Creative Employee Recognition Ideas

Employee Engagement
October 2, 2019
Chloe Bennet

Workplace culture has gone through a massive shift in the past decades. This shift has had repercussions that extend to multiple arenas - for instance, the way now pay scaling is used to redress issues related to equality in the workplace. This shift has resulted even in employees preferring companies with great organisational cultures to the ones that pay more. It also has given rise to an increased focus on employee recognition. In this article, you will discover creative employee recognition ideas that help appreciate employee efforts and motivate them.

According to a 2018 survey conducted by the tech company Businessolver, 60% of American employees would take a pay cut to be employed in an empathetic company.

Though overtly, this inference looks like it can save costs - it is not quite so. For organisations to become a great employer brand,  they are required to make strong organisational investments in culture building. It requires ardent commitment from companies so as to uncover ways of increasing the enjoyment and fulfilment around the office.

“Create the kind of workplace and company culture that will attract great talent. If you hire brilliant people, they will make work feel more like play.”
Richard Branson

One way that companies can begin to do this is by intently recognizing employee performance. And no, before you ask, this doesn’t mean simply putting a name to a face. It means really investing in rewarding and noticing the hard work and accomplishments of employees. There are innumerous ways recognition can be done and choosing the right recognition methods can seem a bit open-ended and a bit daunting. Fear not! We will take a look at the ways that you can reward and recognize the contributions of your employees effectively.

1. Employee Of The Month

Ok, we’re starting old school. The employee of the month is an extremely played out system that has been around for a long, long time. However, though it is an old idea, it still has the potential to bring interesting and exciting results for your company.

“The employee of the month metric is still a viable plan to recognize employees, it just requires some tweaking. The reward needs to be greater than the title alone- it should be aspirational. Having an elusive reward redemption option can be one way to make it further engaging.”
Taruna Suhasini, VP-HR at Xoxoday.

It can seem archaic but, with some modernization, you should be able to make it an enticing way to recognize the dedication of your employees. Try some fun rewards out and get a sense for what works and what motivates your employees to put their best work out. Xoxoday Plum offers Long service awards that offer custom created, keep-sake kits for long service employees.

2. Develop An Achievement Notification System

One of the hardest things about trying to acknowledge the efforts and successes of your employees is that it can be very hard for them to get themselves noticed. This is usually because the sort of achievements that you will be rewarding aren’t necessarily quantifiable.

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”
-Margaret Cousins

It’s one thing to celebrate an employee closing a deal but quite another rewarding an employee for being the emotional backbone of the office, always on hand to help out other employees. In both circumstances there is something worth celebrating - but in the latter circumstance it is a bit obscure and hard to get properly noticed.

Leaderboard in Xoxoday Empuls
A leaderboard in Xoxoday Empuls

One way this works is to make the system employee reliant. This means to get employees to submit personal notes of anything that anyone does in the office that they feel deserves recognition. These unusual and exceptional performances are also indicative of the level of employee motivation and engagement amongst the employees.

3. Develop Personalized Recognition

Getting an automated email showing that your progress report has been ‘above average’ and getting a cold ‘well done’ is almost worse than not receiving any recognition at all.

Employees like the idea of being really noticed for their contributions in a genuine and meaningful sense. Noticing employees gives them a sense of accomplishment and of a job well done. However, it also gives them a sense of career prospects and possibilities for a future at your company.

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”
Dalai Lama

The more seriously you take the recognition, the more this develops the trust that the employee has in the organisation. The problem though is how you achieve this most effectively.

Personalised recognition in Xoxoday Empuls
Personalised recognition in Xoxoday Empuls

One really useful suggestion is writing handwritten notes. It actually doesn’t take all that long to do and makes for a really nice way of showing that you are really dedicated to acknowledging when an acknowledgement is due.

Such personal touches can go a long way to making the recognition process something really special for all of your employees, and something that they look forward to receiving.

4. Smarter Rewards

One really interesting way to go about rewarding employees effectively is by optimizing the nature of the rewards themselves. This is a complex issue but one which, with the proper time and dedication applied to it, can make your employees feel that they are treasured.

Rewards ideally should be creative and quite unlike a monetary bonus. Giving rewards that are specifically useful for the employee can give an edge to this process.

Has the employee just had a child? Get something that will help with the baby. Does the employee want to move into a different area of work? Get them a course enrollment to help them learn what they need to.

Contextual rewards in Xoxoday Empuls
Smart, contextual rewards in Xoxoday Empuls

There are limitless ways you can achieve this and necessarily requires getting to know your employees properly.


Employee satisfaction is, as we discussed, of such vital importance these days that getting things like employee recognition right can make a huge difference to your success as a company. With some careful planning, you should be able to find really inventive and smart ways to achieve this effectively and make a big impact on how your employees feel about their company.

Originally published on
October 2, 2019
Updated on
December 28, 2020
Book a demo

Featured Articles

Copyright @ Xoxoday 2020
All rights reserved.