11 Employee Recognition Awards Your Employees Really Want 

Give these 11 employee recognition awards to your employees and watch their productivity, satisfaction and happiness improve.

June 16, 2020 By Sara Ana Cemazar Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!
employee recognition awards best practices
employee recognition awards

Employee recognition awards are a great way to show appreciation to your employeesHowever, there are many employee recognition awards to choose from, and it might be hard to always pick the right one. 

Your employees are diverse – so your employee recognition awards, and the reasons you give them awards forshould also be. Read further to find out which employee recognition awards your employees really want, what are the best employee recognition practices and the important ways in which employee recognition can impact your workplace. 

💭 Before you start, get this employee recognition calendar and tailor your employee recognition awards according to holidays. 


11 Employee Recognition Awards Examples 

We all know how important it is to recognize your employees work. Employee recognition is correlated with employee engagement, employee retention and employee productivity. 

Check out these employee recognition awards your employees really want and improve your employees’ experience. 

A simple “Thank you” 

Did you know that 54% of employees prefer a verbal “Thank you” for their day-to-day accomplishments? Yes, it is that simple. Your employees’ satisfaction and progress depend on your everyday encouragement and acknowledgement of their efforts! 

employee recognition preferences

💭 Check out our employee appreciation email and note templates to thank your coworkers. 

Employee of the Month Award 

Employee of the Month is a traditional, yet effective employee recognition awardHowever, you need to make a set of criteria for getting one in order to keep it meaningful. 

Employee of the Month award can be given for achieving exceptional results, for innovation and many more. Get these editable Employee of the Month templates and letters to recognize your employees’ efforts! 

Shout out on social media 

A good employee recognition award is a public one. By showing off your employees on social media, not only do you inspire others to work hard, but you also strengthen your employer brand. 

Therefore, try using your social media platforms for acknowledging your employeesIt is a great strategy for showing your employees how much their work means to the company! 

Growth opportunity 

Many Millennial employees tend to stay with a company for less than 2 years. Why? Because they lack growth opportunities. Younger workers are ambitious and not afraid to switch boats if they feel their work and efforts are not appreciated in your company. 

Therefore, try to establish a growth plan and reward your workers with a promotion when it is due. Also, your managers can adopt a coaching management style that equips employees with great skills to advance their careers and take on a managerial role themselves. 

employee growth opportunities

Custom employee recognition awards 

One of the best employee recognition awards are the ones you create on your own. Many companies have established their own recognition awards, followed by amazing award ceremonies. 

💭 If you are a fan of the TV series Office, just think about how many memorable moments and inspiration came from their employee recognition awards Dundies! 


Financial incentives are still very popular and desired employee recognition award. Bonuses are a great way to recognize your employees’ exceptional results or achievement of certain goals. 

However, financial employee incentive programs are often tailored to teams’ joint goals. Although this encourages teamwork, you should also give out bonuses based on individual performance. Employees want to get financial rewards for achieving goals they control on their own. 

Organize an awesome team building 

Organizing lavish team buildings can become a staple in your employer branding strategy. Many companies are famous for their extravagant team buildings, including parties, games, trips and many more. 

If your employees are working hard, this is a great way to treat them to a fun experience which also has a power to bring your team closer.  

Flexible recognition awards 

Many companies opt for flexible employee recognition awards that employees can choose for themselves. For example, after collecting points inside Recognition and Rewards platform JobPts, employees can select the gifts they want to be rewarded with. 

This gives your employees a unique opportunity to choose the award they really prefer. On the other hand, this option allows you to save the time you would spend on creating or buying customized rewards or finding out what your employees prefer for a gift. 

Personalized employee recognition awards 

Personalized employee recognition awards are very inspiring and thoughtful gifts you give your employees based on their preferences. For example, if you know your employees like a certain music band, you would get them concert tickets or branded t-shirt. 

Although this kind of employee recognition award would create a strong emotional bond between your company and its employees, it is the one that takes most of your time and effort. 

Organize an office party 

Everybody likes office parties! They are a perfect opportunity to treat your employees with their favorite cake or snack. Besides, your employees appreciate a little down-time to hang out with their colleagues. 

If you want to take it up a notch, feel free to overdo it with theme parties! Of course, this kind of employee recognition award should be held when a group goal is achieved, or in case of special occasions like birthdays and other milestones. 

Host employee anniversary celebrations 

Similar to the previous, employee anniversary celebrations present an opportunity to honor your employees’ loyalty to your company. Social gatherings in form of celebrations also give your employees opportunities to bond and company culture to rest upon more than professional ties. 

employee recognition award

Besides, employee anniversaries are important milestonesSome companies celebrate group anniversaries for more employees, which is also a good idea. 

Employee Recognition Best Practices 

If you want your employee recognition awards to have the best effect, there are certain best practices to follow. As you are probably aware, giving employee recognition awards is just the final part of the whole employee recognition process 

In order to achieve the best results from your employee recognition, you should carefully prepare and implement your employee recognition program. However, there are also other important steps to follow.  

1. Think about the goals you want to achieve 

Why do you want to start recognizing your employees? Think about the goals of your employee recognition efforts. Do you want to prevent high employee turnover, or do you want to stimulate innovation in your company? 

This step is very important because your whole employee recognition program design depends on the company-wide goals you want to achieve. 

2. Align with core company values 

If you want your employee recognition awards to have a profound effect on your organization, you must align your recognition efforts, messaging and ideas with your core company values. By doing this, you will support the behavior you want to see in your company and reinforce the values your company is built upon. 

3. Ask your employees about the ways they want to be recognized 

Every company is different – and every employee wants to be recognized in a different way! Your employees should have a say in how you design your recognition program, although you should primarily be guided by the goals you want to achieve. 

💭 Use an employee survey solution like SurveyRocks to ask your employees for their input. 

4. Measure the impact of your employee recognition program 

Employee recognition program allows you to approach recognition holistically. Namely, you can constantly track the results and adjust your program according to them. Furthermore, if you navigate employee recognition in a large company, you need to have reports to give to your superiors and connect with your company-wide goals. 

💭 Get our Employee Recognition Playbook to find out the exact steps to follow when implementing an employee recognition program. 

5. Facilitate peer-to-peer recognition 

Did you know that peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager recognition only? Therefore, enable your employees to give each other recognition. It has the power of improving employee relations and enhancing your whole company culture. 

peer to peer employee recognition

6. Gamify your employee recognition 

Make the recognition experience fun for your employees! If you are looking to achieve high involvement and engagement from your employees, you camake it competitive and opt for nomination programs. Your employees can then nominate and vote for best performers, kindest colleagues, best out-of-the box thinkers and more! 

💭 Try out our Employee Recognition Platform JobPts to see how it could work! 

7. Make it transparent 

Your employees need to know who is being recognized and for which reasons in order to create a culture of recognition. Therefore, make your recognition practices transparent and social. Recognition platforms like JobPts have social recognition feeds integrated within them – that way, your employees always know what is going with recognition in your company and are incentivized to participate themselves! 


8. Make it user-friendly 

An important factor that plays into popularity of your recognition program is the feasibility of recognition itself. In other words, employees participate in employee recognition programs more if it is easy for them to recognize others. For example, enabling recognition via your employees’ favorite communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams is a great way to ensure your employees’ participation in the recognition program. 

💭 See how easy it is to recognize coworkers with JobPts. 

9. Offer a high variety of gift options 

Another important aspect of your employee recognition practice is your employees’ satisfaction with the recognition awards that you offer them. As discussed earlier, including a high variety of gift options into your recognition strategy makes it easier for your employees to choose a gift they really want. Therefore, allow your employees to select their own award and see their happiness grow. 

Why is It Important to Give Employee Recognition Awards 

If you are an HR professional, you are probably aware of many positive aspects of employee recognition. Simply, it impacts company in many ways that lead to increased profits and business success. 

Apart from that, HR professionals agree that recognition positively affects employee experience, employee engagement and employee happiness. 

employee recognition stats

In what other ways does employee recognition impact your employees and your company? 

1. Enhanced employee morale 

Your employees’ belief in your company, its vision and its goals are crucial to their engagement and productivity. When their efforts are recognized, your employees’ morale is boosted. Your employees appreciate and believe in a company that recognizes their effort! 

2. Improved employee motivation 

Employee recognition awards improve your employees’ motivation.  According to research, 93% of employees who feel valued by their employer are motivated to do their best work, while only 33% of those who do not feel valued are motivated to perform their best.  

employee appreciation

3. Building a positive company culture 

Imagine a company where coworkers thank each other for pleasant collaboration experiences, for their hard work and effort, or just for being a good colleague... It is a place of inspiring, encouraging and positive company culture in which your employees can really reach their potential.  

4. Retaining top talent 

You are probably aware how high the demand for the top talent is on the job market. Your most talented employees are often aware of their worth and will choose to work for an employer that fits their criteria best. That is why it is crucial to know that 76% of employees who do not feel valued at work are seeking other job opportunities, while 89% of managers wrongly believe that they quit because they want more money. 

why employees quit

5. Improved productivity 

One of the most common goals of employee recognition efforts is to improve employees’ productivity. Among other impactful research, the one from Salesforce shows that employees who feel recognized for their effort are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. 

💭 Find out more positive aspects of employee recognition for your business success. 

employee recognition ebook