19 Employee Recognition Ideas Your Employees Will Love

These employee recognition ideas are for you to add some fun and more engagement to your workplace. Employee recognition drives employee motivation, engagement, and therefore, employee productivity.

October 11, 2019 By Kristina Martic Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!
employee recognition ideas
15 ideas for employee recognition

Our employee recognition ideas are for you to help you to drive the culture of appreciation at your company.

Even though employers all over the world expect to be appreciated for their work, many employers don’t have employee recognition and rewards strategies in place.

ūüí° Check out 6 reasons why employee recognition is crucial for business success.¬†

Before we dive deeper into our ideas for employee recognition programs, let’s take a look at why employee recognition is so crucial for every company’s success.

Why Employee Recognition and Appreciation Matter 

Everyone has a need to be recognized and appreciated for good work. Moreover, dozens of research have been done to prove how employee recognition can boost business results by increasing employee engagement.  
However, it is important to understand how rewards and recognition programs work.

Gallup defines engaged employees¬†as ‚Äúthose who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†

To be more specific, here are some stats. 


employee recognition and engagement

Therefore, engaged employees have a positive impact on: 

Employee productivity 

Employee engagement has a direct influence on employee motivation and productivity. Not recognizing employees’ hardwork and not showing appreciation results in lower levels of engagement and increase in employee dissatisfaction.  

Check these stats out.  

  • 69% of employees say that they would work harder if they were recognized for their work.¬†
  • 78% of US workers say that being recognized motivates them at¬†their¬†job.¬†¬†

employee recognition and motivation

Employee retention 

Did you know that 51% of employees are actively looking for new job opportunities? As the cost of employee turnover is significant, this is statistic worries employers across the world.  

Moreover, the number one reason why Americans leave their current job is because they don’t feel appreciated.  

However, many are not aware of how powerful employee recognition can be when it comes to employee retention and lowering employee turnover rates.  

ūüí° Don’t miss out on 20+ benefits and ideas for employee recognition programs.¬†

Here are a few more stats on how recognition improves employee retention.  

  • Companies that have structured employee recognition programs enjoy 31% lower turnover rates.¬†¬†


employee recognition program- turnover rate

  • Furthermore,¬†55% of¬†employees¬†cite lack of recognition and a negative workplace culture as main reasons for leaving their jobs.¬†¬†

Company culture 

Culture counts.  In fact, 80% of the people surveyed by Globaforce consider company culture an important aspect of the company they work for.  

Sadly, only 55 % of employees surveyed think they work in a good culture. That’s a pretty significant disconnect, and it represents a real opportunity for improvement. One winning roadmap for improving company culture is recognition.  

stats on company culture

The same survey shows that the strength of company culture corresponded directly to frequency of recognition. I think we can all agree that employees who are recognized have a much higher stake in corporate culture.  

It is extremely important for recognition and employee feedback to be tied to company values. Then, employees better understand how their efforts are valued by the company and their peers.

ūüí° Don’t miss out on these 15 best practices for employee feedback.¬†


Such alignment can provide the direction and reinforcement for a company’s culture, as employees will know the type of behaviors that are most desired, valued and appreciated. 

Employee collaboration 

Companies that support and encourage peer-to-peer recognition are much better in teamwork and collaboration.  

Therefore, you should enable your employees to recognize their colleagues, build friendships and strengthen teamwork within the members of the organization. 

Remember that peer-to-peer recognition, in addition to top-down recognition can drive 35% better financial results.  

Customer satisfaction and loyalty 

Happy employees make happy customers. Therefore, many employee recognition programs are designed to increase employee satisfaction with the main goal to increase customer satisfaction.  

  • According to Aberdeen, companies with engaged employees see 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue.¬†
  • Another¬†research done my SHRM and Globalforce¬†states that companies that have implemented peer-to-peer-recognition enjoy 41%¬†higher¬†rates in customer satisfaction.¬†¬†


employee recognition and customer satisfaction

19 Employee Recognition and Appreciation Ideas 

Even though the benefits of recognizing employees are significant, according to¬†Gallup‚Äôs research¬†from 2018, 53% of US employees are ‚Äúnot engaged‚ÄĚ and 13% of them are ‚Äúactively disengaged‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†

For all these are the reasons, you should consider implementing following employee recognition ideas. 

Many employers lack ideas on when and how can they recognize their employees.

There war dozens of different situations you can use to recognize and appreciate your employees. These can be both work and non-work related.

Let’s take a look at some employee recognition ideas for various situations throughout employee’s journey in your organization.

1. Recognition for a certain behavior 

Cultural changes are not uncommon within organizations. These changes often require from employees to acquire new behaviors.  

Recognizing employees for adopting those new behaviors is a great way to motivate and engage them.  

JTI, one of our customers, appreciates its employees for adopting behavior that help companies drive organizational changes and transformation.

employee recognition ideas

2. Recognition for innovation 

If you are trying to motivate people to bring ideas and innovation to your company, you can encourage to do so by rewarding them.   

3. Recognition for good customer experience 

This one is very common. Many employers have rewards and recognition programs based on customer feedback.  

Here are a few recognition examples related directly to how employees deal with customers.

employee recognition ideas

4. Recognition for good candidate experience 

Employee and candidate experiences are as important as customer experience. Here is a great public shout out to a recruiter who received a gift from her candidate. 

recognition for candidate experience


5. Recognition for project completion 

When an employee finished a project successfully, you should acknowledge their hardwork and devotion.  

6. Employee of the month recognition 

Employee of the month recognition programs differ based on company’s or team’s mission, vision and goals.  

Regardless, your best performing employees should know that your appreciate their efforts.  

employee of the month

7. Recognition for achievement and performance 

There are many different employee recognition ideas for employee achievements.

You can recognize sales team for closing a deal, marketing team for driving website visitors, product team for finishing a new feature, customer success team for upselling and many more.  

employee recognition idea for performance

8. Work anniversary and career milestone employee recognition 

Work anniversaries are one of the most common employee rewards and recognition programs. Here are a few ideas for employee recognition programs for work anniversaries.  

employee recognition milestones

employee recognition anniversary

9. Recognition for teamwork 

Teamwork is crucial for company’s success. Therefore, you can set up a recognition program that encourages employees to work as a team.  

employee recognition idea for teamwork

10. Recognition for learning 

Continuous learning is important to both employers and employees. Therefore, many employers have employee recognition and rewards programs that encourage employee learning and development. 

11. Recognition for personal achievements and events 

Celebrate with your employees their personal achievements and milestones in their personal lives.  

To support employee health, some employers have recognition programs for employees’ sports activities.  

Others have programs that celebrate new parents! 

employee celebration baby shower

12. Recognition for career advancement 

When you promote your employees, recognize them for that achievement. Their hardwork and devotion to grow within your company should always be recognized. 

13. Goodbye employee recognition 

Goodbyes are not easy but employees’ new career opportunities should be celebrated with them. In addition, this is your last chance to thank them for being a part of your company.

Also, this approach tell a lot about you as an employer and it helps you build a strong employer brand.

14. Recognition for work-life balance 

Many employers strive towards avoiding employee burnout and supporting employee work-life balance.

Give a public shot out to show that you are one of those employers who cares about employees’ well being.

employee recognition for work-life balance

15. Employee Appreciation Day

Take this day and devote it to your employees. This day should all be about recognizing your employees and showing them appreciation.

employee appreciation day idea

16. Just because employee recognition 

You don’t always have to have a specific reason to thank your employees. Why not surprising them with a small present just because they are a part of your team.

It is unbelievable what spontaneous and simple “thank yous” can do to your company’s culture and employee experience.

just because employee recognition ideas

17. Boss’ Day recognition 

Managers and leaders are under a lot of pressure to recognize their employees and give them continuous feedback.

What about recognizing bosses? You can devote the world’s Boss’ Day to thank managers.

boss' day recognition

18. Recognition for employee ambassadorship

Are you trying to encourage your employees to become brand ambassadorship. You believe that your employees can help you drive more sales or high-quality job candidates?

Rewards and recognition programs can help you motivate your employees to act as brand ambassadors.

19. Recognition for referrals

Struggling to attract and hire new talent? Did you know that employee referrals are the best source of new hires?

Referrals are the most affordable new hires who stay longest with your companies.

For these reasons, many employees have recognition and rewards programs put in place to encourage employees to refer more talent for company’s open positions.

Important Employee Appreciation Statistics

As seen earlier  in this blog, employee appreciation plays a very important role in driving employee and business success. If you are looking for some numbers that can help you prove the ROI of employee appreciation programs, we have put them together in a form of a video.



Employee Recognition Synonyms

There are a few different expressions for employee recognition and the 2 most common ones include:

  • Employee appreciation
  • Employee gratitude
  • Employee rewards
  • Employee awards
  • Employee acknowledgement

Your Ideas for Employee Recognition Programs

We would now like to know about your employee recognition ideas or programs you have already implemented in your companies.

If you have a good story to tell, share it with us and we will add it to our list of employee recognition ideas.

If you are looking into implementing your own employee rewards and recognition program, check out JobPts, our solution that has helped companies around the world implement meaningful employee recognition ideas.


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Rewards & Recognition Your Employees Will Love