While working remotely, it’s hard to incorporate employee recognition ideas that will motivate your team. You can’t go up to people’s desks and congratulate them on their good work! Employee recognition becomes trickier.

So, what can we do to implement a good habit to recognize our employees’ achievements and reward them? Well, we may just have to think harder! In the meantime, here are 26 employee recognition ideas to help you get started!

What is Employee Recognition?

Employee recognition is the open appreciation and recognition for employees’ contributions to a company.

Recognition can have various forms: congratulations, a recognition message, a gift, or a simple thank you card! However it looks, employee recognition is essential to your company. It builds your employee engagement and makes your team feel appreciated.

Why is Employee Recognition important?

According to a study by Office Team, 66% of employees confirmed they would quit if they didn’t feel appreciated. So it clearly plays a big role in the satisfaction of employees, as well as company turnover.

Now, going into more detail, what will incorporating a culture of employee recognition bring to your company?

  • Higher job satisfaction: Feeling accomplished and valued helps your employees acquire a sense of belonging, as well as reduce job dissatisfaction
  • Reduce turnover: Higher job satisfaction means your employees are less likely to find a job somewhere else, and therefore stay with you longer.
  • More productivity: According to a study, 90% of employees say they are more likely to produce better results when they feel their work is appreciated.
  • Better employee engagement: Employees who feel valued in their workplace are more likely to feel engaged.
two employees working together

26 Employee Recognition Ideas

If you need a way to motivate your remote employees, following these ideas may just do the trick! Although these are tailored for remote teams, you can still use them in the office! Read on, and you may just find what works for you.

1. Create a habit with weekly employee recognition

Start your employee recognition strategy by creating a habit in your employees. Sending weekly recognition messages allows employees to become accustomed to this practice, and also makes their week!

Nailted lets you send weekly claps to your colleagues every Friday. These claps are received the following Monday, so everyone can start the week on the right foot! With a claps history feature, you can keep track of who’s receiving claps so you’re always aware of who’s missing a sweet message. 

Send claps to your colleagues with our public feature and make their day today!

Screenshot of Nailted's clap feature showing a report of how many claps were sent and received.

2. Show employee recognition in company-wide channels

Does your company have a company chat, or an internal social channel or newsletter? If so, you could use those to share employee recognition messages. 

For example, did your team just go through a very busy period? Did they resolve a big issue? Share those messages with the rest of the company! It’s likely their achievement affects the rest of the teams, so they will appreciate the public recognition. Who knows, maybe some other teams chime in the comments to thank them as well!

3. Celebrate team-building employee appreciation meetings

If you want to share employee recognition between teams, why not celebrate a team-building meeting with this exact purpose?

What if, after a busy period, you celebrated a meeting where everyone talks about actions and people they were thankful for during that time? For example, if you work in a Customer Service team, organize a meeting like this after the Christmas period. Employees could talk about who helped them find a solution for a difficult customer, or who delivered amazing service despite being busy.

4. Host virtual employee recognition award shows between teams

Now, speaking of team-building meetings… Why not go all out and throw a whole employee recognition award show? The good thing about this idea, you don’t need an excuse!

Create different categories beforehand and decide the winners. We recommend you make sure everyone gets at least one award, so don’t go straight to who does the most or the best. Maybe some prizes can reward a good attitude or great time-management!

Doesn’t this sound like a creative way to promote employee recognition? You can even make it fun and have everyone dress up!

Employee smiles at her computer while working from home.

5. Communicate praise from customers

If a customer is unhappy, they are most likely to leave a bad review… but sometimes they leave nice notes too!

Whether it was left on a Review board, or sent to your Customer service team, remember to share nice words with your teams. Even if they don’t speak to customers directly, send them nice reviews about the product, website, or any other part of the business they work on. Believe us, it will make their day!

6. Send appreciation packages and cards

Highlight the best occasions by sending employee recognition packages and cards! Receiving a care package with merch from your swag store, chocolates or flowers in the mail will surely make your team’s day. Whether they caught a big client, or just did their job really well, they deserve a little treat!

Care packages are also a good way to recognize employees who may be off on maternity or sick leave and let them know you’re thinking of them!

7. Deliver a surprise meal right to their home

Speaking of surprise packages… What better surprise than a meal?

Working remotely, it’s hard to throw employee recognition or celebration lunches or dinners. So why not deliver a celebration lunch right to their doorstep?

If you don’t know what your employees like, don’t worry! You can always send them a gift card for a nice restaurant or delivery service so they can order it themselves.

Delivery person delivering food at someone's door.

8. Offer office packages to complete their remote work office

Your employees work hard at home, so why not make their home office more comfortable for them? Surprise them with a new ergonomic chair or a nice desk! 

And if you can’t afford big equipment, you can always gift them a new set of headphones or a keyboard along with a thank you note. Remember: employee recognition doesn’t have to be expensive! A little detail goes a long way.

9. Gift a virtual Master Class

If you’re going to send your team a gift, another good option is a virtual master class! 

You could sign them up for a class on a topic you know they are passionate about. Maybe even think of something fun that could help them get a promotion in the future. 

10. Celebrate employee anniversary and milestones celebrations

Their job is a big part of your team’s life, so work anniversaries and milestones are definitely worth celebrating! 

Show your employees you appreciate their time with you by giving them a shoutout on their work anniversary. You can even use one of our previous ideas and send them a little something to their home, isn’t that fun?

A reminder: their start date isn’t the only anniversary to remember! Why not celebrate the day they got their first client? Or maybe the day they started their first campaign? Remembering the little things truly shows you care, and it boosts your employee recognition!

11. Create an online community calendar

So, about remembering special dates… Why not create an online community calendar? Your team members can each add dates that are important to them: anniversaries, milestones, birthdays, holidays, maternity leaves, or even surgery dates. 

With this calendar, everyone will be aware of all important dates and can congratulate or offer support on the day. 

Although this action may not recognize your team’s achievements, it does recognize that work isn’t everything and you appreciate them outside working hours!

12. Create channels to celebrate personal achievements

If you want to appreciate your people’s lives away from work, what better way than with a special channel to celebrate their personal achievements! 

If you have a company chat or social media channel, create a space for your teams to share achievements they are proud about. These can go from adopting a dog, buying a house, to signing up for a gym membership or getting their driving license.

Employee recognition should go beyond the workplace. Having their colleagues cheering them on will surely put a smile on your employees’ faces!

2 employees chatting on video call while working from home.

13. Promote social causes among employees

Have you ever talked to your employees about charity work or social causes they are interested in? If you have, you could start an initiative where each month you set up a donation for a cause. Maybe each of your employees could decide which charity to donate to each month!

Now, this again may not recognize their work per se. But it does let them know their team cares about the causes they are passionate about, and aligns their personal interests with the company.

Don’t forget you can always promote these causes on your internal chat or social media, so the entire company can chime in!

14. Give extra time off as appreciation

Ask anyone, there is no better employee recognition strategy than giving extra time off

Have you noticed your employees working overtime lately? Or maybe they’ve just worked extra hard this past season. Recognize their hard work by giving them some time off! 

You can do this at your own discretion. Some companies may be able to give a week off, and some others may just give them the afternoon off. Anyhow, you’re recognizing their abilities and the amazing results they surely brought!

15. Offer wellness perks

Have you checked the perks you’re offering your employees lately? Make sure to double check if they recognize their hard work and adapt to their needs! 

Since your team is working from home, you could send them a subscription for a music streaming service, like Spotify. They’ll probably use that a lot! 

On the more practical side, working from home can get lonely. Maybe you can support their mental health by gifting them membership for a therapy service.

16. Give out rewards and discounts

Speaking of perks, how do rewards and discounts sound? You can collaborate with local stores or chains and get discount codes or rewards for your team.

Since we talked about gifting home office supplies, you can send them a discount code for an office store so they can get anything they need!

2 friends say hello in the street by bumping their elbows.

17. Celebrate virtual holidays

The holidays while working from home are definitely different. If you’re in the office you can decorate, get all dressed up, give each other presents… but who says you can’t celebrate on video call?

Recognize your employees’ cultures and holidays by celebrating with them! Get all dressed up, find a drink, and hop on a call with your team. You can do a happy hour, online games, holiday quizzes… possibilities are endless!

18. Throw online parties

Speaking of parties… Why wait for the holidays? Getting together to celebrate each other is a good way to promote employee recognition within your team

Has your team had a hard week? Why not celebrate everyone’s hard work on a Friday afternoon? Go all out! There are a lot of online experiences you can hire now, such as Virtual Reality equipment or online games for everyone. 

19. Use 1:1 meetings to encourage employee recognition

1:1 meetings are a great way for managers and reports to connect. Oftentimes, managers are the ones who know their employees’ work best! So why not use this as an opportunity for employee recognition? Let them know you appreciate all the great things they’ve accomplished since your last chat! 

Keep an eye on them and write down their achievements to talk about in your 1:1s. Even the smallest things matter! You never know what could’ve been hard for them. 

20. Use Performance Reviews to help them reach their best potential

Performance reviews can be scary for employees. But they can be a way to recognize your team’s potential and help them reach their goals!

Talk to your employees, ask them about their goals and set clear developmental milestones they can work towards! Nailted makes Performance Reviews easy for you: 

  • Launch your performance reviews to locate each employee in your professional development matrix.
  • Encourage 1:1 meetings between managers and their direct reports to assess results.
  • Foster recognition establishing goals that align with their career interests and follow up in successive 1:1s.

21. Conduct career development sessions

Speaking of helping your employees reach their goals… What better way to recognize their hard work than to conduct career development sessions? 

Gather your team all together and ask them about their goals and expectations. Not only can you get ideas to help them in your next meetings, but other employees can offer assistance with their peers’ goals. 

22. Encourage peer-to-peer learning

Since we’re talking about employees jumping in to help others reach their goals… Why not actually encourage them to? 

Your team does their job every day, they are experts at it! Let them know how much you trust their expertise by allowing them to train and develop their peers’ skills. 

Make it fun and help them create workshops or themed days! Sharing their knowledge will make them feel empowered and most importantly appreciated.

23. Encourage employee ideas

Support employee recognition by giving your team the autonomy to create their own initiatives at work. 

For example, do they want to help make the company more sustainable? Let them start a recycling campaign! Does your team want to create a group chat for LGBT employees? Create the group and promote it on your internal chat so people can join in!

Recognizing your employees’ ideas and understanding the value they bring is key to improve their employee experience!

Employee smiles at her laptop reading employee recognition ideas.

24. Upgrade your tools and resources to make work easier

When was the last time you upgraded your softwares and resources? Are your users using the fastest version? 

It’s likely your employees use these softwares everyday in their work. So you should recognize how valuable they are to you by offering them the best conditions to work. Believe us, your employees will appreciate not having to see a loading screen anymore!

25. Write a LinkedIn recommendation

We’re pretty sure most of your employees are on LinkedIn, and some of them are probably very active. Help them build their profile by writing a recommendation under their skills!

What better employee recognition idea than to recognize their skills on public social media?

26. Ask your employees!

Your employees know best what they need to feel recognized and cherished. So, why not ask them directly? 

Use employee engagement surveys where they can offer direct feedback and suggestions. By incorporating light feedback loops, you will always be aware of what they need and where they’re lacking attention.

With all these employee recognition ideas, we’re sure you already have an idea of how important recognizing your team truly is. And it’s not that hard, right? Even a simple compliment can make someone’s day! Incorporate the habit of recognition in your team, and you will see the result in a much happier workplace.