the most effective recognition is honest, authentic and individualized to how each employee wants to be recognized.
In a recent Gallup workplace survey, employees were also asked to recall who gave them their most meaningful and memorable recognition.
The data revealed the most memorable recognition comes most often from an employee's manager (28%), followed by a high-level leader or CEO (24%),
When asked what types of recognition were the most memorable, respondents emphasized four types of recognition:
Public recognition (acknowledgment via an award, certificate or commendation)
Private recognition (from a boss, peer or customer)
Promotion (or increase in the scope of work or responsibility to show trust)
Monetary award (such as a trip, prize or pay increase).
As you can see, money is not the only (or even the top) way to recognize your employees.
You don’t have to spend any money to recognize your employees and show them that you appreciate their hard work.
Actually, according to Officevibe’s recent study, 82% of employees think it’s better to give someone praise than a gift.
How to choose the best employee recognition ideas for your company?
What type of employee recognition program you will implement in your company will depend on many different factors, such as:
The number of employees you employ
Your company values
The type of your company culture, etc.
When it comes to employee recognition, there is no “one size fits all” secret method. This why a secret to great employee recognition program is to adjust it in line with your employees' wants and needs.
Survey your employees and ask them what they want and would they like to be recognized.
Make a list of the employee recognition awards and ask them to vote on their favorites. You can even ask them to submit their own ideas and suggestions!
That way, you will be sure that you’re rewarding your team with something they really value.
Employee recognition ideas
Here is a list of 20 examples of employee recognition ideas your employees will love:
1. Public recognition ideas
Surprise appreciation celebration
Organize a surprise party for your top performers! Include some cake, confetti and their favorite tunes.
Shout out on social media
Post a photo of your employees on social media and brag about their achievements. Don’t forget to tag them!
Feature your employees’ success stories in your company’s newsletter.
Send a company-wide congratulatory email and praise your employees for a job well done.
Run a press release
Share a story of your employees’ success with your local press. When the story was published in the newspaper, get the article framed and give it as a gift to your employees.
2. Private recognition ideas
Hide a few notes of appreciation around your employees’ work area.
Send your employees a handwritten note, or just leave a sticky note saying “Thank you” on their desk.
Thank you meeting
Call an employee to your office just to say thank you. Don’t discuss any other issue!
Send a video
Create an appreciation video for your employee which includes a thank you message from your CEO.
Send a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers to your employee’s home address.
3. Promotion and similar recognition ideas
New job title
Reward your employee with a new, advanced job title.
Offer your employees to represent your company at an event they typically would not attend.
Ask for their help or opinion
Show your employees how much you value their opinion by asking for their input on important company business issues.
Give your employees an opportunity to work on special projects beyond their regular responsibilities.
Invitation to an executive meeting
Invite your top performer to join your executive team meeting.
4. Monetary and other tangible awards
Show your appreciation by giving your employees a raise.
Some of the best employee recognition programs, like Bonusly allow meaningful praise from peers in the form of small bonuses.
Book a luxury vacation for your employees in some exotic destination.
Tickets for an exclusive event
Reward your employees with courtside seats of a game, VIP access to a concert that is sold out or movie tickets to a premiere.
Offer educational opportunities
Surprise your employees with tickets for a conference, external certification, seminar, training or other educational opportunities.
Employee recognition programs: A must-have for successful companies
In today’s workplace, employee recognition programs are no longer just nice to have – they’re critical.
Employee recognition is the key to employee satisfaction.
If you want to keep your employees happy, engaged and productive, you need to let them know that their hard work is recognized and appreciated.