How to show recognition for employees (Examples and tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 November 2022

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Showing recognition for employees when it is due can inspire other team members to replicate the achievement or behaviour being rewarded. Recognition also encourages the recipient to continue their hard work, keep the team's goals in mind and stay loyal to the company. There are various ways you can show appreciation for your employees. In this article, we discuss the importance of offering recognition, provide tips on how to go about it and outline some examples of employee recognition programmes.

Examples of how to show recognition for employees

The recognition examples we outline here cover a broad mix of methods you can use to make your employees feel appreciated. Following these examples will help to create a culture in which positive behaviours and hard work are recognised. Whichever recognition programmes you use, taking the time to acknowledge an individual's or a team's successes will pay dividends in terms of increasing productivity and collaboration in the workplace. Whether someone showed a great can-do attitude on a challenging project or exceeded their sales target, you can show your appreciation in a variety of ways. Here are some examples of employee recognition methods:

1. Show recognition every day

A good leader recognises the value of the people with whom they work. Depending on the nature of your workplace and the type of work you do, you could show recognition for employees hitting a specific quota, arriving early, helping other team members or finding a workable solution to a problem. It's important to show people recognition for their hard work every day to maintain productivity and motivation.

2. Show recognition publicly

A public announcement that includes the person's name and the nature of their accomplishment is one of the easiest ways to give recognition. This also gives other people on the team the opportunity to show their appreciation for the employee and their accomplishments, which may have gone unnoticed otherwise. If you'd rather not make a public announcement but still want to show appreciation in a public manner, you could send an email to the team recognising the employee or place an eye-catching memo on a bulletin board.

3. Host events

Hosting events is a great way to thank your team for their hard work, celebrate milestones and bond with colleagues outside of the workplace. Socialising in a different environment allows the team to relax and become better acquainted with one another, and this often leads to discussing and recognising each other's achievements. This can improve morale within the workforce and promote effective collaboration.

Related: What does collaboration mean in the workplace?

4. Lunch with the CEO

Depending on the availability of the CEO, consider offering deserving employees the opportunity to have lunch with them, especially if you're a part of a larger company. This experience can help employees to feel their value within the organisation as a whole. They will have the opportunity to gain company and industry insight as well as to discuss how they can improve the company through new contributions and ideas.

5. Peer recognition programmes

A peer recognition programme gives employees the chance to hear positive feedback from their coworkers about their work. It can foster a culture of collaboration in the workplace and increase employees' confidence. Peer-to-peer recognition can be given informally by encouraging employees to recognise colleagues' contributions and successes on a message board or in a team meeting. It can also be given more formally, for example, through an award for which individuals are nominated by their coworkers.

6. Use e-cards

E-cards are a quick way to show appreciation and help new employees in particular feel welcome. You can use this method to show someone that you appreciate how their hard work helps the whole team. You can choose a personal e-card or opt for a more social version, which involves allowing comments from more than one person.

7. Organise wellness time

You can talk to your manager about organising time that's set aside for people to improve their mental and physical health. This can include stress reduction coaching, exercise classes or nutritional talks. As well as recognising hard work and dedication, providing wellness time also allows colleagues to bond over something other than work, which typically serves as a morale booster.

8. Bonuses and rewards

A monetary bonus is a common employee recognition programme tied to performance reviews. As an alternative, or in addition to, a monetary bonus, you can consider gifting employees an experience tailored to their goals or interests. Ask employees about personal goals in performance reviews to identify opportunities for rewards of this kind. If they would like to learn how to scuba dive or ride a horse, for example, you can offer to pay for a course.

9. Reward skills training

You may choose to establish rewards for voluntary attendance to programmes where people learn new skills or earn new certifications. You can also include actions like reading books related to your industry or attending relevant conferences in the rewards system. The prospect of a reward helps motivate the team to pursue professional development, which can have positive long-term impacts on the work they produce.

Related: The importance of upskilling

10. Celebrate milestones

One way to show your appreciation for your team members is by celebrating milestones. The following are three of the most common to celebrate:

  • Birthday: A cake, card or presents are kind gestures that can make employees feel valued by their coworkers and employer.

  • Team achievements: When your team reaches an important milestone, arrange a celebration to recognise your collective achievement.

  • Promotion: If a teammate earns a promotion, you may wish to plan a celebration to mark their achievement.

Tips for showing employee recognition

Here are some helpful tips for showing employee recognition:

Show recognition quickly

Ensure that achievements are quickly recognised. This helps show that you're paying close attention and gives the individual a sense of their hard work being valued. Taking the time to express recognition swiftly face-to-face will let the employee know how much their hard work is appreciated. You may also wish to communicate your appreciation in an email copied to senior management, to ensure they're aware of the ways this employee benefits the team.

Be specific

Be specific about what the recognition is for to avoid confusion. This gives clarity to the team member, and the confidence and will to repeat the praiseworthy action in the future. Knowing about the actions that warrant this type of praise can also encourage other team members to act similarly.

Tailor the recognition

Tailor the form of recognition to the recipient's personality and the nature of their achievement. Quick surveys of your employees can help you learn more about what types of recognition are likely to be most effective for different types of employees. For example, an introvert may prefer an e-card, whereas an extrovert may prefer a public announcement.

Commit to consistency

Consistently recognise individuals for their successes, both big and small. If a person receives recognition for something small, this can encourage them to continue making an effort, even if what they're doing is relatively insignificant. Maintaining consistency in the recognition system also gives all of your colleagues a chance to receive positive recognition.

Why is employee recognition important?

Here are some reasons employee recognition is important in the workplace:

Increased motivation

Employees who receive consistent recognition may produce better quality work, which can benefit the team. When employees don't receive recognition for their achievements, this can decrease their motivation to continue working hard. Thanking someone for a job well done may help them recognise the importance of their role and motivate them to continue to perform well.

More engagement

An employee who feels appreciated typically plays a more active role within the company they work for. This can include them offering advice and initiating new ideas to help other team members thrive.

Increased productivity

Recognition can help increase productivity because people typically want to work harder when they receive acknowledgements for their efforts. A positive, engaging team environment gives everyone a sense of fulfilment and the willingness to collaborate with colleagues. This can translate into the team completing complex collaborative tasks more quickly.

Related: Team building skills: definition and examples

Stronger retention

Employees are usually happier in their roles when they feel their contributions matter. This means they're more likely to remain in a job role that recognises their efforts and feel less inclined to search elsewhere for new opportunities. Creating positive professional relationships with your colleagues also helps encourage them to stay with the team, and showing appreciation is a great way to build and improve these relationships.

Improved collaboration

Recognising employees can help bring teams together. A collaborative workplace is one in which employees feel at ease working together. You can foster this type of workplace with consistent recognition, as this helps show that each team member's actions contribute to the shared goal the team is working towards.


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