Post: The Top 5 Employee Recognition Programs and Why They Work!

Well done in plastic colored letters

This post was last updated on April 9th, 2022

Are you looking for the top employee recognition programs?

Employee recognition programs are a great way to motivate employees and keep them happy.

When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to work harder and be excited about their job. There are many different employee recognition programs, but all of them have the same goal – to make employees feel seen and appreciated.

In this blog post, we’ll unveil the top 5 employee recognition programs you should try with your team right now and why they work!

What is the best way to recognize employees?

There are many different ways to recognize employees, but some methods are more effective than others.

According to the study of Bonusly, monetary employee recognition programs are the most attractive in the eye of the employees for 57% of the respondents.

This is not always easy to implement in every company, so know that there are other ways of rewarding your team!

What’s important to keep in mind is that employee recognition programs should be personal, meaningful, and relevant to the company’s values.

Table of Contents: Quick look at our top selection of employee recognition programs

  1. Public Recognition Program
  2. Private Recognition
  3. Monetary Reward Program
  4. Job-Related Recognition Program
  5. Employee Recognition Event
a happy employee smiling while being recognized by their manager and team

1. Public Recognition Program


Public recognition programs are one of the most popular employee recognition programs. They work by publicly recognizing employees for their achievements and contributions.

This program can be implemented in several ways, such as through awards ceremonies, employee of the month boards, or even social media platforms.


Public recognition programs don’t necessarily have to be expensive to implement.

If you want to recognize a particular team member publicly, this can be done through easy and non-monetary elements such as a speech, a shout out on

Assume you’ve decided to go above and beyond by investing in a public recognition program. You may buy prizes or awards, set up a corporate gifting strategy to distribute rewards for special occasions like birthdays, or devise other forms of recognition.

Why it works

Public recognition programs work well because they make employees feel appreciated and acknowledged for their hard work.

They also help build a sense of community within the workplace, as employees can see what others have achieved.

For some other team members, it could also help create a healthy sense of competition, motivating employees to work even harder.

Our top picks are:

An employee of the Month Recognition Certificate
Free to print!

An employee of the Month Certificate

Employee of the Month honors one of your team members each month to showcase their achievements.

It’s also a good way to keep track of your team’s progress and celebrate individuals’ achievements. However, it can be seen as a bit of a popularity contest, so it is important to make sure that the employees who are being recognized are truly deserving of the award.

An employee of the Month Wall of Fame

The Employee of the Month Wall of Fame regroups the pictures and names of the most performing employees.

With a board hung in the workplace, each employee of the month is highlighted throughout the year.

You could use that system as a replacement or as a complementary recognition tool to the Employee of the Month certificates.

Employee of the Month PDF Printable
Printable PDF Employee of the Month Certificate
Printable Employee of the Month Certificate

Print one of our FREE Employee of the Month Certificates

Celebrating Milestone

Another way to publicly recognize your employees is by celebrating their milestones. Whether it’s about work anniversaries, the birth of a kid, birthdays, or other personal accomplishments, employees will feel appreciated if you show that you are truly interested in their lives.

Performance Awards

The employee recognition awards are a great way to publicly recognize the achievements of your employees while keeping it light and fun!

You can give out awards for different categories, such as “Best New Employee,” “Highest Sales Number,” or “10 years of Service Awards”.

Make certain that your gift reflects your firm’s values by including a prize for individuals with excellent interpersonal skills, such as “Funniest Person,” “Most Empathetic,” and “Helpful Hand Award.”

Pro tip: Have a look at this list of 200 Employee Appreciation Awards if you need inspiration.

Social Media Shout-outs

Social media platforms have become a powerful tool to reach out to employees and publicly recognize them for their good work.

You can use platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook to give employees a shout-out for a job well done.

This type of personalized recognition is great because it can be seen by the employees’ friends and family, which can help to create a sense of pride.

Newsletter Shout-outs

Another way to shout out your employees’ accomplishments is through company newsletters.

You can use this space to write about the successes of individuals or teams, and you can even include photos to make it more personal.

This is a great way to keep employees in the loop about what is going on in the company, to show them that their hard work is being noticed, and why not inspire employees further.

Recognition Wall

A recognition wall is a physical space in your office where you can display photos of employees who have been recognized for their achievements. This could be anything from customer satisfaction scores to sales figures.

It can be a nice source of motivation for employees who see their photos on the wall.

Gamification and Employee Recognition Software

Employee recognition software is a tool that helps managers to keep track of employee achievements and to give out awards.

This type of software can be used to create a recognition program for your company, and it can also be used to keep track of employee performance.

There are many different types of recognition platforms available, so it is important to choose one that fits the needs of your company.

Pro tip: You can have a look at this list of the best employee recognition software for more information.

Public Peer-to-peer recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition and reward programs can be a great way to show employees that their work is being noticed by their colleagues.

It can also help to create a sense of camaraderie among employees and help strengthen team relationships.

One way to implement this program is to create a “recognition board,” a recognition platform, or an internal social media channel where employees can post messages about their colleagues.

top employee recognition programs include handwritten notes like great work well done and gold stars

2. Private Recognition Program


A private recognition program is a way to recognize employees’ achievements without making them public.

It can be a great way to show employees that you pay attention to their work and appreciate all their hard work.

There are many different ways to create a private recognition program, and it is important to tailor it to the personality of your coworker and to deliver it in a way that will be meaningful to him.

Some employee recognition ideas for this program could be a message given in the form of a handwritten note, a gift, or even a simple “thank you.”


This type of program is usually free to implement, except if you want to be giving employees tangible benefits or rewards.

Why It Works

Easy and cheap to set up, this is a strong employee recognition program to our eyes.

Why? Because rewarding employees privately is a way to show your employees that you truly care about their achievements. It’s not just for the show!

More intimate and authentic, this program will make your employees feel valued in a more personal way, humanize the work experience, and can reinforce the manager-managee relationships or, in the case of peer-to-peer recognition, their team bonding.

Our top picks:

Quarterly or Yearly Review with the manager

This one-on-one talk is a great way to catch up with your employees on a regular basis and to show them that you are interested in their work and career development.

This meeting can also be used to discuss any problems or issues that the employee is having, and it can provide a forum for employees to give feedback about their work.

Private Peer-to-peer recognition

Unlike the public one, this program allows employees to recognize peers privately. It’s a fantastic approach to let an employee know that his efforts are appreciated among the team or a certain colleague.

It allows them to express their feelings and put words to things that haven’t been said yet, as well as develop a sense of belonging.

Thank you note

A thank-you note can go a long way!

It’s a thoughtful way to show your appreciation for an employee, and it can be tailored to the specific achievement or a simple gesture.

Whether you want to take a break from digital environments and give out a handwritten card or prefer staying with a classic email, a thank you message can truly make someone happy.

Need inspiration? Check out our 27 powerful employee appreciation messages to get you started!

Send a personalized Gift

Gift-giving can be a tangible means to show your employees that you see their good work.

You can find many different types of gifts, depending on the budget and the type of relationship you have with him/her.

Some ideas for gifts could be a gift card, tickets to a show or a game, a gift basket, or even a simple item that is meaningful to that person.

Just make sure that the gift is appropriate and not too personal. Have a look at our team gift ideas if you want to surprise your employee with a tasteful choice!

manager handing over a bonus cheque to an employee

3. Monetary Rewards Program


A monetary program rewards employees thanks to a financial incentive or compensation for their work.

This type of program is often used in sales positions, but it can be adapted to any type of job.

When we talk about monetary rewards, know that this is not only about raises or bonuses. You can imagine another way of rewarding your employee productivity, such as gift cards or professional paid training.


No surprises here: monetary employee recognition programs come with a certain cost. They are one of the most expensive to implement but still depend on a number of factors.

Why It Works

Whether you’re thinking about a raise, paid time off, or a gift card, know that this is a successful employee recognition program. If you want to drive employee engagement, limit turnover, and help motivate employees to keep an outstanding behavior.

Why? Because, what we work for ultimately, it’s money. That’s their first motive for being part of your team and company.

Our top picks:


A raise is a percentage or consistent amount increase in an employee’s salary. It usually happens once a year during the annual review and should be approved by human resources.

This is often given to employees who have met or exceeded expectations and set objectives.


A bonus is a one-time additional amount of money that is given to an employee as a reward for his or her work.

This can be given at any time and is often used to reward employees for a job well done, the end of a successful project, or to encourage them to reach a certain goal.

Paid Time Off

Paid time off is a benefit that allows employees to take paid time off from work. This can be used for vacation, sick days, personal days, or any other reason.

Paid time off is an interesting way to show your appreciation for an employee’s hard and intense work, and it can also be used as a motivator to encourage employees to reach goals.

Gift Card or Couponing

A gift card is a prepaid card that can be used to purchase goods or services.

When choosing a gift card, it’s important to consider the type of gift card that the employee will most appreciate—for example, a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store.

A gift card is a more easy and accessible method to provide recognition.


Commission plans are commonly used among sales teams. They are a percentage of the sales that an employee makes, which is paid to him or her as a form of incentive.

Strategically, they contribute to giving out specific employee rewards for their strong numbers while pushing for business success.

Paid course or training

Professional paid training is an opportunity for an employee to develop his or her skills and knowledge in a certain area.

Paid training is a great way to show your appreciation for an employee’s dedication and willingness to learn new things. It is also a way to motivate employees to reach their full potential.

Scholarship for tuition

A scholarship for tuition is an award of financial assistance to a student to help pay for education expenses.

This type of employee recognition program can be used to encourage employees to further their education and professional development. It is also a way to show your appreciation for an employee’s dedication to their job.

Better healthcare plans

Healthcare plans are employee benefits that provide medical and dental coverage.

Better healthcare plans are an essential part of the benefits package that you offer to your employees, and in countries where healthcare is not accessible for all, it can clearly contribute to better employee satisfaction.

Extra benefits such as a company car or a mobile phone

Extra benefits are a type of employee benefit that is not essential but can be very useful.

Some examples of those are company cars, mobile phones, or laptops.

young man with glasses wearing a jean t-shirt doing a happy dance


Job-related recognition programs represent a type of employee reward that is specific to the job that an employee performs.

Usually, those benefits are like “upgrades” in the mission or the daily working life that an employee can receive as he or she progresses through a company.


Job-related recognition programs can be either free or get pretty expensive, depending on the type of benefit offered.

For example, if you decide on granting someone the responsibility for a project, the recognition will be found in the fact that the employee feels trusted with more missions, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will get monetary compensation for that.

However, some job-related rewards can come with a price tag, such as inviting a coworker to a professional event happening in a different city, with the hotel, food, and flight included.

Why it works

Job-related recognition programs work because they genuinely recognize the hard work, dedication, and success of an employee.

Behind those, it’s not only managers, but it’s the entire company that says “we believe in you” or “we trust you.”

Our top picks:


A promotion is an advancement in rank or position within a company.

When an employee is promoted, it is a sign of appreciation for the dedication that he or she has put into the job.

This is an interesting motivational tool to encourage employees to continue to work hard and reach their full potential.

Note: They often come with a raise.

Handling a special project

Giving an employee the responsibility of handling a special project is a way to show your trust in his or her abilities.

This type of recognition can be very motivating, as it allows the employee to feel that he is contributing directly to the company’s success.

Work travel

Work travel is an employee benefit that allows employees to travel for work-related purposes.

This can be an attractive means to show your team that you trust them to go abroad on special tasks while rewarding them with the possibility of visiting the world!

Conferences and work events participation

Attending a work conference or event is interesting for employees to learn new things and network with their colleagues.

It is stimulating for them, but it is also an effective situation to spread company values and brand awareness outside the office.

Office space upgrade

Who had never thought: “I want my own office!”?

An office space upgrade is an extra benefit that allows employees to have a better working environment.

This can be done by providing them with dedicated office space, or maybe just an upgrade in their desk or chair.

Remote work / Flexibility in work location and time schedule

Offering flexibility in work location and hours is more and more common nowadays. But for some companies, it is still a right to win!

Giving your employees more freedom when it comes to working can be an easy way to implement employee recognition efforts while moving with the times!

a group of friends celebrating at a party with champagne and sparklers

5. Event Recognition Program


Events recognition programs are fun and exciting recognition methods and a great alternative to the previous ideas we saw above.

They involve the manager or company organizing an event to reward the whole team or a single employee’s accomplishment.

You would be able to say “thank you,” but also “let’s have fun together!”.

Let’s be clear: We all know your coworkers are the people you probably see the most daily. It is then important to keep the mood light and know how to celebrate successes together, as a team!


With the event employee recognition program, the usual objective is to reward a group of people, the full team, or maybe even the full company!

Therefore, depending on how big your team is, pricing can be different from one quote to another. The type of event and activity you will do will also affect your budget.

It can start at around $10 / person for a simple outing.

Why it works

Event recognition programs work because they are an excellent way to show your employees that you care about their well-being and that you want to celebrate their successes together.

It is also a great opportunity for team-building, improving team morale, and having some fun!

Our top picks:

Office Party

An office party is a fantastic way to demonstrate your gratitude for your team’s efforts.

It is an excellent opportunity to bring everyone together in or outside the office, share a moment, and have fun.

Whether you want to plan a Holiday party or organize a seasonal summer catch-up with everyone after vacation, they will undoubtedly contribute to employee happiness!

Fun Team Building Activities

Employees need to feel appreciated not only with words but also through actions. A great way to show your team you care is organizing team-building activities.

This can be anything from outdoor excursions, like hiking or kayaking, to indoor games such as table tennis or even virtual team building traveling to Paris!

Outings with the team

These types of employee recognition ideas are great opportunities for team members to get to know each other better, bond, and have some laughs.

Whether you invite them to have a beer for a happy hour at the corner bar (or a virtual happy hour if you are working from home) or for a barbecue at your house, these team recognition moments are always appreciated!

Travel with the team

You know how we are heavy travelers at Woyago. So let us ask you, what could be better than planning a trip with your team to celebrate their hard work?

This is an excellent way to show your employees how much you appreciate them while also giving them a chance to relax and recharge.

It can be a long weekend getaway or even a week-long trip to an exotic location.

This could also be part of the launch of a new strategy or a project planning work session. While being in a different setting and location, creativity is duplicated; think about that!


What is an employee recognition program?

An employee recognition program is a system put in place by a company to reward employees for their hard work or achievements.

What is an example of an employee recognition program?

An example of an employee recognition program is awarding employees with a certificate of appreciation, sending them flowers, or giving them a gift card.

How do you create an employee recognition program?

To create an employee recognition program, you first need to decide what rewards you want to offer employees.

Then, you’ll need to develop a system to track employee achievements.

Finally, you will need to announce and promote your employee recognition program to employees.

What makes a good employee recognition program?

An effective employee recognition program should generally have the following characteristics:

– It should be easy for employees to participate in.

– The rewards should be meaningful and desirable to employees.

– There should be a variety of recognition opportunities available so that everyone has a chance to be recognized.

– The program should be flexible and adaptable to changing needs.

– It should be designed to promote positive behavior and discourage negative behavior.

Conclusion: There should be a clear system for tracking and measuring the program’s results.

– The program should be reviewed and updated regularly.

Why even think about starting an employee recognition program in your company?

Employee recognition programs have been shown to improve employee engagement and motivation, employee happiness (for 82%), and increase productivity. It has also been shown to be improving employee well-being and attitude towards the company.

Furthermore, they can also help get a lower turnover rate and attract new talent to your company. According to a Bonusly study, 63% of recognized employees are less likely to seek employment elsewhere for 3 to 6 months.

Overall, employee recognition programs can positively impact your company culture and bottom line.

What shall you think of to build successful employee recognition programs?

Three important things for a successful employee recognition program:

  1. Understand who are the employees you want to reward to adapt the program to their wants. Then, you need to consider what are the best ways to recognize employees (publicly, privately, job-related, team event, or monetary);
  2. Set up a system so you can track and measure employee’s achievements;
  3. Make sure you communicate your program. In large companies with one, only 58% of the employees are aware a recognition program is in place.

When shall you recognize employees?

Recognizing employees can be done differently, depending on the company culture and what type of recognition program you have in place.

Some companies prefer to recognize employees quarterly or annually to celebrate milestones or special days like employee appreciation day.

Others may choose to recognize employees more frequently or even daily. It’s not that hard to recognize your peers. Get started with 10 employee recognition examples as quickly as today!

Who should be recognizing employees’ efforts?

In most cases, human resources, managers, or supervisors are responsible for recognizing employees.

However, any company member can recognize another employee’s efforts too.

Where is a good place to give positive feedback?

It can be given in different forms, such as an email, handwritten note, or public announcement. It can also be posted on social media, the newsletter, or a recognition wall if you have one in your offices!


As you can see, there are various top employee recognition programs that you can implement in your business. The key is to find the right program that will fit your company’s culture and employees’ wants.

The best employee recognition program for you are:

  • Monetary-based recognition program if your company has sufficient financial resources and your employees are sensitive to salary
  • Private recognition program if you are a small-size company or want to keep an authentic and close relationship with your employees
  • Event-based recognition program if you want to reward an entire team while creating team bonding.

We hope this blog post helped give you a better understanding of employee recognition programs. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!

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