7 Inspiring Employee Recognition Award Ideas

Successful companies are those that are also successful in managing their human resources, and one of the key aspects of human resource management is employee recognition

Studies have suggested that companies with proper employee appreciation award strategies have higher employee engagement, lower turnover rate, improved morale, and more. Doing something as simple as saying a thank you for an employee’s hard work can improve their productivity by as much as 50%, which in turn, will translate into a 20% increase in revenue and profits. 

However, we all know that establishing a clear employee recognition award strategy can be easier said than done: different employees might prefer different kinds of appreciation, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for all. On the other hand, if we rely too much on the traditional staff recognition and appreciation ideas, it will be seen as boring and worse, inauthentic.

With that being said, here we will share 10 creative employee recognition and appreciation ideas to make sure your team feels they were properly appreciated, and let us begin with the first one. 

  1. Mention them on social media

In this day and age where virtually everyone is active on social media, it would only make sense to recognize and appreciate your star employees and their milestones on social media. 

When, for example, you mention a star employee on your company’s LinkedIn and Instagram accounts, it can be a great way to show how proud you are of this employee publicly (at least, in front of your brand’s social media followers). 

Why this is effective: 

People love social recognition, and those who receive recognition are likely to share the posts with their followers, which can help build awareness of your organization. 

2. An offsite day

A great way to recognize achievements and milestones is to plan an offsite day away from the office. It can be in a nearby cafe, a co-working space just for the change of scenery, or even completely virtual. You can do this in any location that meets your team’s size and needs. 

When using this approach, make sure to clearly communicate what the offsite day is about. For example, if your team is in a rut, tell them that this offsite day is to help them with precisely that. 

You can, for example, arrange an offsite day to celebrate a certain milestone simply to thank the team for their great work so far. 

Why is this effective: even a little change of scenery can be very effective in boosting your team’s morale. A relatively affordable recognition and appreciation effort that can provide a lot of value. 

3. Gift Cards

A somewhat traditional approach, but presenting gift cards to star employees is effective for a reason: it’s affordable, versatile, and has tangible value. 

With an employee recognition platform like Guusto, you can offer gift cards to the employee’s favorite coffee shop, an Airbnb gift card to encourage them to finally take their leave for a vacation, or even prepaid Mastercard credits so they can spend the gift card anywhere they want it. 

Why is this effective: it provides flexibility for both the employer and the staff, the value is tangible, and it’s easy to use gift cards anywhere. 

4. Surprise Treat

Surprise your staff with a form of gratitude. 

This doesn’t have to be something big: leave them their favorite snack on their desk along with a handwritten note, leave a pair of tickets for the next Lakers game in their drawer, and so on. 

Or, you can even organize a surprise party in the office while involving the other staff if it’s a big occasion like service/work anniversaries, specific milestones achieved by an employee/team, and so on.

Why is this effective: well, everybody loves to be surprised, and it will also be exciting for other employees especially if you involve them in the surprise event. 

5. National Employee Appreciation Day

Do you know that the national Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated every first Friday of March each year

Simply organizing something for this day can tell your employee that you do care about them, so take this seriously. Use this day to recognize employees for their years of service, major milestones, and other achievements. 

If necessary, extend the event to be celebrated the whole week with team-building activities, contests, special food (i.e. invite your employees’ favorite food trucks), and so on. 

Why is this effective: you can get everyone involved so you can recognize and appreciate everyone without having to worry about office politics.

6. Career Development Opportunities

Identify your employee’s core strengths and offer them to join a relevant training course, seminars, or any classes they’d like to take. 

You can also let them pick out a special project to work on, or even to teach others about their strengths and mentor new employees.

Why is this effective: especially effective for “serious” employees who prefer to develop themselves. Also effective because it can show them you understand their specific strengths and care about their development.

7. Establish a Peer-to-Peer Recognition System

Don’t underestimate the importance of a peer recognition system, and the secret is to make sure it’s as easy as possible for employees to recognize their peers. 

Fortunately, there are now affordable and even free tools like Guusto that can allow you to easily set up a peer-to-peer recognition program.

Why is this effective: employees that receive peer-to-peer recognition are 35% more likely to feel a positive impact rather than recognition from their bosses. 

Wrapping Up

The secret of having a successful employee recognition and appreciation program is to keep it dynamic. 

So, don’t be afraid to try out different, creative appreciation tactics and gain feedback to learn about what your employees actually want. This way, you can keep refining your strategy to ensure your recognition award efforts will be more meaningful in the future. 

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