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31 Recognition Ideas That Your Employees Will Treasure

31 Recognition Ideas
31 Recognition Ideas

31 Recognition Ideas That Your Employees Will Treasure

Making your employees feel appreciated is key to keeping morale up in the office. If your employees don’t know that you think they’re doing a good job, they may become unmotivated and perform poorly.

Employees who feel undervalued are more likely to be absent and leave their jobs, leading to a high staff turnover which reflects poorly on your company. Additionally, underappreciated employees are also more like to have negative attitudes, not communicate well, and lack initiative. All in all, it appears a good idea to ensure that your employees are recognized and feel valued.

But how do you go about doing this? How can you make employees feel appreciated?

This article will cover a number of ways you can recognize employees to ensure that they know how much you value them. Take a look now to find out more.

1. Make a Plan

The first step in every solution is to construct a concrete plan. Hence, you must create a plan to reward your employees. Your strategy doesn’t have to be well structured, but it must possess solid ideas to make it more viable.

Ask for input from other leadership team members to find out how they think you should improve recognition within your company. You could also speak with your employees to find out how they would feel more appreciated at work.

The more feedback you get from those around you, the more likely you are to come up with a plan that actually makes your employees feel recognized and appreciated by you.

2. Don't Forget Special Occasions

First, to make your employees feel like you care, you’re going to need a calendar that lists people’s birthdays 🎂, job anniversaries, and more. You don’t necessarily need to have a party for each one, and this may be difficult for larger companies anyway, but you should at least email them.

For smaller companies, you may be able to have a quick gathering, a slice of cake, and an hour off work to ensure your employee knows you’ve remembered their birthday and to boost company culture.

Work anniversaries, like 5 years, 10 years, and other special milestones, could come with a gift card or a handwritten note that acknowledges the employee’s achievements and reminds them what an asset they are. They have, after all, spent a lot of time working for and making money for you!

3. Peer Support

Peer-to-peer recognition can have a positive effect on the employee experience. In fact, peer recognition programs are “35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.”

Being recognized by your colleagues feels good. You work every day with these people, so knowing that they think you’re doing a good job, too, is an excellent feeling. For those in an office, you could have a physical wall of fame where employees may recognize one another for their achievements.

In the digital age, many more people are now working from home. For these people, peer-to-peer recognition could take place on a dedicated platform everyone can access.

4. Happiness Drive

There are many ways to improve employee happiness, and you can test out a range of these in the workplace to show your employees you want them to be happy at work 😁. Great options for boosting employee happiness include:

  • Focusing on mental well-being: Try in-house yoga and meditation, give employees access to mental health apps, and encourage people to take a full lunch break.
  • Offering benefits and incentives: These don’t just have to be monetary incentives, but most people won’t say no to a raise!
  • Encourage personal development: Helping employees to improve skills that boost their career mobility is a great way to upskill your workforce and show them that you care about their future. Additionally, continuous learning is excellent for good mental well-being.

5. Provide a Token

31 Recognition Ideas That Your Employees Will Treasure 1

Offering a token of your appreciation, whether a yogurt top medal 🏅 or a quick email to let someone know they’re doing great, can really help if you’re trying to build a culture of recognition. Not all recognition needs to come in the form of an employee appreciation day, after all.

6. Publicize Recognition

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We’re not saying every recognition needs to be public. You don’t need to hire a skywriter to tell your employees you appreciate them. But every now and again, it might be a good idea to formally recognize someone.

It doesn’t need to be an employee of the month, but a quick note in the company newsletter about an employee or team who has done particularly outstanding work in recent weeks would go down well.

Many employees may feel uncomfortable if you suddenly start sending emails with large pictures of their faces with glowing compliments beside them, but a quick note about someone’s fantastic work can make them feel good!

7. Monitor Small Team Successes

If you’re a larger company, you may want to monitor the success of individual teams and announce a team of the month at the end of each month. This friendly competition could help motivate team members to go above and beyond.

You could even incentivize the teams by offering a reward for the team with the highest output. This will vary depending on the kind of company you work within, but examples could be the highest number of clients gained or units sold.

8. Modify Rewards Uniqueness

When trying to motivate employees, you need to be aware that not all employees will want the same things. So, if you’re offering incentives, ensure that they can be modified to a person’s interests. For example, one person may love going out for great food or seeing new films 📽️, but another may prefer to spend time with family or hiking mountains ⛰️.

For monetary rewards, a great choice is to offer gift cards as part of your employee recognition program. Gift cards are easy to customize for each employee, who can choose whatever they want.

9. Sentimental Notes

Thank You cards aren’t as commonplace as they used to be, but the sentimental value of a handwritten note from their boss could make an employee feel truly appreciated. It shows you have taken the time and effort actually to write out your appreciation for them.

It doesn’t need to be fancy. You can even write a quick ‘great work, well done,’ on a sticky note and attach it to that report they submitted, but it’s a great way to personalize your appreciation.

10. Team Decision-Making

Rewards systems are not limited to trophies 🏆, awards, or gift checks. You might want to reward your employees by giving them the creative freedom to create, modify, and implement tasks. You can start by providing a weekly-based leadership program.

In this program, you may ask employees to voice their opinions or suggestions in specific phases of the project. Listening to their opinion shows you value their input and position within the company.

This could also help to motivate employees. If they’re being given the opportunity to shape their own workflow and do the things they actually want to do, they’re going to come to work in a happier mood and be more productive for it.

There are also many benefits to team decision-making, including a boost in employee engagement and navigating blind spots, as detailed in this Harvard Business School article.

11. Try an Appreciation Wall

Posting photos or announcements on your walls could look a bit cheesy, but sometimes having a shared place to commemorate your team’s wins can be a great source of encouragement for employees. You can also add pictures of shared experiences, team days out, and more.

12. A Food Party, Of Course

Okay, so a food party might sound slightly childish, but what we mean is treating your staff to lunch on you, putting on a spread at Christmas, and ordering pizza 🍕 when you’re working late.

There is a reason that food is a love language, and feeding your employees every now and then will let them know you’re thinking of them!

13. Employee Profiles

Employee profiles on your website are a fantastic way to acknowledge their achievements. You can list their education, role within the company and any other awards or certifications that they have. This helps people outside the company know who works for you and what they have achieved.

Something else you may want to consider is reposting and congratulating employees on sites like LinkedIn. Has one of your employees got a blog they update each week? Why not repost it on your company page to give them more views and show your pride in their work?

14. Fun, Fun, and Fun

From staff nights out to themed days in the office to team-building retreats, company events promote fun and excitement in the office. In fact, these shared experiences are thought to have a big impact on how your team works with one another and on team identity.

15. Think of Artistic Rewards

31 Recognition Ideas That Your Employees Will Treasure

Paint and sip, anyone 🎨?

Creativity is a fun and therapeutic thing to do, so why not get your employees involved in creative rewards and events? You could create employee challenges, like the best pet pic, where the reward is a gift card or a free cup of coffee. Get them thinking creatively to give their brain a break and help them relax a little.

Research has found that engaging in creative activities is a good way to reduce stress and improve positive emotions. This means that your staff will be rewarded, and they will reduce stress and improve output.

16. Invest in Rewards for Learning

Investing in rewards meant to nurture your employee’s skills could kill two birds with one stone. Aside from rewarding your employee, it would also benefit the company as upskilling can increase your credibility amongst competitors.

Equipping your employees with substantial skill sets could help them facilitate heavier projects in the future.

Send them to training sessions that interest them or allow them to expand their knowledge in their chosen fields by sponsoring a degree. By giving them a chance to grow, you’ll likely garner loyalty and upskill your workforce in return.

17. Celebrate Employees Who Have Been With You for a Long Time

Celebrate employees that are having their anniversary in the company. Rewarding them with a treat, like lunch on the company, a gift card, or even a certificate for a spa day 💆, can really show your appreciation for their loyalty to the company.

Remember to reward people in ways you think they will enjoy, and ensure they know you mean it! We’d suggest saving this kind of reward or recognition for significant anniversaries, like 5 and 10 years, etc.

18. Taking People Out of the Office

Sometimes, people just need a change of scenery 🌳. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. You could change your weekly meetings to walking meetings or head to your local coffee shop for a catch-up.

You could also consider company retreats, where you take the entire team away for corporate team building, dinners, talks, and even company swag. Smaller businesses may struggle to afford this much, so it’s important to note that even just a quick coffee will be appreciated by employees!

19. Continuous Learning Opportunities

We already talked about allowing your employees to boost their skills or undertake a degree qualification, but not all learning needs to focus on their job. You could also encourage other kinds of learning.

Why not implement a company book club? Invite guest speakers to talk about business or meditative practice. Allowing your employees to learn something new is a great way to improve happiness at work and make them feel like you care.

20. Provide a Breakroom

Provide a breakroom from which your employees can sit and relax. A breakroom is an excellent way to make sure your employees actually take a lunch break and get downtime in their workday. Giving space for relaxation can enhance productivity and ensure no one is getting burned out.

21. Make Sure Recognition Is Prompt

If you have a team member you know regularly goes above and beyond, then ensure you let them know you have noticed. Don’t let them burn themselves out trying to get you to see the extra work they’re doing.

22. Transportation Incentives

Nowadays, expenses can come in many forms. You may not have considered it, but subsidizing transport costs can be of great financial help to some employees. Consider how your staff members are getting to work and whether you can support them.

You could also consider using taxis if your staff ever have to work late, so they don’t need to rely on patchy public transport.

23. Invest in Mentorship Programs

Mentoring is a great way not only to help employees progress within your company but also to enhance communication within teams and build relationships outside of the traditional team structure.

Mentorship has benefits for both the mentor and mentored, and it can show both parties that you appreciate what they’re doing. It gives them new opportunities for learning and ways to build new skills.

24. Provide Specialized Holidays

While most people expect to get the regular calendar holidays off from work, you could also consider giving extra holidays that are specific to your company. Could you give people a day off on the anniversary of the company opening its doors each year?

You could also individualize these holidays by giving employees their birthdays off yearly or allowing them the day off for the summer solstice if they want it!

Lastly, holiday days could be incentivized. You could give out an extra paid holiday to the employee with the highest number of units sold per quarter or the one with the best client feedback.

25. Recognize Personal Achievements

We mentioned reposting work on your company’s LinkedIn profile earlier, but you could also consider supporting your employee’s work outside of the confines of their career. Does one of your employees own a small crocheting business on the side? Or does someone else run marathons in their spare time 🏃?

Recognizing achievements and successes that occur outside of work can remind employees that they’re not simply a cog within your corporate machine. It lets them know you take pride in your employees, even when they’re not working for you!

26. Install Suggestion Boxes Around

We said at the beginning of this article that part of your planning for an employee recognition scheme should include input from your employees. What better way to get input than to install suggestion boxes or other means of getting company feedback?

You can make it totally anonymous to ensure that people feel comfortable letting you know what you’re getting right and what they think you could alter.

This will give you a good idea of what’s working and what’s not. It also indicates to employees that you actually care about what they think too.

27. Gauge Societal Impact

Social issues are close to many people’s hearts, so showing your employees how they make a difference can be really motivating. Do you work with kids or vulnerable people? Could you show how your work has improved people’s lives?

If not, you could consider implementing your own initiatives, like a car-share scheme, recycling opportunities ♻️, and even charitable donations. Let your employees know that you care about your community.

28. Engage With Volunteer Programs

Another way to give back and offer your employees a sense of purpose and fulfillment is to have company initiatives for volunteering. You could organize Saturdays in the soup kitchen or create gift boxes for underprivileged children at Christmas 🎄.

Whatever it is, voluntary work can have a positive impact on mental well-being, and so it can improve employee motivation and happiness, too.

29. Office Pets

Now, if you work in an office with animal allergy sufferers, this probably isn’t a great idea, but allowing people to bring their pets in or even setting up a puppy therapy 🐶 event can bring a smile to your employee’s faces and help break the monotony of day-to-day business.

Animals are thought to have a positive effect on our mental health, reducing stress and helping people feel better overall.

30. Redeem Tax Exemption Principles

All the rewards discussed earlier are taxable, and you don’t want to depreciate the value of your tips by ruining your employee’s base salary. Consult with your accountant about the possible ways to exempt the reward from taxes. Who wouldn’t want a tax-free bonus?

31. Thank You!

We’ve listed quite a lot of ways that you can appreciate and recognize your employees in this article, but one of the easiest, cheapest, and most straightforward ways to show you recognize an employee’s efforts is to just say thank you.

A simple thank you can tell an employee a lot, and they will notice if you never say it!


Your employees keep your company going. In fact, without them, you don’t have a business. Showing that you recognize their work and appreciate what they do is important. Employees will stay in a company longer if they feel valued by an employer.

Check out all the tips and tricks we have recommended in this article to see if there’s a way you can be inspired to show recognition to your employees now.