Five Free Employee Recognition Ideas You Can Implement Today

One of the most effective and least costly ways to reduce turnover is by building a culture of employee recognition. The good...

November 16, 2019

One of the most effective and least costly ways to reduce turnover is by building a culture of employee recognition. The good news is there are a variety of ways to recognize your employees, and some of them don’t cost a dime. Here are five free ways to recognize employees.

  1. Let your star employees shine – If you have an outstanding employee, create a new development opportunity for them. You may ask them to mentor a new employee, or to serve on a committee where they can provide input. Let them know you recognize their strengths and contributions and would like to help them continue to develop new skills.
  2. Say it like you mean it – A simple note or spoken words of gratitude can go a long way. When you notice an employee who has gone above and beyond or remained dedicated in turbulent times, let them know you see what they are doing and appreciate it. Write a note and include specific details or take the time to sit down with them for no other reason than to recognize their efforts. Include details about what they’ve done that you want to recognize and how they’ve made an impact.
  3. Let loose within reason – Every work environment is different, but perhaps there’s something you can do to make things a little more fun while recognizing hard work. If your team just hit a sales goal, let everyone wear jeans one day. If the team is dealing with a stressful time, let them bring in their pets. The key to this is finding the best fit for your work environment. Puppies may not be it, so be creative and take the time to learn what’s most important to your people.
  4. Shout it from the rooftops – When a team is successful, share it with the whole department or organization through a timely mass email. Let everyone know what the team has accomplished and how grateful you are for their hard work. Encourage employees to congratulate the team you’ve mentioned in person as well.
  5. Build recognition into meetings – Employee recognition shouldn’t always come from a manager or executive. During a regularly scheduled meeting, take the time to go around the room and allow employees to recognize one another. You may consider building 10 minutes into your meeting for each person to have the opportunity to recognize another employee.

Interested in more employee recognition ideas? Assembly can help. Assembly is a peer-to-peer employee recognition platform that allows coworkers to easily recognize each other with meaningful messages and rewards.

Assembly has a 95% employee engagement rate and can be easily integrated with Slack, enabling companies to manage culture spend with a positive and justifiable ROI.

About the Author, Casey Conway
As a Human Resources professional, Casey specializes in employee recognition and organizational development and training. She is a Certified Recognition Professional and uses her background in communications to strategically develop and brand programs designed to enhance the employee experience.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. These one-time services start at $5,000. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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