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Top 5 Employee Recognition & Appreciation Ideas

With the number of companies growing, the number of employees is also increasing. But in all this growth, the employee recognition is something that is limited in most of these organizations. A lot of employees usually complain due to the lack of appreciation and gratitude regularly. Most of the companies do not realize the employee recognition criteria and power.

And the main reason behind the lack of recognition for the employee is since the owners or managers are not aware of the impact that the employee recognition and “thank you’s” have. Managers who are supposed to be the most crucial part of the employee recognition, are not even clear about these value factors and what happens when the appreciation is provided – which is employee engagement, motivation, and retention.

The funniest things that that came across while surveying about the employee recognition criteria and what is employee recognition for some people, there were managers who asked questions like, “Why should I thank him/her? They are just doing their job.”

Some other reasons for some managers were that “Life is to busy at work, with just more and more work. There are a lot of goal and priorities to keep in mind in an office.” What these managers do not understand is that the employee recognition is also a part of their work, and should be a priority.

While there were those, some of the managers also felt that every employee has a lot of work to complete in just 40 hours or sometimes even more, which also included their work. And it is due to these factors that come together to make workplaces dull, less productive and less-efficient. Employees here are treated like robots in most situations, as per the answers were given by most of the employees during a survey.

Employee Recognition

What is employee recognition?

The managers who understand employee recognition, know that it is not just a beautiful thing to do for those who are working in the company. It is basically a communication mechanism that rewards and strengthens the end results that the employees provide for the business.

It is evident that every company wants their employees to be happy with their jobs. After all, a happy employee is equal to a productive employee. And since you are the owner of a company, you are well aware that productivity drives business results and eventually assists the business to achieve its goals.

Employee Survey Pinpoints Recognition as a Challenge

A client employee satisfaction survey was taken in some organizations where there was a question about whether the organization cared about the happiness and welfare of the employees. The outcome drew divergent views.

Some people disagreed while others agreed. And it was clearly seen that the environment was not covered with employee recognition. As a matter of fact, the survey had also shown that there was a gap in how the employees and how the senior management perceived recognition efforts.

Where about 56% of the senior management observed that their organization was above average, only 23% of the employees felt that they MIGHT BE appreciated. That is considered a huge difference!

For a much better picture, some more numbers that came up during the survey have been shared:

  • 78% of the employees said being recognized motivates them to do their job in a much better way. Certainly, workers who have been appreciated by the employers state that they love their jobs.
  • 69% of workers would do anything and work much harder only if they were recognized for their work.
  • 49% of staffers said that they want to leave their current job to work for a company that would recognize their employees for their contributions and efforts.

Types of Employee Recognition

With such an output from the first survey, the Culture and Communications team decided to find out the types of employee recognition that employees would like to have. They wanted to gather all the Tips for Effective Employee Recognition by asking what would make the workers feel that the organization cared a lot about them.

The team gathered a lot of recognition for employees examples from the workers and even got comments and additional thoughts on most of the suggestions. About 50% of the employees felt that attention and praise from their supervisor were all that they needed, to feel that the company cared a lot about their wellbeing.

As expected, there were many choices where workers selected benefits, money and even events such as company lunches that would make them feel happy working with the company. But above all these ideas, the most supported employee recognition criteria was being appreciated by the manager. Though this was just one organization, the findings were almost similar in many other companies.

Recognition is a potent tool in a workplace that helps to develop a work environment that is positive in which the employees enjoy challenging themselves to reach new goals and new levels of success. When an employee is appreciated, it encourages them to go above and beyond the expectations and motivates them to give a better performance. In short, it increases their morale.

The employees in your company want to know that they did a great job and that you noticed it. They want to be appreciated and thanked. And as a leader of the employees, it is your duty to make them feel appreciated and important as you create an environment that is positive and increases the productivity as well.

A valid employee recognition is simple, immediate, and powerfully reinforcing.

Employee Recognition Criteria

There are many ways to ensure that your employees are happy, just like there are many types of employee recognition methods. Also, before you read ahead, just remember that most of the Tips for Effective Employee Recognition shared are something that you already know, but maybe you just didn’t use it.

In case your organization does not support the employee recognition regularly as of now, it is not too late to start it. Moreover, if you feel that you have to intensify your current recognition program, there is always a place for improvements that your employees would no doubt love it.

You can powerfully reinforce the appreciation that you offer by first gathering the facts about the employee. You would need to write down the recognition, what the worker did, how the actions helped the company, and most importantly why was the action something crucial for the company. Below are the Tips for an Effective Employee Recognition speech, or note that you can prepare for the employee you are about to appreciate:

1. Be Quick

Preferably, the employee recognition should take place as soon as that employee gave the best performance in the company. In that way, you would be able to encourage that behavior of the employee instead of a contradictory one. Waiting too long would not show the employee that they were appreciated. With immediate praise, the employee would see that their performance was appreciated.

2. Be specific

A”Good Job” might be the right encouragement, but it isn’t the right one when it comes to employee workplace recognition. It is important to let the employee know that a specific action or behavior is being rewarded. If you keep it general, the employee could be confused regarding what exactly got them the appreciation.

One of the best Tips for Effective Employee Recognition is praising an employee for a specific behavior. You give them a blueprint for the repeated successes. Example of a specific recognition is, employee A finished the project X days before the deadline or closed X number of sales calls, etc.

3. Be accurate

There isn’t anything that’s more embarrassing than having all the facts wrong about a worker while appreciating them. Make sure that you know what the employee’s name is and the particular achievement for which you are acknowledging them. Making a mistake in the facts can only make the employee feel much worse as compared to when he/she was not appreciated.

4. Be fair

There is an old aphorism that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Even though there would unquestionably be events where an employee would stand out like a star, you should remember that a project is usually about the team’s effort. Hence, it is better to let the team know that they did well as well, although their work was more of behind the scenes.

5. Be well-balanced

In the end, ensure that the reward you are presenting to the employee matches the degree of achievement. For example, if a person is celebrating his two year anniversary at the company, a pen with the company’s logo is not the right gift. But it would be an excellent gift for the first milestone of the employee. Tiny tokens of appreciation like a gift certificate, free food, trophies and even plaques are usually enough to make an employee feel valued.

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Top Ways to Offer Recognition to the Employee

Using the Tips above, you can offer the recognition to the employee in many ways. The top 5 ideas to appreciate an employee by giving a great recognition are:

1. Prepare a personal note by writing it down for the employee, where you can also have the manager sign it. Have the note photocopied and place the recognition note in the file of the employee.

2. Combine the verbal recognition with a gift for the employee, such as a certificate to appreciate them, merchandise that holds the company’s logo, and even engraved plaques to strengthen the recognition of the employee.

3. It is obvious that people highly appreciate it when they receive gift cards, checks, gift certificates, or even cash as a recognition. In case you use a consumable form for this process, you can add some money along with the letter or note. This is so that when the money is spent, the employee would remember the recognition.

4. Offer the recognition publicly in the company, or at an employee meeting. Even if the employee doesn’t want it publicly, it is important to let the other employees know about it as well, so that they can follow the same actions and aim to get a recognition the next time.

Moreover, the best way is to combine all the ideas mentioned above and give it to the employee. You can also give the recognition note or letter your prepared to the employee as well as the department head to add to the employees file.

Another idea is to place the letter on the notice board of the company so that everyone can get inspired to have their name there sometime in the future while the recognized employee keeps working harder as well. Do everything to make that employee feel special, and let the company know that you reward those who are worth rewarding.

With this, you would see a change in not only the employee you gave recognition to but in others as well. Productivity would increase, and the environment would become a positive one.


As mentioned above, a simple “thank you” is an excellent employee recognition, but it would be great if you care a lot to work more and offer more as a recognition for the work the employee did. Use your imagination and think of something great that you think would be better to offer as credit. In a company, recognition should not be a scarce resource. Pick up any tiny achievement to make sure that employee feels cared about and appreciated. That is all an employee needs for them to show wonders in their work and mood in the workplace.

Using the above Tips for Effective Employee Recognition, you would be able to build a positive work environment. And with that would come a positive relationship between the company and their employees. Designing a robust recognition program is the primary employee recognition criteria that would make a healthier and happier workplace.

As a matter of fact, you cannot finish all the recognition, or there isn’t a budget that would be too heavy on your pocket for the recognition. And in the business world,

For increased employee satisfaction, you should show your employees a lot of recognition.

And trust us, you will be happy that you did it. That is not all; your employees will love your company and work hard to stick with your organization for as long as possible!

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