When it comes to retaining great team members, employee recognition programs can play a crucial role.

According to Josh Bersin, founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte, companies with a recognition-rich culture have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.

💡Interested in learning how to build a positive company culture? Download our free eBook “How to Boost Internal Communication” where we share best practices for increasing employee engagement in the workplace. 

recognition-rich culture makes people feel valued, which leads to deeper commitment, better teamwork, happier employees and more satisfied customers:

What Is Employee Recognition?

In a nutshell, employee recognition is the process of showing appreciation for an employee’s achievements, attitude, implication in the business, and engagement.

Related: How to Create a Culture of Employee Engagement

When you recognize your employees, you show them that you value their work and you help them understand that their work has a great impact on your business success.

Employee recognition is a great way to boost employee motivation, improve the employee experience you deliver, and increase employee engagement at your workplace:

10 ways to improve employee engagement

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Employee recognition can take monetary and non-monetary forms but keep in mind that it’s important that the way you recognize your employees reflects your company culture.

How to Recognize Employees in the Workplace?

Here are five ideas to consider for your employee recognition program:

5 ways to recognize employees

Tip #1: Set Up Peer Recognition Programs

Peer recognition programs make it easy for staff members to recognize fellow employees in a public way.

Not only does this promote teamwork, but it also bubbles up stories from the frontline that management may not have been aware of otherwise.

A basic framework for a peer recognition program is to create a way for employees to acknowledge publicly another employee for work well done.

  • You can have a traveling trophy that gets passed on by an employee whenever the current recipient sees another person doing something great. For example, OfficeVibe use a red cape in their employee recognition program.
  • You can create a page on your corporate intranet or a “wall of fame” in the company break room or conference room where people post weekly “shout outs.” Use cute certificates or fun-shaped sticky notes for the wall of fame. Provide fun animated gifs or emoji for the intranet page.
  • Upper management can take it a step further during a company-wide meeting or through the company newsletter by publicly thanking or mentioning those individuals identified by their peers.
  • Use peer recognition apps like Bonusly, which allows everyone in an organization to publicly recognize their peers through small bonuses that add up to meaningful rewards.

Related: Top 3 Interdepartmental Communication Tips

Tip #2:  Include Gift Cards Incentives into Your Employee Recognition Program

Gift cards also motivate employees and make them feel appreciated. You can tie these to specific metrics (most customer tickets resolved in a month, etc.) or use them to reward above-and-beyond performance (an employee driving across town to hand-deliver a report).

three man standing together and smiling

Regardless of what type of employee recognition program you choose, make sure the recognition efforts are public, frequent, and tied to the company goals and values.

Tip #3:  Encourage Social Media Recognition

In the digital era, taking employee recognition to social media can be a powerful way to recognize employees.

You can highlight an employee of the week on your LinkedIn or Facebook company page. Create a tweet to highlight how a team member went above and beyond for a customer. Have an executive write a LinkedIn recommendation for a job well done. Here again, you can use special animated gifs or emoji to give it some visual flair.

Not only do these types of rewards make team members feel great, but they also help them establish their personal brands.

These shout outs can also strengthen the confidence of customers who follow you on social media. They will see what a dedicated and talented team you have.

Related: 3 Reasons to Support Your Employees’ Personal Branding

Tip #4:  Reward Your Employees with Team-Building Activities

If a department or team has pushed themselves above and beyond to complete a project or serve a customer, a team-building activity or team outing may be the perfect way to recognize the contributions of the group.

For example, we at Haiilo organize fun activities such as yoga classes, sports tournaments, or cheese tasting workshops to reward our hard-working employees!

haiilo company fun activities with employees

Corporate team-building activities (bowling, mini golf, laser tag, etc.) or even a pizza party demonstrates that the company realizes the extra effort the team put in to accomplish a goal for the organization.

Tip #5: Give Your Employees the Opportunity to Be Heard

Another way to make employees feel valued and appreciated is to give them an opportunity to develop ideas and present them to upper management.

You may need to develop guidelines and a vetting process, but it can be well worth the effort. Not only does this type of program make employees feel valued as individual contributors, you could uncover ideas that save money, generate more sales, or improve customer satisfaction.

Another way to recognize your employees is to give them the opportunity to take ownership of their work.

Let your employees suggest ideas, implement solutions they’ve suggested and most importantly, let them make decisions. That way you show them that you trust them and that you appreciate their work.

Letting employees take ownership of their work is one of the key elements of the company culture at Haiilo:

haiilo employee recognition

Bonus: The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Recognition in the Workplace

The Do’s of Employee Recognition

  • Make each employee feel special
  • Offer personalized perks
  • Show honest appreciation for a completed task
  • Launch an employee recognition program that reflects the company culture
  • Be fair when it comes to employee recognition
  • Be proactive in recognizing your employees
  • Explain why you chose to recognize specific employees
  • Recognize also teams
  • Do make employee recognition public

The Don’ts of Employee Recognition

  • Don’t forget that your employees are your best asset so don’t forget to recognize their contribution to the business success!
  • Don’t launch competitive games
  • Don’t forget to reward any kind of contribution to the business
  • Don’t set the bar too high
  • Don’t forget to reward team efforts
  • Don’t ignore your employees’ hobbies so you can reward their hard work with personalized perks
  • Don’t forget to make employee recognition fun
  • Don’t forget to encourage your employees, even though they haven’t delivered exceptional results yet

In a nutshell

Employee recognition is the key when it comes to employee motivation and employee engagement in the workplace. If you want your employees to feel engaged and stay at the company, you need to show them that you value their work and their contribution to the business. Remember that your employees are your best asset so take care of them!

Check out our report on the key drivers of employee engagement

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