27 Employee Recognition Strategies (that Employers Should Use)

by | Mar 21, 2019 | business | 0 comments

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No company can keep its employees just by offering the incentive of payment. As humans, we all desire some sort of recognition, appraisal or ovation for a work well done. This is even more so for employees who work really hard.

In this article, you will learn the right ways to give your employees recognition that they deserve. And the benefits it will bring to you, your employees and your organization at large.

1. Planning to Recognize Exceptional Employees:

Employee Recognition 1
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It is often said that to fail to plan is planning to fail. That also applies to this situation. You need to adequately plan for who will be recognized and how you want to go about it.

At Techprode, CEO Oladejo Olaseeni ensures that he has a plan before he praises the good work of his employees. This, he says, makes him to make the right decisions and not leave any stone unturned.

2. Include Everyone to Your Selection Plan:

Employee Recognition 2
Image Source: Teepublic
Be sure to include everyone in your employee recognition programs. Don’t leave everyone out of the program. People have different responsibilities so there surely would be a need to recognize everyone in their field.

This provides a level ground for everyone to get something out of the programs. You wouldn’t want only one department always getting your recognition now. You can get more insights on ways to go about including everyone here.

3. Let Employees Nominate the Candidates for Selection:

Employee Recognition 3-2
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Sometimes you might feel your selection criteria is not biased, but some employees may feel otherwise. If you allow them to select the employee for themselves, then the consensus actually indicates the right employees for recognition.

When employees nominate themselves, it is glaring to them why such a person is deserving of the praise. This helps to improve the competitive spirit and productivity among workers.

At Google, the workers select those to be recognized in the employee of the month program. This way someone who they know put in a lot of the work is recognized for the good work. And not just the supervisor.

4. Keep Record of Good Deeds of Employees:

Keep Record of Good Deeds of Employees
Image Source: Budgetdirect
In contrast to what people also use employee books for, you should keep track of the achievements of your employees. One of the posts here buttresses this point with an example of a company – Cloud 9 Living.

Keeping records of good deeds will aid your selection process. It will also help to ensure past good works are not forgotten.

5. Make Public Your Recognition

Make Public Your Recognition
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We live in a time and age where everything can go viral. Employees will totally love you if you recognize them on social media. Apart from boosting their ego, it also shows the world how productive they have been.

On Linkedin, companies like Amazon and SuperDataScience frequently recognize exceptional employees. They also get more praises from the comment sections. These companies make it part of their employee recognition programs.

6. Thank Employees Personally

Thank Employees Personally
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While some people would like the public recognition others prefer the individual, private one. Find out what your employee prefers and use that accordingly. This strategy is especially effective when employees see you as the ‘big boss.’

Call them to your office, have lunch with them and express your appreciation. Bill Gates often came down to the level of all his staff. And appreciated them for the good work they were doing. He still does this in his numerous visits to Microsoft branches. 

32% of employees agree that a goal can be intimidating but when they understand the overall progress made towards achieving them, it makes them look more achievable.

7. Show Interest in Their Passions

working Passions (1)

Employees who work really hard are usually passionate about their work. Showing interest in the work they do no matter how small goes a long way in recognizing them as well. This strategy is even more felt when their passion is an indirect contribution to the organization.

Do not be afraid to come down to their level and show interest in the work. However, you wouldn’t want to fake the interest. This would have a negative effect instead.

For example, Barack Obama often visited coffee shops and restaurant and showed interest in the work of the employees there.

8. Make Recognition Part of Your Culture

Image Source: Gotchabrands

Different organizations have different cultures they imbibe. But one tradition which is essential is recognition of employees. It provides the benefit of increased productivity but also drives underperforming employees to work harder for recognition.

A company should be a fun place to work in and adequate employee recognition will help make it more exciting. Imbibe cultures like an employee of the month program, most outstanding employee of the quarter, among many others.

9. Be Creative About the Rewards

Be Creative About the Rewards 1
Image Source: Lynda
Just saying ‘thank you’ is not enough for some people. When employees achieve something great, they sometimes desire more. It is your duty as an employee to creatively reward such employees.

This is where you should wear your thinking hats. A good understanding of the needs of the employees will help you out. Some companies have portraits of great achievers hung on their walls.

Also, make them understand, your company can be good for their career. Note that, 78% of employees will stay with their present company if they know they will have a good career with your company.

10. Keep Anniversaries in Mind

Keep Anniversaries in Mind
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Every employee who has been in the company for so long will want some sort of recognition on their anniversary. Do not miss their anniversary. Anniversaries are the best time to go all out in praising and rewarding the workers.

Think of a good way to show them that they are very much loved and appreciated. In Schlumberger for example, a special party is held for every employee who celebrates 10, 20- and 25-years’ anniversaries. Also, special awards are made, and gifts given to the employees.

11. Use the Official Website to Recognize Workers

Official Website to Recognize Workers
Image Source: uncw.edu

The official website should not only be used for official work. You can also add in a few interesting things to it.

One of such could be the employee of the month program. It is a very great idea if top achievers are celebrated on the company’s website especially. Most employees will like this as this will showcase their achievements to the world.

12. Use Gifts Well

Use Gifts Well
Image Source: Pinterest
A ‘thank you’ is not remembered as much as a gift. Whatever your budget is, you can also afford little gifts for your employees. Moreover, the words ‘thank you’ should be embedded in the gift.

So, any time the employee sees it, he remembers the good work that made him/her get such. The employee becomes motivated to do more and thus enjoys working for you.

At Cursor, a data science-based company, for example, small action heroes are gifted to the workers.

So, the achieving worker is called ‘Software Superman’, ‘Wonderful Wonderwoman’ for that week because of their great work. Here, you can find some great ideas which you can use.

13. Write Your Feelings Down

Write Your Feelings Down
Image Source: quantumworkplace
If you feel a gift may be too expensive for your company, why not try a note. Forbes, in an article on employee needs, lists soft skills as a foundational skill for everyone.

Employers must also know how to apply these soft skills in recognition of employees. Again, be creative and expressive.

People work really hard to improve their abilities. 53% of employees agree that respect for their experience and knowledge is their best expectation from a company.

In various companies in Wall Street, employees even display such notes on their desks for all to see. You can also add a gift if you feel it is necessary.

Kirill Gemish reports that he used to get a note for each good work done. That made him do even better in subsequent jobs.

14. Use a Suggestion Box

Suggestion Box
Image Source: blogspot

Unless you are an authoritative employer, the suggestion box will be a great idea. It is 2019, so no one expects you to use an actual wooden box and request paper suggestions.

Online surveys, questionnaires can also do the trick just as much. This strategy is especially helpful when you don’t know how exactly to reward workers. It is basically giving back to the people what they deserve.

Using this strategy shows you are concerned about their needs and enable employees to communicate them effectively. Good feedback is very necessary for employers.

15. Meet Up with Employees and Be Friendly

Employees and Be Friendly
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A strict boss is no one’s best friend. You don’t have to change who you are but coming down to be friendly helps. If they invite you to a party, attend it. If they have to go to a show, show your support.

A supportive employer can do no wrong. It is a very good way to show that you care about the good work they are doing.

Soccer managers often attended the personal functions of their players, especially after a great win. It hurts no one!

16.  Take Your Employees Out to Eat

Take Your Employees Out to Eat
Image Source: foodabletv
Food is almost everyone’s good friend. Relaxing after a great day at work is important. This is another example of a great employee recognition program. You can show how much you appreciate your employees by taking them out to eat.

Claudio Ranieri while he was the manager of Leicester City often did this. For every clean sheet his team kept, he bought pizzas for all of his players. This worked very well and served as an incentive to keep more clean sheets.

17.  Some Days Off Once in A While Wouldn’t Hurt

Some Days Off
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Some employees may be working so much at work that they have no time to do other things. Often, they come with a request to have some days off.

To show how much you appreciate the good work they are doing, you grant them the time off. A happy employee is his employer’s greatest asset! Try to keep them happy.

18.  Games Can Make Everyone Happy

Games Can Make Everyone Happy
Image Source: Youtube

Everyone enjoys playing some game or the other. When we work so hard in the office, sometimes, we just want to play a bit. Allowing your employees some fun helps them to relax.

Relaxing refreshes their brains so they can do better work. Fun games involving everyone can just be the way to show your appreciation of great work.

19.  Monetary Incentives

Monetary Incentives
Image Source: Harvardecon

These kinds of incentives are not usually considered as the best. But people tend to work with more dedication when more money is involved. Out rightly spending is not the way to go.

Usually, after the work completion, a bonus can be given to show appreciation for employees who’ve gone above and beyond. Maryam, an employee at Jumia says that she feels more recognized when given a bonus after a good job.

20.  Put A Peer-To-Peer System in Place

Put A Peer-To-Peer System in Place
Image Source: glassdoor
You, as an employer, need not do all the work in employee recognition. Let your employees also appreciate the great work of others. This website explains a lot of ways this can be done in various settings.

Using this strategy will foster better employee-to-employee relationships in the office. Amazon employees often reward each other for their good work. Jeff Bezos may not see all the good work that every employee does but other employees can.

21.  Assign Special Projects to Deserving Employees

Assign Special Projects to Deserving Employees
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Another way to show how much you value the great work is by letting them handle special projects.

By giving them, the extra responsibilities, you show that their previous actions are recognized.

The benefits of employee recognition start to accrue when such strategies are adopted. For example, General Electric assigns great achievers’ greater roles in their plants. Employees like added responsibilities to show their worth.

22.  Tell the Success Stories of Employees

Tell the Success Stories of Employees

Employees who have achieved quite a lot tend to have an amazing story of their success. You can take it upon yourself to tell this story to everyone around you.

Explain all the hard work, dedication and discipline they put in to achieve this result. This will make the employee feel really good about themselves.

It will also show that you are aware of the effort that has been put in and appreciate them for it. Mark Zuckerberg often uses his employees as an example of how hard work pays. This would obviously be much to the delight of the said employee.

23.  Develop an Employee Recognition Software

Develop an Employee Recognition Software

It is 2019 and people are taking technology to the next level. Data science, the sexiest job of the 21st century according to Forbes, can show overachievers and underachievers with dashboards.

This will also help to show you which employees have been going above and beyond in activities of the organization. Portilla Academy, a software company uses this tool to reward its employees.

24.  Recognize the Benefit of Helping Others

Recognizing your employees is not only about them and how they feel. There are also benefits that come to you for recognizing your employees.

Recognition of employees show that you are a very empathetic boss and care about the well-being of your employees.

25.  Help Reduce Tax Burden

The taxable income can be so much of a liability to members of staff. After working so hard, much of their income is taken away through taxation.

As an employee, you can step in to help employees in this aspect. You can offer to take responsibility for their tax for a while for the good work they’ve been doing.

You wouldn’t want to make this permanent though. A few tax breaks can just give your members of staff a little more financial freedom.

Lebron James had his tax paid by Cavaliers while in Cleveland. He was achieving so much that they had to give him such breaks.

26.  Use Great Company Products to Your Advantage

Your company will surely have some branded shirts and products that everyone likes. Make good use of these tools for your employee recognition. However, don’t give the cheap ones. Make sure they are unique. A shirt that probably the manager only has is surely a good fit.

Having such products boost their ego and shows how much you appreciate their work. A good employer should be his employee’s greatest fan.

Each high performer from High Gym, a popular gym in South Africa gets a special tee-shirt. And water bottle from the manager. Now almost all workers are aiming to get the same reward!

27.  Recognize Employees at Random

Employees at Random
Image Source: goodereader

It is very important to plan who is to be recognized. But it is even more exciting when employee recognition is done at random. There is an extra joy and feel that it comes with. It is even more pronounced when the said employee is having a rough day. Random show of appreciation will surely light up their day.

Soldiers are the perfect examples of this kind of recognition. Just by wearing the army uniform, civilians randomly show recognition of their work. To the soldiers, it is more impactful than a recognition that they know is coming their way.


You must have learned a thing or two on strategies of employee recognition in an organization. The examples listed should also give your ideas on how to apply them to your organization.

Use the comment section below to ask any questions that you may have. We will be glad to be reply you.



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