A strong team will complete tasks with high quality before their deadlines. Every company wants to create a resilient group that will complete tasks at a high pace and on consistent bases. This, however, is not a simple quest, and companies must use their skills, time, and energy to build such a team.

Employees are the backbone of any company. They deal with the customers, complete multiple tasks and work continuously in a company. These completed objectives and functions must be recognized. So many ask What type of recognition do employees want?

Employee recognition has many forms, and team leaders must use the best-suited program to ensure that every team member feels recognized throughout their career. The praise should be a weekly or monthly task to ensure the team feels validated and appreciated, leading to higher productivity and motivation.

According to Zippia, only 60% of employees receive recognition and appreciation. Of that 60%, only 3% say they are recognized frequently enough.

What Does Giving Recognition Mean For Employees?

Recognition occurs when an employee or team completes tasks and objectives or reaches goals that the team manager or company provided. The employee will have to complete multiple tasks within a time frame.

Recognition given to employees can have multiple benefits. When employees feel appreciated, validated, and recognized, they tend to have higher production and motivation and strive in their everyday tasks and objectives provided by the manager or company leader.

Companies can reinstall their company values through recognition programs. By looking after and recognizing employees, the company will reinforce its core values of caring for them.

A business leader can use recognition to encourage employee engagement. Employee recognition can increase their engagement. Employees tend to share more innovative and creative ideas when they feel heard and recognized by the company.

Many will ask if incentives really work and if they genuinely impact the company culture. This is true; by using non-monetary recognition programs regularly, a company can build a strong team and a more robust company culture that will increase multiple aspects within the company.

Small businesses can access benefits of employee recognition by using the same format or type of incentives throughout their business, motivating and recognizing the team for their dedication and hard work.

Challenges Of Recognizing Employees In a Modern Work Environment

There are multiple methods of recognition of employees for their achievements and high performance. Non-monetary recognition leads to employees receiving extra off days, working from home, or leaving the office earlier on some days.

The challenges for this specific program will leave the company without its best employee. Allowing them to have an extra day off, or work shorter hours, as stated by the program, will leave the office with one employee short. This can lead to burnout of employees covering for the absent one, work needing to be completed, or late submissions of tasks connected to a deadline.

Employees will work hard to feel recognized and appreciated by their manager or company CEO. This can lead to employees manipulating and cheating their way to the top. Competition is healthy; however, once employees start to use external methods to reach the top, the company might lose the power and benefits of its recognition program.

One of the biggest problems that occurs with employee recognition programs is the limitations that are created. Employees will work hard on the one project that will give them recognition while avoiding all other tasks and goals. The employee will only complete one task expecting praise while neglecting all other less critical duties.

What Do Employees Want?

Employees want recognition. More importantly, they want it on a consistent base. When a company creates a program that incentivizes and recognizes hard work, it must ensure that it can be repeated at least once a month throughout the year.

Companies should use reputable incentives to assign it to an employee without skipping a month or a week. Some incentives can cost the company money. These monetary bonuses can occur once a quarter or twice a year to ensure they can be repeated, while non-monetary recognition occurs once a month or as the goals are being completed.

Employees want consistency not only with when the recognition programs are handed out but with the same intent and measuring stick. If an employee receives a shoutout in front of all peers, a similar task completed by another employee should receive the same type of recognition.

All employees must be informed of these programs if companies have recognition programs. A low 58% of employees that work in a company with a tangible reward system know of the program. Sales teams will use incentives to ensure that the members are motivated. Employees want to know that they will receive recognition and appreciation as they complete their goals and objectives.

Most employees want to feel appreciated and validated. The recognition program will ensure that employees and company teams receive recognition and appreciation throughout the year for their hard work and dedication to the company.

Surveying all employees to discover what they want will be the best feedback the company needs. Rewards and recognition should be determined by what the employees want and need, not solely what the employer can afford or provide.

When To Give Recognition?

Timing is everything when it comes to recognition programs. Employees will become lazy and only complete some tasks if a company provides recognition early. If a company offers credit too late, employees will feel undervalued, and the program will not have the necessary effect that the company desires.

Department heads can start by rewarding employees based on performance. When an employee completes a difficult assignment or project, the manager can recognize and reward the employee. This will allow the employee to feel validated by their hard work. Performance-based recognition is one of the popular rewards in the business world.

Other great times to reward an employee or team are when they are promoted or advanced within the company, when an employee completes a class, achieves a new level of professional development suggested or required by the company, or on employee anniversaries or birthdays.

Employers can provide staff members with recognition when they improve areas highlighted as troublesome by their manager or employer.

Check Out Why Employee Recognition is Essential for Performance Management:

Recognition Types

There are various methods, formats, and types of recognition programs. Each recognition reward will benefit different employees and allow the business to access various benefits through the recognition type.

One type of recognition will only suit some employees or employers. Thus, finding the balance between what works for each employee and the employer will be critical. The best practice is to have multiple types of recognition available and allow the employee to pick or determine the reward that fits them.

Public Recognition

Public recognition refers to employers rewarding their staff before the entire company, team, or peers. The employee will receive a few words of recognition due to their performance. This will allow the whole group or company to identify the hard work and performance that the individual did to achieve this recognition.

Shout Outs

Shoutouts are when the employer or team manager shares their gratitude to a specific person in front of the team. The manager or employer will share the employee’s name and recognize and share their hard work and performance with the rest of the team. They are validating and appreciating it.


Peer-to-peer recognition is when an employer or manager acknowledges a set of skills, performance, or goals an employee achieves and praises them by sharing it with others. The employer will honor and recognize the hardworking employee to their peers to ensure the other employees can appreciate the hard work. This will motivate them to work hard and increase their performance to ensure they receive the same recognition as their peers.

Use Social Media

Social media is a robust platform that allows companies to share their team achievements with the world. A post or story on these platforms to recognize and appreciate hardworking employees will lead to a motivated and valued team.

Social media posts will be acknowledged by peers and team members and by the entire following of the company page. This will allow external individuals and companies to recognize the employee’s hard work and dedication. More people will remember the employee and feel validated and appreciated throughout the program.


Individual recognition will differ from a team incentive program. There will be more individuals to consider, and employers must find a reward system to benefit the entire project team. The aim should be to ensure the whole team receives the reward, making them feel acknowledged, validated, and appreciated.

Incentive Trips For The Team

Incentive trips are rewards programs allowing the team to travel without paying for expenses. These trips usually will be to a location where the team can relax and recoup or complete multiple team-building exercises to strengthen and reenergize the team. Incentive trips are a powerful tool companies can use to reward hard work. These trips depend financially on the company, and the employer must ensure they budget for them.

Appreciation To The Best Team

A strong team will need external motivation, which can be achieved through recognition. Showing appreciation in front of the entire company will ensure that the company understands and rewards each individual’s hard work to provide a successful project. By acknowledging the team in front of others, the entire group will experience gratitude and appreciation for their work.


Structures recognition comes in the form of a specific location within the company. A fixed location will be used to recognize and appreciate employees. This location can be an entire wall, a corner in the business, or a company room with pictures, prizes, and appreciation text to a team or employee. Employee of the Month, or performance recognition, can be placed on the structure where everyone can identify the hardworking staff members of the month.

Wall of Recognition

A wall of recognition is a structure where employers can set pictures of the employee or team that are rewarded for their strong performance. The wall will allow individuals that pass by to identify hardworking individuals and teams within the company.

Outstanding Employee Event

Creating a structure that consistently praises employees for their hard work is critical. A personal event can be hosted monthly or quarterly to ensure that every team member and employee knows who the hardworking individuals are. This will show recognition to the standout employees and motivate other employees to achieve their goals to ensure that they can be recognized at any future event.


Sometimes acknowledging hard work in private will do the job. Employers do not have to overcomplicate or create a big event to show recognition. Some employees prefer a firm shake of the hand and the words well done to feel appreciated and recognized. Private recognition only works for some, but most employees will appreciate this gesture above not being recognized.

Instant Performance Feedback

Instant performance feedback will allow the employer or manager to provide instant feedback on a project or task the employee completed. Going through the entire project and stating clear positives will enable employees to feel they have achieved something. Many use this feedback opportunity to communicate negative aspects, but employers should provide the good and the bad throughout the project.

The sharing of positive feedback will boost the confidence of the employee. This form of recognition will lead to employees going the extra mile or reaching the ultimate goal to ensure that they receive the recognition reward. 

A Simple Thank You!

Sometimes a simple thank you will do just fine. Managers can say well done to the employee when they complete various tasks or achieve set goals. The simple thank you will allow the employee to feel validated, increasing productivity and motivation. Be careful not only to use this method.


After a long and hard-fought project, employers can give employees a few hours or days off to rest. The employees will feel appreciated and valued and return with more energy, motivation, and inspiration to tackle the next big task.


Instead of celebrating the completion of a project or a goal, employers can focus on milestones. Milestone moments recognition will increase employee appreciation and motivation for the rest of the project. This will allow employees to feel supported throughout the entire project. When they feel stuck, they can ask for support and will engage throughout the project due to the milestone recognition.

Why Should You Personalize Employee Rewards and Recognition?

Every employee is different. Some employees enjoy the recognition and rewards in public spaces where every staff member can put them on a pedestal, while others enjoy the enclosed thank you with the feedback to ensure that they can improve.

Employers must know each team member’s style and method of appreciation. Employees will not experience the desired recognition and reward when the wrong type of recognition is used. Thus, providing employees with multiple recognition options will reward them best.


What Do Employees Want To Be Recognized For

Performance, anniversaries, and birthdays are some of the reasons that employees want to be recognized. Other reasons can be due to the achievement of a goal, the completion of a project, or promotions.

How to Recognize Success at Work

Employers can use a variety of methods to show appreciation. There are structured ways, such as events and walls, that lead to recognition. Public recognition can be through shoutouts, peer-to-peer appraisal, or sharing the individual employee on social media platforms. Some employees prefer private recognition where only the team managers and the employee know of the success and the hard work.

Final Considerations

Employee recognition can influence company culture. Monetary rewards can significantly benefit, but a few simple words in public to show appreciation to an employee might last longer and have a bigger impact.

There are many types of employee recognition, and every method has its place within the company. Instead of spending too much time and money, companies can ask employees to provide straightforward recognition programs to suit them. In this way, the employer and manager can thank the employees for their hard work, and employees will experience validation and appreciation regularly.

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.