• Lee Wills

7 Employee Recognition Ideas that Actually Work to Motivate Employees


“Michael, your Quarter 3 PnL report was phenomenal. The graphs and charts were done well. I really appreciate the way you presented it to the board. Thank You!”


Positive feedback like this is a form of employee recognition that increases employee engagement and happiness. Why? The reason is simple! Employees seek appreciation, and employee recognition is an easy way to make them feel appreciated for a job well done.





Employee engagement surveys have revealed that most of the employees leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated at work. Most of the companies lack internal branding and employee engagement strategies that are required to attract and retain talent.


Companies work really hard to find and recruit top talent. This is why employee recognition programs are needed to increase employee engagement and create positivity in the workplace. If you are thinking to start an employee recognition program in your company or just looking to revamp the existing one, here are a few employee recognition ideas that your employees will love.


1. Celebrate Employee Recognition Day


Just like Valentine’s Day, why not celebrate Employee Recognition Day? It can be the first Friday of every month or the first Monday of every quarter or the first Tuesday of every year. It’s up to you. Employee Recognition Day can be observed as the Valentine’s Day of employee-employer relationships. Recognize

and reward your best employees and encourage others to work hard to be awarded next time.


2. Offer Free Lunch/Dinner to Promote Peer-to-Peer Recognition


Recognition doesn’t always have to come from the top. Peer-to-peer recognition is 35% more likely to have a positive influence on employee experience than recognition from a manager alone. Recognition at the employee level not only builds trust but also increases employee happiness and retention rates

while improving communication in the workplace. If you have a peer-to-peer recognition program in place, throw your employee’s name into a box each

time they recognize their colleagues. The more kudos they send, the more are the chances of their name getting chosen. At the end of every week/month, draw two names from the box and let those employees enjoy a free lunch paid by the company.


3. Make Employee Birthdays Special





One way to make your employee birthdays special is simply offering them a complimentary day off and sending a lot of wishes and cake to their home.


Another way of doing it is by decorating your employee’s desk in a personalized theme such as their favorite sports team, TV show, or grabbing their favorite dessert.


Don’t forget to add a card to the party. Have each of your team members write something on the card. These personal emotions are more meaningful and can go a long way in making your employee feel appreciated and recognized.


You can always send a video collage to your remote employees with everyone in the team wishing them a happy birthday with some cake and gifts.


4. Go Social to Recognize your Star Employees


Take your company’s Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn page to recognize your star employees in public. Social recognition is one of the best ways of building employee engagement and letting them know how proud you are of your employees. Employees who are recognized will share these social recognition posts with their followers creating your employer brand. This also helps in putting your culture and values in front of your potential hires.


While recognizing your employees on social media channels, highlight who they are, what their job role is, what they have done, and how your organization is impacted.


Make sure that your employees are aware of what you are planning to share and are comfortable with being recognized in public on social media.


5. Off-Site Day can be the Coolest Way of Recognition


At times, teams just need a little change of scenery to boost falling engagement and productivity levels. Plan a day out at a café, pool, fun village, or a short excursion that meets your team’s needs. Recognize your best employees just before you start the party and then celebrate their good work. You can even have an employee gala night where each member of the team will say something great about the employee being recognized. This will strengthen the bond and build trust.


6. Leave a Sticky Note


A small handwritten note can make a world of difference. This can do wonders if it comes straight from the reporting manager of the employee. Write a note saying, ‘Thank You’ and why you are thanking them. Stick it on your employee’s desk so that when they come to work the next day, they are greeted with a pleasant surprise.


Ensure that your message is specific to the employee’s actions and impact, and it’s tied back to the missions and values of your organization. You can promote repeated behaviors and encourage the growth of the company by recognizing employees for specific actions.


7. Allow them to Grow Professionally


Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your employee and supporting their development is one of the best things you can do as a leader. Offer them an opportunity to work on their weaknesses through learning and development programs.


You can even identify your employees’ strengths and appoint them on a special upcoming project. This will build trust in your relationship and make your employees feel motivated. Another great thing you can do is asking your top employees to mentor new hires or interns.


The Bottom Line


While some of these employee recognition ideas may seem trivial, most of them will help you keep your employees engaged and motivated. Pay attention to what your employees need to make your efforts meaningful. Your employees will always appreciate you taking the time to recognize them and making them believe that they truly matter to the organization.


10 views
5 Secrets of Building Positive Workplace Culture Unveiled

Learn from the experts: Download eBook