15 Awesome Employee Recognition Ideas Your Staff Will Love!

Employee recognition increases employees' performance and spurs them to work harder. Check out these 15 excellent ideas

July 25, 2022
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Do you remember how you felt the last time you received a commendation for doing a great job at a particular task?  Employee recognition is too important to leave to chance. It is crucial to recognize employees who do great work frequently. If not, you risk losing them.

Every time you recognize an employee for a job, you tell them their contributions are integral to the company's success. And that’s often motivation enough for employees to do more. There are various forms of employee recognition. So, you need to think outside the box to achieve an effective employee recognition program.

In this article, we'll share 15 awesome employee recognition ideas to show your employees how much they mean to your company.

Why is employee recognition important?

Is employee recognition at work actually worth it? The short answer is yes!

Employee recognition increases staff performance and spurs them to work harder at their jobs. They are motivated to go an extra step because they know that the management will acknowledge their efforts. 

Employee recognition programs also help attract new talent by communicating the company's values to potential employees. It increases retention rates because they see their value to the company. In a survey, over 91% of HR professionals believe that recognition and rewards make employees more likely to stay.

The bottom line for you as an employer is that you'll have successfully created a work environment filled with happy staff. This leads to;

  • A better work culture
  • Greater employee retention
  • Increased productivity and more KPIs being met
  • An increased profit margin for the company

When should you give employees recognition?

Give recognition immediately after it is due. With an employee recognition template, you can create scheduled times when the company recognizes people who have done exceptionally well.

When an employee goes out of their way to complete a task, it’s essential to recognize them as soon as possible.

Examples of when to give recognition include;

  • When an employee takes on an extra workload to complete a project
  • When an employee comes up with a terrific idea that contributes to the growth of the company
  • Reaching a personal development milestone. E.g., Passing a professional exam
  • When an employee or a team does an impressive job with a project
  • A promotion
  • When an employee takes the initiative to perform a task that yields remarkable results
  • An employee's birthday or work anniversary

Assembly focuses on creating a space for recognition to be explored. Check out how to begin below:

What is the difference between appreciation and recognition?

Employee appreciation and recognition are often used interchangeably, but there’s a slight difference. 

Employee recognition is about the work done specifically, while appreciation is about the person, not necessarily a task they accomplished. Both of them express gratitude to the employee, but about different things.

An employer says, "Good job on this task!" with employee recognition. For example: If your design team comes up with a brand design. And your client loves it and approves immediately. When you show gratitude for a job well done, that's recognition.

On the other hand, employee appreciation shows gratitude to the person behind the task. Using the same example above, saying, "I'm grateful for the time, commitment, and creativity you put into designing this." shows appreciation.It's easy to confuse them, but they are different and equally important. 

Some examples of employee appreciation gifts include: Buying employees lunch or coffee, sending them appreciation cards, giving them gift cards, etc.

15 Employee Recognition Ideas 

Recognition is more than giving a pat on the back. It's about acknowledging and celebrating your team members' dedication and success.The best way to ensure your employees feel valued? Make sure they know the company is noticing what they're doing right!

Here are 15 unique employee recognition ideas that your staff will love:

1. Give positive feedback

 Something as simple as saying, "That was a job well done!" can go a long way in making your employee feel seen. To make it more effective, let them know what part of the job you're pleased with the most and what you liked about it. 

2. Acknowledge them publicly

Sending an email or acknowledging their work in your office is good, but doing it publicly is better. Sending a shoutout to a team member in the presence of their colleagues is a great way to build a culture where good work doesn't go unnoticed. Assembly is dedicated to building a culture of employee recognition. With its impressive flows and templates, there’s something for every moment.

Book a demo to get started!

3. Employee Appreciation Day

Did you know that every first Friday in March is Employee Appreciation Day? This is a great day to plan fun activities for your employees. Some fun activities to include are;

  • Office picnic. More points if they are allowed to bring family or loved ones.
  • Organize a field trip filled with fun activities. This can also double as a team-building outing.
  • Host an employee awards ceremony (like Micheal Scott's Dundies, but with better categories!) and give out plaques or medals. 
  • When in doubt, ask them what they want.
4. Make a shoutout on social media

If you have a younger audience that is social media savvy, they'll appreciate this. Put up a picture of them and a message recognizing something they've done. You can take things up a notch by writing them a fine recommendation on LinkedIn. It will help their career, and they'll feel appreciated by the company.

5. Employee recognition programs

Employee recognition events where you give deserved awards are a professional and fun way of letting your staff know you appreciate their contributions. 

Asides from the usual awards like employee of the year, most improved employee, etc., you can give out quirky awards. Some examples of funny awards for employees include;

  • Earlybird award.
  • Office busy bee.
  • Office Picasso
  • Mission Impossible of the Office
  • Office DJ
  • Funniest in the office
  • Mr/Mrs. Fix anything etc.
6. Start an office wall of fame

After recognition events like employee of the month, you can put up a picture of the recipient on a designated wall. It boosts their morale to work harder to 'go up on the wall.' 

7. Birthday parties

Celebrating your employees' birthdays is a great way to show that you value them. 

A little office party with cake, drinks and some fun activities will give everyone something to look forward to. Colleagues can say nice things about them and why they like working with them. 

8. Provide training opportunities

Working in a company that offers opportunities for both career and personal growth increases satisfaction on that job. The organization can pay for staff to take courses or certifications. It could also be a training session by external professionals.

For personal development, someone can teach staff how to mix drinks, do pottery, dance salsa, make a special meal, etc.

All these little things make employees feel more satisfied as individuals, which will reflect how they show up at work.

9. Set up an employee rewards system

Word of mouth is excellent, but it boosts morale even better when a gift is attached. Employees will be more motivated to work when they know that the employee of the month stands to win something. 

Some examples of gifts attached to the reward system include;

  • Extra Gym or Spa benefits
  • Gift cards to somewhere they shop
  • Dinner, with the option of going with a partner
10. Special bonuses and incentives

Asides from the bonuses stipulated in their contract, giving special bonuses to employees is a great way to show recognition. For example, if a team hits their monthly or quarterly targets and even exceeds them, you could give them a bonus to acknowledge their work.

Setting up bonuses at the end of every significant milestone attained works at pushing employees to do better.

11. Food treats

Surprise your employees by ordering pizza, burgers or bringing a food truck to the office. After a particularly productive meeting, food treats can go a long way to show appreciation. It might seem negligible, but don't underestimate the power of food!

12. Office wellness events

Investing in your employees' physical and mental well-being shows that you value them as individuals, not just staff. Organize wellness events by taking workers out for a massage, spa, etc. Or you could bring in a yoga expert, someone to teach dance workouts, or someone to check their blood pressure and other essential vitals, etc. 

If it’s affordable, the company can make an event out of it and bring experts in. 

13. Gift company swag

You can give company-branded gifts that your employee will be proud to use. However, it’s important to buy durable items. There are exciting options to explore, such as: 

Phone cases, tote bags, laptop bags, thermal flasks, personalized mugs, earbuds, etc. 

14. Donate to a charity of choice in their name

This activity is another way of investing in something that matters to them. When an employee has done something that warrants recognition, you can ask them to pick a charity they'll like to donate to. And the company can donate on their behalf.

15. Celebrate work anniversaries

Don't let the years go unrecognized. A little gift and a note from the employer will go a long way. What better way to acknowledge the number of years workers have given to the company than by celebrating their work anniversary? 

Build better work culture by integrating employee recognition into the day-to-day of your company.

Contact us to book a demo today.

Final thoughts

Employee recognition shouldn’t be an afterthought in your company culture. There are ways to make employee recognition programs fun and straightforward. No matter how little, employee rewards will boost workplace morale and motivate staff to work smarter. If you take care of your staff, they'll take care of your business.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

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Employee recognition guide