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15 Employee Recognition Ideas That Your Staff Will Love

Everybody loves to be recognized, acknowledged, and appreciated. And so do your employees. Showing recognition after a project or task is completed makes employees feel that you value and appreciate them.

However, Gallup found that just 1 out of 3 American workers feel really appreciated for their good work in the last week. Many employees often feel like their hard work goes unnoticed. And those who don’t feel recognized enough are twice as likely to consider leaving within a year.

Why do employers neglect such an opportunity to boost employee engagement without breaking the bank? Don’t be that employer. Here are 15 employee recognition ideas to get you started.

1. A day out

employee recognition ideas to try out

If your teams always work in the office, changing the work location sometimes to refresh the atmosphere is necessary. Plan a day to work somewhere else. Maybe try out a new local coffee shop?

You can organize days out after the completion of a project or an important task. If the day out is to celebrate an employee’s contribution, don’t forget to mention their name and acknowledge their effort publicly.

2. Personalized birthdays

Celebrating employees’ birthdays is a common activity in most businesses. But why don’t we invest in it a little more to make the experience more personal?

Instead of sending the same birthday cards and presents to everyone, you can prepare gifts that suit each employee’s personality and interests. This requires some observation and getting to know your employees, but they’ll surely appreciate your effort.

Buy a birthday cake, order good food, and celebrate the day with the whole team. You can also express your gratitude and appreciation for their hard work on birthday cards.

3. Have a funny trophy

Make a simple but impressive trophy or small statue and let one of the outstanding employees keep it for a week. The trophy will be passed from one to another whenever they perform well.

Also, write a note that goes with the trophy to say what it means and why your staff deserves to receive it. This is a great employee recognition idea that every business should keep as a part of their culture.

4. Thank you notes

a thank you note as an employee recognition

Sometimes, a thank-you note for an employee’s effort is enough to make them feel valued. This idea is great for companies specializing in digital or technology, where people work more on computers. An actual piece of paper expressing your appreciation and recognition speaks louder than anything. This is a simple, yet effective idea that shows your recognition and never gets old!

5. Reward with vouchers

Every time an employee successfully completes an assigned task, that person will be given a certain code. At the end of each month, the code can be used to redeem attractive vouchers, such as shopping coupons, movie tickets, or discount codes.

6. Always keep your door open

There are many tasks that need to be completed when you’re a leader, so getting caught up in the workflow and not being able to interact with employees is inevitable. One simple way to overcome this problem is to keep your office door open.

By doing this, you can easily observe the working situation of your employees, and ask questions when they approach. Remember small details about the personality and characteristics of each individual to start the story will build a good relationship and make employees feel recognized.

7. Recognition from peers

In many cases, employees often don’t receive praise directly from their bosses or customers. In this case, when indirectly knowing the good employee’s performance, don’t hesitate to notify them!

Another way employees feel recognized in the team is by encouraging people to see each other’s strengths. During group meetings, ask people to give their opinion about a colleague who they feel has done a great job.

It’s not only an effective employee recognition idea, but also a chance for staff to show appreciation to each other and strengthen their relationships.

8. Training programs

Training sounds like a boring activity and just simply creates more tasks. You’re wrong! If you know how to organize an intensive but fun training program, your employees will get a chance to advance in their skills and feel motivated. Once they level up their capabilities, they will strive to contribute.

Besides collective development, businesses also need to invest in perfecting each individual. The self-help programs on skills such as time management, creativity, emotions management, etc. will create a platform for your employees to learn and prosper. It shows that you care about their weaknesses, and are willing to help your employees work on them.

9. Commute fee

a commute fee as an employee recognition

Many employees live far away from the office. That means they have to travel a long distance by car or train to work, which usually costs them a lot. Recognize their problems and grant them a small amount of money to incur additional expenses for commute, or parking. Make them feel hassle-free going to work by covering their transportation costs. This will make your staff feel that you care about them and appreciate their efforts. 

10. Wall of fame 

Pictures can say more than words. The Wall of Fame is a fun way to highlight the achievements of individuals or teams. It’s a unique way to showcase the organization’s culture of recognition. 

Take photos of employees’ achievements and attach them to the wall of fame. Encourage colleagues to write congratulations around those images. This will remind your staff how much they’re appreciated by their peers and leader.

11. Be the boss for a day

Reward your employees by giving them the chance to be the boss for a day. Obviously, you don’t have to give them all financial records or paperwork, but you can let them participate in board meetings, sit in private offices and get access to services for leaders only.

By doing this, you will help employees understand what it feels like to be a boss. This can both change their attitudes, as they understand the difficulties a leader is facing, while encouraging them to work harder to get promoted to higher positions.

12. Wellness activities

Continuous work puts your employees under stress, especially when they have to be on important projects. Rewarding them with a course in meditation, yoga, or a massage will help relieve fatigue, stress, and keep your staff focused on work and productivity. Employee wellness is ultimately vital and it is a great way to address this and employee recognition at the same time.

13. Honoring employees publicly

Show your respect to your employees by extending recognition beyond the company. You can utilize social media or team messaging app as a communication channel where you can tell your employees’ achievements and their hard work to customers and partners. This will show them how much you appreciate their efforts. 

Besides social media, don’t forget to honor your employees in front of others in the workplace. Take a few minutes of the weekly meetings to recognize the outstanding staff of the week and ask everyone to give them a round of applause for their good work.

14. Lunch out

Not only is it a way to recognize employees for their efforts, but going out for lunch also helps businesses build an effective internal culture.

Lunch break is also the time when people put off tiring stress during working hours to exchange and understand each other, eventually enhance engagement and relationships.

If it’s an individual recognition, organize a private lunch with your staff, have a thoughtful chat with them, and don’t forget to show them your appreciation.

15. Give your employees opportunities to grow

Understanding the strengths of your employees and supporting their growth is one of the greatest things you can do as a leader. 

Find out your employee’s strengths and let them choose an upcoming project to work on. This shows that you trust your employees and encourages them to prosper. 

Another employee recognition idea that you might want to consider is to ask them to mentor a new employee. They all serve as growth opportunities where staff can try new things and strengthen their skills.


There are many ways to recognize and acknowledge your staff’s effort. Take some time to show your appreciation and value towards your employees, and keep the best people with you.

Want more ideas to reward and motivate your staff? Check out these 50 ideas.

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