Employee Engagement

18 meaningful employee recognition ideas

Reward your team for achievements, milestones, birthdays, and special occasions

Employee recognition is the acknowledgment and appreciation of an employee's efforts. It is a way to positively reinforce behavior that suits your company culture and show employees they are appreciated. Recognition can come in many forms, such as verbal praise, bonuses, or rewards. Employees can be recognized publicly or privately by supervisors, managers, or even peers.

Whatever form it takes, employee recognition is an integral part of building a positive and productive workplace. According to the Incentive Research Foundation, employee recognition is key to employee motivation, increasing profitability, and ensuring that employees' efforts align with organizational objectives.

The importance of positive feedback & recognizing employees

Positive feedback and recognition make employees feel appreciated and valued. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to be loyal to their employer and less likely to leave their job.

Employee recognition helps to create a positive work environment and a motivated workforce. When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work. Recognition can also help build company morale and foster teamwork. According to Deloitte, employee recognition is a major driver of employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

🙌  Employee recognition ideas

There are many ways to give recognition — here are some of the most popular:

1. Volunteer day off

Employees love feeling appreciated, and one great way to show your employees that you care is by giving them a day off to volunteer for a cause that matters to them. A volunteer day will allow them to give back to the community and get involved in something they're passionate about.

2. Employee recognition event

This type of event is a chance to celebrate the achievements of your employees and thank them for all their hard work. You can have food, drinks, and fun activities for everyone to enjoy.

3. Wall of fame

Select a physical wall in your office or a digital wall (on your company's website or social media page). On this wall, you can post photos and bios of employees who have achieved something great, whether it's an award they've won or a major accomplishment at work.

4. Public praise

When an employee does a great job, publicly praise them for it. You can do this in front of their colleagues, in a meeting, or in a company-wide email.

5. Give #kudos in a Slack channel

If your company uses Slack, start a #kudos channel where employees can post positive messages about each other. A #kudos channel is a great way to build community and workplace morale.

6. Social media callout

Make sure to post about employee appreciation regularly. You can post photos of company events, quotes about how grateful you are for your employees, and even videos thanking individuals for all their hard work.

7. Send a charitable eCard

Thank employees with a Goodworld eCard. Make a donation to a nonprofit organization in honor of an employee. They will receive a personalized email and message notifying them of the gift.

8. Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

This annual event takes place on the first Friday of March each year. On this day, you can thank your employees for all their hard work and dedication with fun activities, food, and beverages.

9. VIP parking spot

Offering employees VIP parking for a certain amount of time (a day, week, or month) shows how much you value their time and effort at work.

10. Give everyone a day off after they complete a big project

After employees complete a big project, a day off could give them time to relax and recharge before they begin their next one. Time off helps employees maintain a good work-life balance and shows them that you care about their well-being.

11. Wellness day

A wellness day can include time off for activities like yoga, meditation, massage, or a walk outside. Rewarding employees with a wellness day helps promote a healthy lifestyle.

12. Catered meal

A catered meal can be anything from pizza to tacos to barbecue. Employees will love the treat of a delicious meal specially prepared for them.

13. Impromptu time off

Impromptu time off can be a half day or a full day and be used for any reason, such as taking care of a sick family member or attending an appointment. Impromptu time off allows employees to take time for themselves without worrying about work.

14. Secret Santa-style appreciation

Secret Santa-style appreciation is like the traditional game of Secret Santa, during which employees draw the name of a colleague and get them a gift. In addition to a gift, employees write a personal note thanking or praising their colleague.

15. Give charitable gift cards

Give employees the gift of giving back. Send them a GiveCard that they can redeem at the nonprofit cause they care about most.

16. Lunch with a leader

A one-on-one lunch is a chance for employees to get to know their leaders on a more personal level. It can also be a great opportunity for leaders to learn more about their employees and what interests them.

17. Vacation day on birthdays

Birthdays come once a year — giving your employees a day off on their special day is one of the best gifts you can give them.

18. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition

Promote employees recognizing their peers with a small gift or thank-you note. Peer-to-peer appreciation can be just as meaningful as appreciation from a manager.

Implement an employee recognition program

To develop an employee recognition program, first determine what type of behaviors or achievements you would like to recognize. The next step is to choose the types of recognition most meaningful to employees. Some companies opt for monetary bonuses, while others offer paid time off or gift certificates. Whatever type of recognition you choose, make sure your program is inclusive of all employees. Reach out to learn how Goodworld can integrate social impact into your rewards and recognition program.