What is Employee Recognition (Plus Examples)

Mar 14, 2022
What is Employee Recognition (Plus Examples)
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When employees do great work, they deserve to be recognized for their efforts. Being able to reward employees is an effective way to increase productivity levels and output, especially if you’re working towards sales goals. So, what type of recognition efforts are people looking for, and what employee recognition ideas can you use for inspiration? First, let’s look at what exactly employee recognition is.

What is Employee Recognition?

Employee recognition is a way of acknowledging the work that your staff do. An employee recognition program is an implemented business scheme that rewards employees on their individual achievements, work anniversaries, milestones, contributions and reaching performance goals. Employees can be recognised for their overall quality of work, initiative, attitude, personal growth, leadership skills, problem-solving, and adaptability. 

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What are The Benefits of Employee Recognition?

An employee recognition program provides a wide variety of benefits, including:

  • Increased employee engagement

  • Provide a supportive work environment

  • Strengthens work relationships

  • Increased profitability

  • Higher productivity levels

  • Increased employee retention, particularly of top talent

  • Enhanced work culture

  • Employees feel a higher sense of job satisfaction

  • Fewer staff sick days

  • Lower stress levels at work

  • Improved customer service

  • Inspires other businesses

How Can You Reward Employees?

What can you do for your employees going the extra mile? Here are a few types of recognition systems which can be implemented into your business:

  • Manager to employee

  • Peer to peer

  • Private

  • Public

  • Anonymous

What Type of Recognition Do Employees Want?

Understanding what type of recognition employees want can be a challenge. After all, there’s no one right answer to this question. Conducting an employee survey is one way to determine whether employees prefer to be recognized privately or publicly. Alternatively, you may prefer to recognize individual achievements or team accomplishments. It’s also important to find out what type of work employees wish to be rewarded for. Do they want to be celebrated for doing a great job on a project or for achieving years of service to the company?

The key to successful employee recognition is to be authentic. Genuine appreciation efforts are more likely to be welcomed by your staff. If you’ve already implemented a rewards system into your company, see how your employees react when they are recognized. If there is a lukewarm reaction, then you’ll need to tailor your employee recognition program to achieve optimal benefits. 

“Our staff has praised the increased communications level Workmates delivers. We use it to communicate important project matters and give staff specific ‘kudos’ or even recognize their birthdays. More importantly, we use Workmates to clarify important project details that needed rapid dissemination among the entire team.”

Christopher Baggott Chief Executive Officerator of Medlinks Cost Containment, Inc. and Medlinks Staffing, LLC.

How To Recognize Your Employees

How can you recognize your employees on a day-to-day basis and in the long term? There are several ways to successfully show your appreciation. The following employee recognition examples demonstrate how you can achieve an effective employee recognition program. Remember, the better you know your staff, the better chance you have of rewarding them. 

Give Performance Feedback

It’s easy to forget how powerful performance feedback can be, particularly when it comes to daily contributions. Giving regular feedback on your employees’ performance helps to boost their confidence, as well as helping to build improved relationships with them. You can deliver individual feedback on a one-to-one level or hold team meetings to offer performance feedback on team projects

Reward Achievements

Have employees shown remarkable improvements or put in some serious graft? Rewarding achievements outside of reaching tangible goals, such as sales, is a great way to show your appreciation for your workforce who continue to put in hard work continuously. This helps to improve employee retention and overall morale within the office. Try taking your team out for a breakfast meeting paid for by the company to recognize a job well done.

Shout Outs on Social Media

Providing shout-outs on your social media platforms is a great way to recognize employees in a public manner. You could even take a leaf out of Dribble’s book by hiring celebrities to record a brief video praising your employees. The design platform used the celebrity shout-out app, Cameo, to get singers and actors to make short videos.

Establish A Rewards Platform

A rewards hub or platform where employees can send treats to their colleagues who’ve gone the extra mile is a great way to form fantastic working relationships. You could also create a rewards marketplace where top-performing employees can gain gift cards or subscriptions to magazines or media. "Workmates" has an integrated newsfeed where the kudo badges are shown and employees can exchange the points for rewards.


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Show A Round of Applause

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a spontaneous round of applause within the office. Surprise employees on their birthday, work anniversary when they reach a performance goal or perform well in a team project. Be warned, though, that this method may not be welcomed by all employees. Introverted employees may prefer private methods of recognition instead. Save your applause for celebrating teams or those who don’t mind being in the spotlight.

Give Extra Time Off Work

Surprising hardworking employees with extra time off work shows how much you value their efforts. This could involve giving an employee the day off on their birthday or giving an extended paid holiday over Christmas and New Year. Alternatively, you could offer staff extra paid hours off work for achieving specific milestones.

Offer Professional Development

Digital marketing experts, HubSpot, provide professional development in exchange for their employee’s hard work. They offer workshops, training programs, free books and their own training courses. This is beneficial for both the company and employees due to lower staff turnover and the opportunity for staff to progress in their careers.

Make A Small Gesture

Small tokens of appreciation go a long way. You could gift a bouquet of flowers, offer book tokens, send a thank you note/card, buy a box of chocolates or buy a gift card. Simple gestures make your employees feel valued, particularly if you don’t have any individual or team sales targets to meet. 

Provide Free Gym Time

Providing free gym time boosts employee wellness, as well as productivity levels. It’s a great way to lower stress and anxiety. However, it’s also excellent for showing your appreciation. Gym memberships can be expensive so rewarding staff with this can be a well-received appreciation gift. You could even schedule team gym time or workout sessions to deepen employee relationships.

Staff Lunch or Dinner

What better way to surprise your workforce than by taking your employees out for lunch or dinner. This can create some memorable moments for your team and show local businesses that you value your employees.

Go For Team Drinks

Going for team drinks at the end of the week is a popular way to show your appreciation. Offer to purchase the first round of drinks or plan drinks around a pub event, such as quiz night or karaoke. It’s a great bonding exercise!

Plan A Team Building Exercise

Team building exercises are fun, creative and ideal bonding experiences. Try to think ‘out of the box’ when it comes to the exercises you can organise. Paintballing, kayaking, river rafting, rock climbing or other sports are events that show that you value your employees alongside wanting to build relationships between them.



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Author Bio: Auria Heanley is co-founder of Oriel Partners, a boutique PA and administrative recruitment consultancy based in Central London. She is extremely passionate about providing the highest quality of service to both clients and candidates. Oriel Partners’ clients range from global multinationals to small boutique firms, all requiring the same personal service and high caliber support.

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