20 Ideas for Employee Recognition Programs

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. 


Why is employee recognition so important?

Employee recognition plays a very important part in today’s fierce competition to attract and retain employees. 

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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. 

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:


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:

  1. Public recognition (acknowledgment via an award, certificate or commendation)

  2. Private recognition (from a boss, peer or customer)

  3. Promotion (or increase in the scope of work or responsibility to show trust)

  4. 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.Why-you-need-an-employee-recongition-program

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:

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

2. Private recognition ideas

3. Promotion and similar recognition ideas

4. Monetary and other tangible awards

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. 

Frequently asked questions

Why are employee recognition programs important in today's workplace? 

Employee recognition programs are key to keeping employees motivated, engaged, and productive, and are crucial for retaining top talent.

What makes an employee recognition program effective? 

Effective recognition is honest, authentic, and individualized, catering to how each employee prefers to be recognized.

What are some memorable types of employee recognition? 

Public recognition, private recognition, promotions, and monetary awards are memorable and impactful forms of employee recognition.

Can effective employee recognition be cost-free? 

Yes, many effective forms of recognition, such as public praise or a personal thank-you note, don't require monetary investment.

How should a company choose the best employee recognition ideas? 

The best recognition programs align with the company's values, budget, and the preferences of its employees, ensuring the rewards are meaningful and valued.

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