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8 Employee Recognition Ideas to Create a Positive Employee Experience

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday January 3, 2023

Updated : Wednesday August 16, 2023

Employee recognition and appreciation is one of many aspects that drives company culture, employee engagement, and ultimately business success. Acknowledging employee’s achievements, both big and small, shows care and attention. And this helps motivate employees in future projects and tasks, elevating their contributions. 

6 Factors Affecting Employee Productivity and How to Influence It

Employee Recognition Ideas 

There are many ways employers can recognize employees. Knowing the type of recognition an employee might like or want is key to how they should be appreciated. And since variety is the spice of life, having several options to draw upon can have meaningful impacts on business outcomes.  

woman holding trophy in right hand, raising her left hand in the air in celebration“Employee productivity, performance, and engagement are 14% higher in organizations with recognition programs than in those without them” 
Source: 25 Employee Recognition Statistics You Shouldn’t Ignore in 2022 ( 

There are both monetary and non-monetary ways of recognizing employees’ contributions. And while annual bonuses based on performance or completion of goals may be sincere, employee recognition needs to be more timely and immediate.  

Employee Recognition Makes You a Better Business

1. Ad Hoc Bonuses 

Employees often go above and beyond, or create something inventive, useful and valuable. These are the moments when it is important to show them you noticed their initiative. By allowing managers to give ad hoc bonuses as needed, employees feel appreciated, and they know that their efforts are acknowledged. 

2. Employee Shout-outs  

Employee recognition doesn’t have to come from above. Peer to peer recognition creates comradery and cohesiveness within teams. Providing an internal platform for employees to give each other koodos builds a strong company culture. Company intranets can often serve this purpose on top of the resources and other functions it can provide. And remember, shout-outs from managers as well as colleagues can work here. The key is to encourage everyone to give props when props are due. 

3. Employee Recognition During Meetings 

If an employee has done something that you feel the whole company should know about, it should be celebrated! Keep in mind that not everyone likes being in the spotlight, and individual employee personalities should be considered. Put some forethought into how best to recognize the employee. Depending on company structure, this could be during individual team meetings, or during larger all-staff meetings. Again, this shows the attention being paid, and lets other employees know that if they work hard to make something happen, the extra effort won’t go unnoticed. 

4. Simple Gestures 

On the other hand, impromptu comments in the moment can also have a positive effect. Everyday conversations that include a “that looks amazing” or “wow, you finished that fast” or “great idea” can sometimes be more genuine. Compliments are a great way to let employees know they are doing a good job without the pressure of a bonus or goal. And compliments can be contagious too! Once your team starts hearing them consistently, you’ll likely notice them complimenting each other more often as well. 

5. Awards Certificates  

Consider setting up an annual awards ceremony where you present employees with awards certificates. You can choose to create goal-oriented awards, such as top salesperson awards. Or you can be a little more ambiguous and give certificates for things like “Adaptability Award”, “Power of Positivity Award”, “Nurturing Employee Award”, or “Always a Hard Worker Award.” These are just a few ideas. There are all sorts of things you can make awards for.  

6. Extra Time Off  

Give employees some extra time for themselves that they weren’t expecting. Try closing the office early before a holiday or long weekend. Maybe give everyone an extra break after a taxing morning. Or, maybe the team deserves an extended lunch after finishing a particularly complicated or long project! 

7. Food 

Speaking of extended lunches, why not take your employees out for a paid lunch or bring lunch to them? Or surprise staff with specialty coffees on a cold day. You can also provide snacks or treats in the office kitchen to help sustain employees through the afternoon.  

8. Gift Cards 

Provide managers with small denomination gift cards. This allows them to recognize contributions, effort and commitment to the company when the moment is at hand. This strengthens employee loyalty and promotes productivity and creativity. 

65 employee recognition ideas – the ultimate list

Benefits of Employee Recognition 

The benefits of employee recognition are being studied more and more, and the findings are not very surprising. In fact, 44% of employees switch jobs because they do not get adequate recognition from their employers. 

image of man with hands on hips wearing an awards ribbonDid you know?  

“If companies double the number of employees they recognize every week, there will be a 24% improvement in work quality and 27% reduction in absenteeism” – Source: 25 Employee Recognition Statistics You Shouldn’t Ignore in 2022 ( 

Plus, “51% of employees who receive regular recognition are highly likely to recommend their company as a great place to work.” – Source: The 48 Employee Recognition Statistics to Take Note of in 2023.

Here are some more reasons to implement an employee recognition program: 

It’s clear that the benefits of employee recognition for both employees and employers are remarkable.  What’s more, 58% of employees say they feel undervalued. Not recognizing the efforts of your employees would be a missed opportunity to buoy employee engagement and productivity. 

Looking for more ways to improve employee productivity?

6 Factors Affecting Employee Productivity and How to Influence It