« Back to Blog

Employee Recognition: 7 Examples That Actually Work

Learn More
employee recognition

Your workforce is the lifeblood of your business. Companies with the most loyal team members show their appreciation early and often.

Employees work harder when it’s clear their efforts are appreciated. While a simple “thank you” is certainly worthwhile, an employee recognition program is a great way to celebrate wins big and small. 

Not sure where to start? We have some employee recognition examples your workforce is sure to love.

Find out why Beekeeper is the mobile-first employee recognition and productivity tool HR professionals trust to increase frontline employee engagement.

Employee recognition programs should be authentic, personal, and — most importantly — simple. In a world of hybrid and remote work, though, it’s not easy to come up with new ways to celebrate your diverse and dynamic workforce. 

Here, the team at Beekeeper offers their favorite ideas for honoring the outstanding work your employees do day in and day out!

Does Employee Recognition Matter?

Think about the last time someone gave you a pat on the back for a job well done. Felt pretty great, right? 

Recognizing stellar work inspires employees to keep it up. While employers understand this, many get caught up in day-to-day responsibilities and fail to show their staff timely appreciation. This is certainly understandable — but execs and supervisors should take the time to make employee recognition a core part of their leadership strategy.

As the Harvard Business Review reported, workers are 40% more engaged when they’re recognized by their managers

Lack of recognition is the top reason people leave their jobs, and more than half of employees say they want more appreciation from their managers. 

Among other things, employee recognition programs achieve the following: 

  • Boost employee morale and motivation
  • Underscore the employee’s value-add
  • Improve business performance and employee productivity
  • Amplify employee engagement and loyalty 
  • Build a stronger workplace connection
  • Align team members with the organization’s goals and values
  • Strengthen workplace teams

Employee recognition doesn’t require a massive amount of time or resources. There are plenty of awards and recognition examples. Taking a few minutes to put together a thoughtful note or gift will go a long way in keeping your team members engaged, inspired, and productive.

What To Acknowledge When Giving Employee Recognition

Beekeeper's guide to what to acknowledge when giving employee recognition

Recognizing employees sets the standard of celebrating actions and behaviors that align with company values. 

 Professional recognition examples can range from positive performance to being a solid team player to reaching certain milestones.

Here are a few common things to acknowledge in your team:

  • Performance: Recognize employees who are going the extra mile. This includes identifying challenges and coming up with a creative solution.
  • Goal Attainment: Did an employee exceed their sales goal? Or did they help blow past your team’s annual KPIs? That deserves to be celebrated. 
  • Attitude: Someone who comes in every day with a positive attitude can have a fantastic impact on your team’s overall performance. Show them some recognition!
  • Work Ethic: Employee commitment and reliability make a business better. Employees who show dedication through a strong work ethic set the bar for many others. They should be recognized for their contributions.

Better yet? Include all of these employee recognition examples and make them a strong part of your engagement strategy. In today’s world where a massive labor shortage is hurting companies, employee recognition is a great way to boost retention.

7 Unique Employee Recognition Examples

Employee recognition can take many forms. From gifts to an extra day off to a charitable donation, the options for showing your appreciation are endless. 

Here are seven ideas you can incorporate into your employee recognition program today. 

  1. Employee Recognition Gifts

Employee recognition gifts don’t always come in the form of a pay raise or spot bonus. While employees still appreciate monetary rewards, they also appreciate personalized gifts that show you’ve been listening.

Have a foodie in your group? Pick up the tab for their next meal out (or in). Want to celebrate the bookworm on your team? Give them a gift card from a local bookstore.

The more personal the gift, the better. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, think about what your team member is interested in most. Ask around if need be.

2. Employee Recognition Awards

Beekeeper's guide to employee recognition awards

Employee recognition awards are a great way to acknowledge employees for going above and beyond. 

Some examples of employee recognition awards include:

  • Top Performer Award
  • Employee of the Month Award
  • MVP Award
  • Workplace Safety Leader Award
  • Culture Champion Award
  • Mentorship Award
  • Living Our Values Award
  • Team Player Award
  • Customer Service Award

Remember, employee recognition awards don’t have to wait until the annual holiday party. You can easily integrate them into your monthly department meeting or at your next team happy hour. 

Whichever your preference, just remember to celebrate them socially. That way, their peers can join in on the fun and create other performance recognition examples. At Conrad Hotels & Resorts, the employee recognition program isn’t just a top-down strategy. The company encourages peer-to-peer recognition. Workers can submit a form on the workplace app to celebrate a colleague. This strategy cements employee recognition into the company culture.

3. Employee Rewards Program

An employee rewards program is a fantastic way to show appreciation for the work your team members do. And, it allows them to choose the reward they prefer most. 

With an employee rewards program, managers and peers can recognize team members by awarding them points in the company’s employee store. The employee can redeem those points to select prizes, such as a gift card or a new technology product.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for awards and recognition examples and ideas, survey your employees to find out what would make them happy.

4. Employee Anniversary Recognition

Whether your staff member is celebrating their first or 50th year with the company, it’s important to celebrate their anniversary milestones. Why? Because not only are employees proud of their commitment to their employers, they want to feel valued for that dedication. 

Here are some examples to use for your next employee anniversary recognition:

  • Handwritten card
  • Anniversary lunch with the team 
  • Cake celebration
  • Wellness package
  • Company swag gift
  • Credit for professional development session
  • Congratulations video
  • Charitable donation 
  • Extra PTO day

5. Personal Appreciation

Everyone says it’s the little things. And sometimes, it really is. 

For many team members, a meaningful sense of appreciation can simply come from a conversation with their manager. In fact, people that receive appreciation from their managers are found to be more productive at work. 

The next time an employee stands out, thank them for everything they do.

6. Public Shout-Out

If you want to go big, make your employee recognition shout-out public. 

Companies usually do this by spotlighting the employee on their internal and external websites or on social media. This allows employees, customers, vendors, partners, and any other external audience to congratulate the team member for a job well done. But there are other professional recognition examples in the frontline world.

At Viejas Casino & Resort, the staff uses their frontline success system (Beekeeper) for public shoutouts. With a dedicated stream called “I like your STYLE,” employees can give kudos to one another and upload pictures of them holding their recognition awards. With 86% of their staff activated on Beekeeper, it’s a great way to share the news and celebrate each other.

7. Team Celebration Call

In the world of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, a team celebration call is another popular way to recognize workers. There are plenty of ways to make sure these calls stand out among the rest.

Pro tip: Make your team celebration call a surprise if you can, so your team member doesn’t see it coming. 

For example, you can host trivia with questions only about the employee being recognized. Or, you can invite someone from the management team to join in on the celebrations. What matters most is that your employee feels valued and appreciated — so don’t be afraid to get creative!

Tips For Giving Recognition Employees Will Appreciate

Employee recognition isn’t a challenging thing to do. But, it does require some thought as to how, when, and why you’re recognizing the employee.

Need help getting started? Here are our top tips for sharing employee appreciation.

Use Employee-Preferred Communication Channels

Beekeeper's guide to using employee preferred communication channels

Before blasting out a thank you email to your team, think about your communication channel first. Nothing’s worse than sending out a recognition email only to find out the most important person doesn’t have access to it.

For frontline employees constantly on the go, employee recognition apps are the best tools to celebrate those who go above and beyond. With a mobile-first frontline success system, managers can post public recognition for everyone to see and celebrate. 

Keep It Unexpected

The best recognition is the kind you didn’t see coming. Whether you’re coordinating a team outing or Zoom happy hour, keep it on the down-low from the employee being recognized. 

Pro Tip: If you’re sending out calendar invites for a recognition event, remember to make it vague in the team member receiving recognition has access to other calendars. 

Give Recognition Right Away

Employees want to be recognized for going above and beyond when they do it. Not weeks or months after the fact. 

When giving employee recognition, remember to do it as soon as possible. That way, employees can instantly connect their actions to positive outcomes.

Make It Social

Employee rewards and recognition are something to be proud of! Blasting a social media post acknowledging the great work of your team members is something they won’t soon forget. And, employee reward programs help attract new team members that want to be a part of a company willing to share their team’s success.

While Labor Day is a great time to celebrate your staff, employee appreciation should be a core part of your everyday company culture.  With these tips, tricks, and employee recognition examples, there’s no doubt your workers will know how appreciated they really are — and they’ll continue to reward you with top-notch performance

Get ready to create a happier, safer, and more productive workforce. Fill out the form below to schedule your Beekeeper demo today!

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of employee recognition?

1. Employee Recognition Gifts
2. Employee Recognition Awards
3. Employee Rewards Program
4. Employee Anniversary Recognition
5. Personal Appreciation
6. Public Shout-Out
7. Team Celebration Call

Does employee recognition matter?

Yes, lack of recognition is the top reason people leave their jobs, and more than half of employees say they want more appreciation from their managers.