When you have employees who do their job every day at work, it’s important to recognize them for the great work they do. If you don’t, it could only be a matter of time before their motivation falters and they move onto the next thing. Employee recognition programs can help boost motivation at work, and all you need to do is give some employee rewards or some of the other employee recognition ideas on this list. In this article, we’ll share how to show employee recognition and how to create employee recognition programs that your employees actually want.

How to Show Employee Recognition

1. Give a Shout-out at Meetings

It’s evident how meetings need to happen at least once every month to know where everyone is at. One way to give employee recognition is to give shout-outs to every employee at these meetings. When that happens, people feel happy, and everyone else would know that they are doing a great job. If a specific employee did a great job, there’s no harm in scheduling a meeting just for employee recognition, as that would boost his or her confidence even more. When you hold a meeting with all of the employees, you must make an agenda of tasks you wish to accomplish. Other than employee recognition, you can also use the meeting to address concerns the company must tackle. No matter how big or small the company is, you need to tackle plenty of issues. The meeting can also be used to let the employees who performed well share their processes to help level up other team members. Finally, don’t forget to have some good food delivered at the meeting so everyone will be happy.

employee recognition

2. Award Certificates

When you award certificates to specific employees, there’s no doubt they’ll feel like they’ve done such a great job. They can put these certificates up on their desk to remind them of their good work. While the ’employee of the month’ certificate is the most popular, you can always be creative and think of other types of certificates. One good example would be a certificate for the employee who always comes to work on time. While many things would always prevent us from going to work on time, you should always appreciate all those people who make an effort to get there no matter what happens to them. If the award is a plaque, add their name to it. Plaques look better than certificates and feel more meaningful.

3. Treat Them Out to Lunch

Even if their lunch doesn’t cost them that much, employees would appreciate it if you would treat them to a nice restaurant. There can be times when you can have pizza delivered to the office, so they won’t have to leave. It’s a nice gesture that would go a long way in making them appreciate the nice things they’ve done for the company.

If you know their favorite restaurant, then you can treat them there. So while it’s just the two of you, you can give those employees tons of compliments. An employee would always like to hear how she is doing, especially when they work hard. Even if her colleagues are already telling her that, it also needs to come from her boss. One way to find your employee’s favorite lunch is to look at what they eat. Alternatively, treating your employees to lunch at a fancy restaurant would also be a nice thing to do.

employee appreciation

4. Give them a Free Ticket to a Conference

There’s nothing like investing in the future of your employees. When they attend a conference, they’ll be able to learn so many things that will allow them to improve their skills. Make sure you choose a conference related to their craft, so they can network with the other professionals in attendance. We all know it always feels great to learn new things, and this is the perfect opportunity. You can’t blame your employees if they decide to ask the speaker more questions after the talk. When you think of it, the new skills your employees learn will benefit your company. Besides, they would want to test those skills the next opportunity they can get. It will undoubtedly be worth it when you give them a day off or two to attend a conference.

5. Give them free gym memberships

As much as we love to work, we should never forget to exercise regularly. You won’t know how much your employees would appreciate a free gym membership until you try it. Some people feel great after a tough workout, but always hesitate because of the membership rates. Helping employees financially afford their workouts allows them to come to work with more energy, a recharged brain, and better health. As a company, you can reward employees with a gym membership and receive benefits from doing this for them.

work gym

6. Add them to your website’s About Us page

Who says only founders should be on the About Us page? Your employees should be there too, especially if they’re doing a great job lately. There’s a chance they will ask their friends to look on your website so that they’ll see them listed down there. Having employee recognition on your About Us page will also show your clients how much you value your employees, as that would give them a pretty good impression about your company culture. This can also be a way for your employees to get to know each other. Besides, some of them can be shy when approaching their colleagues. Once they see the short introduction for each employee, it can immediately become a conversation starter.

7. Job swap for a day

When a particular employee is aiming for a senior position, you can have a job swap with leadership for a day. This would lead to the employee getting a preview of what it would be like to work in that position. It could be a great way to jumpstart some leadership skills development. But, of course, this should be planned way ahead of time as it could cause chaos among colleagues if it is not planned well. When the employee works under a team, the person can swap jobs with his superior and learn many things. The boss can even take the employee under his wing, so he will know what he needs to do to go to the next level. As a next step, delegating tasks to others and taking on more leadership responsibilities could be a way to upskill.

job swap

8. Create an Uplifting Culture

Does your company train leadership to give negative feedback regularly? Have you ever tried encouraging leadership to give more positive feedback to boost employee morale and employee productivity? If so, you’d see a huge difference in work quality by giving constructive feedback positively. Many employees hate their bosses because they feel unappreciated. Instead, by making giving positive feedback a regular occurence, it’ll be easier to hear negative feedback. When employees’ performance is down, there’s more negative feedback, which spirals them downward. It doesn’t take an employee recognition program to realize how effective positive feedback is at improving employee appreciation. In general, aim to give at least six pieces of positive feedback for every negative comment. Frequent recognition is best. This won’t minimize the negative, it just makes it easier to hear.

9. Ask Employees to Share Ideas

Employees feel valued when they’re able to share ideas freely and be heard. Often, people want to share their knowledge to help the company grow. However, when their ideas are overlooked, employee engagement goes down. An employee recognition program should also reflect company values. One of your values could be “act like an owner,” which would allow everyone to share ideas and give feedback on things they’re working on to better the company. Sharing ideas in meetings, Slack, or with other team members can allow you to recognize employees efforts to help grow the company. Employees who go a step further and start executing those ideas they have can be helpful at elevating the growth of the company, which will make employee recognition an easier thing to do. Sometimes, all it takes is a great job and a thanks for your help.

10. Ask for Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Business leaders should consider asking direct reports to write down at least three positive attributes of each of their coworkers for peer-to-peer recognition. Often, during conflict, it’s easier to share what we don’t like about someone. However, by sharing the positive aspects of your colleagues, you create a better company culture of employee appreciation. Encouraging employees to recognize employees on their team will help create a more positive environment. Challenge everyone to write positive things about their team. And then give each employee the positive feedback others have shared to boost their day.

peer to peer recognition

11. Give Employee Rewards

Tools like Bonusly allow you to motivate employees through a peer recognition program of rewards. Whenever your colleague helps you or does something positive, you can award points to them. Those points can then be redeemed for gift cards or cold, hard cash. This employee recognition strategy will definitely see a boost in peers recognizing one another. And if you’re looking for a successful employee recognition program, this could be a game-changer. You can look up scores of which employees or teams get the most points to help you determine the employee morale of the team. If certain team members don’t get as many points, you may notice people are being excluded and try to find ways to engage those team members to better improve the company culture.

12. Offer Meditation At Work

Apps like Declutter The Mind at Work allow employees to take a break from their work day to get a mental break for the sake of their mental health. You might choose to recognize employees by helping them better foster their work-life balance. Employee recognition isn’t just about money or awards, it’s also about acknowledging their hard work and need for relaxation. You can create an employee recognition program that includes wellness breaks for ten to twenty minutes of meditation practice. For teams of up to 1,000 employees, the rate is $40 per employee per year, for teams of over 1,000 employees the rate is $20 per employee per year.

13. Send an Employee Survey

If you’re planning on creating a recognition rich culture, consider sending an employee survey to ask for ideas on how they want to be recognized. You can include a few examples of ways you’d like to provide recognition while also giving the option for employees to share their own ways to feel valued. Getting feedback will make all the difference for employees to go the extra mile. You might notice that most people want financial perks or rewards, so you could consider leaning more in that direction. Others might ask for more time off for better work-life balance. Having options for that as well can be helpful. Creating a survey each year will ensure the company’s success annually as your team changes. Finding ways to give positive reinforcement is always best sought out directly from your team. Ask for great employee recognition ideas from your team and you’ll get plenty you couldn’t think of.

14. Better Support Bad Employee Behavior

Disgruntled employees are not bad people. Often, a lack of recognition can negatively affect an employee’s attitude at work. Employee recognition can be a game-changer for employees who are in a rut. Often, if you ask a disgruntled employee what’s wrong? They’ll tell how you hard they work and it goes unnoticed. Other times, they’ll share that they’re experiencing burnout from working too hard. Ultimately, the bad behavior stems from a lack of employee appreciation and being overworked. The employee is being disruptive because all their positive efforts on the company culture went unnoticed. It might be a childhood trauma, which taught them to act out negatively if good behavior goes unnoticed. So, instead, start praising their work, instead of commenting on their attitude. Their attitude isn’t something to praise, but acknowledging their work ethic and giving more time off can help boost morale.

15. Enhance Performance Management

Having key metrics for each team with a leaderboard can help people see who’s performing best on each time in terms of the main company goals. An employee recognition program that highlights top performers can be a great way to boost business outcomes while also giving some staff recognition. A positive company culture won’t put competition as a focus. However, some competition aimed at the main KPIs helps the company grow as a united team. Having every team play a role in a KPI can help the company improve its overall conversions and sales. When the entire team works together, anything is possible. Plus, by seeing teams or individuals at the top of the leaderboard, people will naturally learn from the top performers to become better at their craft.

16. Create an Employee Recognition Platform

Having multiple employee rewards is key to running a successful employee recognition program. You’ll want to include the total rewards package employees get, so they can see how much money you invest in their well-being. Your employee recognition program might include a mix of salary, equity, perks like Declutter The Mind at Work, bonuses, or even a cleaning service. Combining the total cost of all the perks and benefits your employees get from the recognition program will help employees feel valued. You might even offer certain perks for following company values to ensure they stay at the forefront of who your people are at work.


Recognizing employees is crucial for employee morale. Creating an employee recognition program that takes into account all the ways your employees are recognized and valued will help with employee engagement. Recognition programs can include monetary perks, wellness perks, awards, or public praise to help hard workers feel like their work is noticed. Plus, recognition programs can help with employee retention. So not only will you see benefits like a rise in profits from recognition programs but you’ll also see less employee churn. Overall, consider having an employee recognition program in your workplace to reward employees for their awesome work.