The changing workplace has seen the dynamic of employer-worker relationships change over the years as younger generations take on more managerial or executive roles and older workers start to step into retirement. 

While employee benefits help to keep teams motivated, droves of workers are leaving the workplace because of the lack of recognition. Employees often feel more motivated, inspired and stay longer at the same company if they notice employers valuing their contribution to the organization. Rewarding employees for their work has been shown to improve overall productivity, and workplace relationships among employers, managers, and younger staff members. 

In a Gallup research study, it was found that those workers who “strongly agree” they receive authentic recognition are 5.2 times more likely to stay at their current firm and envision long-term prospects more positively. Telling employees that they’re being recognized for their work can help organizations minimize employee turnover and help increase overall productivity. 

Why Is Employee Recognition Important?

Employee recognition in the workplace helps to identify and reward individuals that are actively making a difference within their office, contributing to group projects, meeting targets, and improving workplace relationships. 

Giving employees the necessary recognition and rewards helps employers and team leaders establish a more positive working environment, but more so, it provides employees with more motivation and appreciation and encourages individual contribution among staff. 

For instance, it’s been found that Gen Z employees, those born after 1998, are 73% more likely to say they want recognition at least a few times per month in the workplace compared to their older peers. 

While employee recognition is not shared the same among organizations, or even teams for that matter, the right people must be appointed to give employee recognition to ensure equal and fair treatment of employees who can stand about, go the extra mile, and deliver more than what is expected of them.

Who Gives Employee Recognition?

As a business or company, it’s important to make sure that people feel valued, especially when there is a strong culture of positive enforcement among employers and workers. This not only helps to establish a good relationship among employees but also between employers and their employees. 

Employees want to feel that they are being supported. Research has found that in some instances, only 59% of employees said that they feel supported at work, helping them to achieve personal and professional goals. This only further highlights the importance of giving proper employee recognition and ensuring that all workers are treated fairly. 

Top-Down Recognition

The first, and more traditional structure for recognizing employees is the top-down recognition model, which is generally centralized within the organization. There are two types of top-down praises, which differ in the approach they use, but ultimately help to give the necessary praise to those employees that deserve it. 

Manager-to-Employee Recognition

Often the more common approach, manager-to-employee recognition, sees team leaders giving praise to the members of their teams for the work they have contributed. This is a more effective option, as managers tend to work directly with employees and can establish a workplace relationship with them. Manager-to-employee recognition not only creates a more productive environment but it helps to cast a manager in the light of a team leader. 

Company-to-Employee Recognition

Another form of praise is company-to-employee, which sees companies giving their workers more public recognition, either with an Employee of the Month Award or perhaps at an annual prize giving. These rewards are often bigger and perhaps more meaningful but can exclude a lot of other hardworking employees. 

Seeing that companies can at most hand out 12 Employee of the Month Awards, or have only one annual prize giving, it can be hard to choose an overall prestige employee that has ultimately stood out, while not deliberately disregarding other workers. 

Peer-to-Peer or Social Recognition

Although companies don’t often spend a lot of resources in developing peer-to-peer recognition programs, workers can give each other praise, or managers can show support to other managers through direct recognition. 

Having a combination of top-down recognition and social encouragement is a strategy that can help employees feel more valued within their teams and the overall company

Where Do You Give Your Employees Recognition?

Giving feedback to employees is the easy part; deciding when and where to do it becomes the hard part of the recognition process. Employers and team leaders will need to decide where would be the best to give employees praise or feedback, either through a public announcement or perhaps something more private. 

1. Private Recognition

Private recognition is often more common in bigger companies that have hundreds, if not thousands of employees, as it’s easier to provide them with monetary praise, or verbal feedback. 


Bonuses can show the value placed on the work employees have brought to the company. Often companies will give seasonal bonuses, which will either be in the form of higher commission or an increased monetary bonus added to their salary. These types of appraisals are only possible if the company is in a financial position to hand out more money. 

Written Praise

Another form is written praise, which can come from executive offices, managers, or team leaders. Written praise can be a letter or even an email where an employer highlights all the important qualities an employee is bringing to the company and ensures they are noticing the work they are doing. This is often easier, and employers can send out written praise at any given time. 

Verbal Praise

In-person praise can help encourage those employees that feel motivated through affirmations, and direct reassurance. Either an employer or manager can give verbal praise where they feel necessary, and can be conducted in a group setting or a team meeting. More in-person or group praise will help boost team spirits, and help those employees feel more motivated through personal validation. 

2. Public Appreciation

The other side of the spectrum sees companies giving their employees public recognition. This news is often shared among employees internally and is perhaps more neutral as it can include more than one individual or group of employees that can be recognized at the same time. 


Some companies will distribute a weekly or monthly newsletter, often praising a specific employee that has done an exceptional job. This can also be seen as in-direct written praise, but is published publicly, and can help to motivate other workers in their pursuit to boost their workplace contribution and be recognized in the office. 


Here the goal is to ensure that all employees are being recognized for their work, but at the same time uplift their spirits with social gatherings that often include food and drinks and a small prize giving. This is a way for companies to give thanks to their employees in a more public way, and help foster a more positive working environment. 

Wall of Fame

A bit more traditional, but never fails to help give recognition to those employees that deserve it, a Wall of Fame helps to publicly display to both other workers and customers which employees have been going the extra mile. Getting onto the Wall of Fame could help to motivate other employees, and also encourage them to uplift their fellow colleagues. 


Gifts can be both monetary or physical objects, and they can range depending on the budget, company, and employee. Often an organization will hand out gifts to employees at an annual prize giving such as an office party or give them milestone awards for the time they have served at the company.

Check Out 6 Ways of Employee Rewards and Recognition Program:

Corporate Rewards and Recognition Programs

Having corporate rewards and recognition programs can help to incentivize employees, which often leads to more productive and motivated teams. This not only helps increase healthy competition among colleagues, but it’s also a way for the company to boost sales and become more profitable. 

Employee of the Month

A standard recognition program could perhaps be an employee of the month award. As already mentioned, these can often be limited to at most 12 staff members, depending on the size of the company. More so, this type of program can help encourage engagement among fellow employees, boost morale, and establish employee appreciation on a more public level.

Work Anniversary 

For older companies or those that have been around for several years, a work anniversary can give praise to longstanding employees that have helped to build and shape the company into what it is today. Additionally, this is another platform through which younger staff members can be motivated, and recognize their future within the company and where it is heading. 


While the aim is to ensure that all team members are working collectively to achieve a specific goal, teamwork recognition would entail having a team leader oversee projects, and dedicate their time to delegating. Through this employees will know what their role is and what is expected of them. 


Giving employees a specific goal or target, and providing incentives will help motivate them to go above and beyond. With sales structures, companies can offer employees a bonus, or a paid vacation once they reach a certain goal within a given time frame. This can help to establish healthy competition among staff, and allow employees to be noticed for their work. 

Leadership Awards

Not all employees are natural leaders, but those that present natural leadership abilities are often able to take on more challenging projects, work independently and motivate their fellow colleagues. Leadership awards can either be a physical prize, a cash bonus, a salary increase, or a promotion. 

Customer Service Awards

For customer-centered companies, employees that receive outstanding recognition from clients can be awarded in several structured ways, and is often an award that can be added to their resume or LinkedIn profile. This type of award highlights employees’ abilities to function well within the workplace, and also foster long-standing relationships with customers. 

Most Valuable Employee Award

It might be a bit tricky to differentiate which employees are more valuable than others, but those that do present exceptional abilities, provide meaningful contributions, and build healthy workplace relationships are often more valued within any company. Additionally, these types of employees are more skilled and willing to learn and develop new abilities to help improve company performance. 

Types of Rewards and Recognition

Just as not all employees are the same, it goes without saying that not all rewards should be the same. These compensations are rewarded to employees based on their performance and can be combined with different corporate reward and recognition programs. 

Monetary Rewards

1. Salary increases

According to a CNBC ALL-America Workforce Survey, 69% of workers expressed being satisfied with their current wages, and more than 80% of them felt motivated by their recent increases. 

Monetary awards not only help keep employees happy, especially for those that deserve it the most, but they can help companies retain talented workers for longer. When employees feel as if they’re being paid what they’re worth and what they bring to the table, they often stay longer at their current employer. 

2. Bonuses

Giving bonuses shows that employees have a high level of performance and that throughout the year they have presented increased productivity, and managed to improve the overall outcomes of their work. 

3. Commission

Another monetary reward that can motivate any employee to go the extra mile is a commission structure. These are often the most simple rewards, as they will encourage employees to make more sales, seeing that their commission will increase the more they sell, and companies can improve their revenue. 

Non-Monetary Rewards

1. Time off

A valuable reward that many employees are often after is getting more free time from work. Rewarding staff members with time off, even if it’s a few hours a week, or an extra day off from work can already uplift office spirits tremendously. 

2. Flexible working arrangements

A growing number of employees want more autonomy in the workplace, and remote or hybrid work roles are becoming an increasing demand from new employees. While this is not also possible, giving employees an extra day off, or allowing them to leave earlier on a Friday or after their shift can create a sense of recognition filtering from top management. 

3. Recognition and praise

Finally, having the time to personally praise employees, either through one-on-one meetings or a newsletter means that they can feel recognized by their employers. Efforts for cultivating more gratitude in the workplace are crucial if employers want their businesses to become successful and thrive in a competitive marketplace. 

Experiential Rewards

Other less-celebrated employee recognition program rewards still provide staff members with the motivation they need but can come in a different form than traditional monetary and non-monetary rewards. 

1. Trips

Breakaways from the office, such as an office getaway party, or even taking employees to a staff lunch can be considered a form of recognition. Trips can help employees engage in a less professional environment, and encourage them to build new relationships with their peers.

2. Team Building Activities

Corporate team-building events can range from flag football to volunteering or community work. There are different ways that team building activities can directly align themselves with employees and the work their company is doing within the direct community. These events can be an exciting way for employees to get to know one another, but also tests their abilities outside of the workplace. 

3. Professional Development Opportunities

Providing members, especially younger employees professional development opportunities can make them feel more involved with the company, and establish a space for them to grow and develop their skills. Development assessments can also increase employee retention, promote positive company culture, company values and deliver recognition for employees efforts. 

How to Implement Rewards and Recognition Programs

Choosing a strategy that will suit the needs of the employees and the company can mean that employers and managers consider the future of the company, and how employees will grow with the business. 

Setting Goals and Objectives

The most important implementation is having clear goals and objectives, as this will help employees better understand how their work will line up with where the company is heading. Not only this, but it makes it easier for them to know exactly what will be expected of them to achieve these goals and objectives during their time at the company. 

Identifying the Right Rewards and Recognition for Your Workforce

Choose the rewards based on employee needs, and what the business can support. It would be shortsighted to select monetary rewards for employees if the company is new, or still struggling to make profit margins. Make sure to have a balance, and that both the company and employees can benefit from these programs. Take some pointers from staff with any ideas on recognition program examples, and any tangible reward choices. 

Communicating the Program to Employees

Clearly state the intentions of the program, how employees will benefit from it, and what the potential outcomes will be. If you want employees to sell more products, give them the necessary information they need or training to be better salespeople. Make an effort to communicate how they will then be incentivized either through key performance indicators (KPIs) or monthly sales targets. 

Measuring the Success of the Program

Once a new program has been identified, and a strategy implemented, it’s time to monitor whether this is successful. Make an effort to track employee performance, and provide feedback throughout the process. This way top performers will know how they are doing on the leaderboard, while other slower performers can improve their forward-looking guidance. 

Check Out How to Create an Effective Employee Recognition Program:

Best Practices for Rewards and Recognition Programs

Ensuring social, business, and wellness rewards can elevate team performance and become an advantage for teams, consider ways that will enhance rewards and recognition programs for team members and the company. 

Tailoring Rewards to Individual Employee Preferences

Make sure that employees are rewarded according to their preferences. You don’t want employees who require extra time off or shorter working days to be rewarded with a pizza party or team-building activities. Make sure to include their opinions in the developing process and know what they want. 

Recognizing and Rewarding Employees in a Timely Manner

Relying on months or years’ worth of work, only to give recognition at the end of their tenure or contract is not the way to go. Be more vocal with employees, and give recognition where needed. Make sure they are being noticed, and communicate ways in which you could potentially recognize employees, and develop more business growth. 

Encouraging Employee Input and Feedback

Give staff members the chance to give their input, whether it’s about the work they’re doing, the environment, or even the recognition program – make sure to listen to what employees want. 

Continuously Evaluating and Improving the Program

Don’t settle. The marketplace is constantly evolving, consumer buying habits are changing, and employee interests are shifting. Having an outdated structure or model can easily leave staff members feeling discouraged and that their workplace needs are not being fulfilled. Recognize employees who, through a successful recognition program or rewards program, fits in with the company values and company culture.


What Are the Most Preferred Forms of Recognition in the Workplace?

Some more preferred forms include monetary rewards such as salary increases or bonuses. Others would be time off, more flexible working arrangements, or professional development opportunities. 

What Are the Best Awards for Employees?

Those that directly recognize their achievements and work. More so, awards can help to motivate employees and increase their loyalty towards the company. 

What Are 3 Forms of Incentive Compensation?

Bonuses include salary increases, company shares or stocks, and gift vouchers. 

Final Thoughts

Recognizing and praising employees for their work and contribution ensures they will remain loyal members of the company for the remainder of their tenure. This helps to lower employee turnaround, and employers can keep skilled workers for longer. 

Employees often feel more motivated and positive when they are encouraged, whether it’s through peer-to-peer recognition or company-to-employee recognition. It’s important to ensure that the right employees are being recognized and that when they are rewarded for their work, it’s tailored to their needs. 

Provide different reward programs, and evaluate what works best for you and your staff members. Remember that over time it’s possible to see a shift in employee demands, and it’s recommended to provide developing strategies throughout this period. 

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.