Employee recognition: what is it & how does it work?

Samantha Mikos

“Employee recognition” is a phrase often used but sometimes not fully understood. What exactly is it, and how can a business implement related programs? Highly beneficial and adaptable, employee reward and appreciation initiatives are trademarks of positive company culture.

Here at Cristaux, we believe that staff members are the engine of any business, driving organizational growth and success. Staff recognition helps nurture that engine and improve day-to-day interactions. With useful ideas and tips, any organization can reap the benefits of recognition at work.

Valued Service Award Employee Recognition

What is employee recognition?

Employee recognition is the positive acknowledgment of a person’s actions or performance at work. Forms of appreciation may be public, private, casual, or formal. Recognized achievements often relate to organizational success or goals.

Why is employee recognition that important?

Employee recognition is important because it helps staff members feel valued as businesses change and grow. During times of change, companies can find security in recognition programs. By showing gratitude for team members, organizations invest in their own people and focus on growing from the inside out.

Related yet different, employee empowerment helps improve company culture and inspire greater positivity at work. It helps staff build confidence and trust in their colleagues. Appreciation programs develop healthy and happy teams.

Group of People at Innovation Awards Event

What are the benefits of employee recognition?

Employee recognition programs are highly advantageous. When investing in one’s own team, organizations will see their hard work pay off and will reap countless benefits. From improving engagement and decreasing staff turnover, recognition brings many perks to growing businesses.

Improved Company Culture

When individual feelings improve, the whole team and company feel better. Employee recognition that works encourage greater feelings of belonging and happiness at work. By routinely incorporating employee appreciation in an organization’s traditions, recognition becomes a vital part of company culture.

Increased Employee Retention

By making staff feel valued, organizations create a great place to work. Inspired to stay with a supportive team, employees are less likely to leave. In the long run, organizations can save time and money by not having to hire and train as many people. Also, management can focus on developing their internal team to be the best.

Happy Employees High Five in Work Setting

Greater Customer Satisfaction

Greater employee satisfaction leads to greater customer satisfaction. If staff members are happy and confident at work, then they will be more passionate about their jobs and strive to do better. This positivity is truly uplifting for the whole organization, from internal teams to external clients.

Better Productivity

When receiving job recognition, employees become more engaged and productive at work. People work hard for those who show appreciation for them. With mutual respect and gratitude, companies can exceed goals and achieve more.

How do you show employee recognition? Ideas & tips

To create an employee recognition program, businesses should identify a goal for the initiative. For instance, management may want to decrease employee absenteeism. With a target in mind, leaders can more easily figure out which tactics would work best. Whether developing wellness programs or building compliments into meetings, there are limitless ideas for employee recognition.

Recognition awards

To commemorate employee accomplishments, consider creating recognition awards. These mementos help team members feel important to their organization. Also, staff can admire these pieces and recall the great feats they’ve achieved to reinvigorate them for years to come.

Employee of the Month Award

Employee recognition letter

Thank-you notes are a trademark of recognition programs. Letters are cost-effective and can be easily personalized for different people. When writing employee recognition letters, it’s important to include attributes and achievements special to the recipient. This individualization helps people feel more appreciated.

Compliments and thanks

Whether public or private, remarks about employee achievements help build staff confidence. From in-person interactions to virtual meetings, shout-outs and acknowledgments help develop daily recognition. If practiced consistently, giving recognition to employees can become a part of company culture and inspire gratitude and strong communication between colleagues.

Years of service awards

A service award program honors employee work anniversaries. Typical employee milestones to celebrate include one, five, ten, and twenty years of service. This tactic helps improve employee retention by motivating staff members to stay with their organization and to earn these rewards.

50 Years Of Service Award

Employee surveys

Employees who feel heard also feel truly valued. By conducting employee surveys, management can understand what their team wants and needs. Also, they can learn about staff passions, interests, and hobbies.

President’s Club

To celebrate top-tier salespeople, management can organize a President’s Club. This group may be given special rewards and an all-inclusive vacation. When designing President’s Club awards, it’s important to feature the recipient and the company’s brand. Each piece can help extend brand awareness, while inspiring others to work harder and to become a part of this club.

Peer-to-peer recognition

Bosses are not the only people who can give awards. Employees can recognize one another. Also, gratitude may seem more sincere coming from those who work together every day. An example of peer-to-peer recognition is an employee’s choice award. Colleagues choose who they think most deserves to be recognized at work.


Sometimes employees don’t need to accomplish something in order to be celebrated. For unprompted gestures of kindness, consider giving employee appreciation gifts. These mementos keep up company morale and include everyone. Examples include gift cards, company swag, and personalized items.

Employee Corporate Gift Achievers Box Insert

Town hall meetings

Another way for staff members to feel heard is to host town hall meetings. During these events, leaders can share company updates, shout out hard-working teammates, and hear out any concerns. Also, interactions like this help build communication between colleagues.


With a desirable reward in sight, employees are more motivated to accomplish goals and contribute to business success. Employee incentive programs inspire staff to keep growing. Also, personal rewards work well to motivate employees to achieve individual goals and growth.

Milestone awards

When employees achieve once-in-a-lifetime feats, they should be applauded with sincere recognition. Giving milestone awards helps mark the greatest moments of a person’s career. Examples of accomplishments to honor include retirement, major business deals, and business anniversaries.

Lapel Pin Gift Award

Digital shout-outs

Businesses can use company newsletters, social media, messaging apps, and more to recognize employees on digital platforms. This tactic works well for remote teams who often connect virtually. With advanced technology, any team member can share compliments with others and contribute to company culture.

Added company benefits

Company benefits offer great value to employees. To recognize great achievements, management can reward staff with new or expanded perks. Additionally, the best company benefits support staff wants and needs. For instance, team members can receive added paid time off or flexible scheduling.

Professional development

Professional development opportunities are highly sought out by diverse employees. Different examples of opportunities include lunch with business leaders, special training, and educational courses. Also, staff members can swap jobs with someone else for a day and pitch ideas to company leaders.

Wellness programs

By prioritizing corporate wellness, organizations can help employees become healthier and happier. Wellness programs consist of different tools to improve staff well-being. Examples include wellness stipends, nutritional courses, and mental health counseling.

Bowl with fresh Fruit on Work Desk

Community service

Being able to volunteer can help encourage more positivity at work. Community service can look different for unique teams. For instance, management can organize a quarterly fundraising project or community service day for employees.

Team building activities

Teamwork and collaboration are essential for productive businesses. Fortunately, team building and team awards can help build trust and connection between colleagues. Also, staff can be more comfortable expressing thanks to one another and building professional relationships.


To develop strong connections at work, a mentorship program can bring together different team members. With stronger workplace relations, employees feel more supported by their teammates. Also, this kind of initiative can encourage learning and peer-to-peer recognition.

Annual award event

Some organizations put together yearly award events to celebrate employees. Additionally, these events can be held virtually. Organizing a virtual awards ceremony can be realized with today’s technology and can bring together distant teams.

People on Stage at Team Award

Assistance programs

There are countless ways to make employees’ lives easier. Aid programs help relieve stress and increase engagement. Examples of programs like free parking, financial assistance, childcare services, technological support, and more.

How to recognize your employees: conclusion

Employee recognition in the workplace is best when tailored to an organization’s diverse team members. Consider getting to know your staff to learn how to best support and motivate them. With flexibility and curiosity, businesses can grow their employees and expand their success.

Contact Cristaux to begin developing an employee recognition program.

FAQs: employee recognition

You may have some questions that need answers, so we’ve provided information on frequent questions from people like you. If you can’t find what you’re looking for below, visit our FAQ page or contact our team.

What are some types of rewards and recognition for employees?

Employee rewards and recognition include service awards, professional development opportunities, incentives, gifts, and thank-you notes. The best types of appreciation are personalized for the recipient. For instance, management can applaud employee achievements in a company newsletter and include personal details to make it more thoughtful.

When is employee recognition day 2022?

Employee recognition day 2022 was on Friday, March 4, 2022. Each year, this holiday takes place on the first Friday of March. Check out this blog post for Employee Appreciation Day ideas. Whether organizing an extravagant gala or writing special thank-you notes, every organization can celebrate their team in meaningful ways.

What are the companies with the best employee recognition programs?

The companies with the best employee recognition programs include the Gorilla Glue Company, HP Inc., and Airbnb. These organizations find diverse ways to motivative team members and to maintain employee engagement. Also, they all have goals leading their recognition efforts, to make them more strategic and effective.