Types of Employee Recognition

Employee recognition is noticing and thanking people who do great work. This process can boost employees’ confidence and make them feel good about themselves and their jobs in the company.

Workers who receive meaningful, personalized, and genuine recognition at work are five times more likely to feel connected, four times more likely to be engaged, and 56% less likely to seek new employment.

According to Gallup, 67% of leaders and 61% of managers recognized their team members at least a few times a week. Even so, 40% of employees say they only get praise a few times a year or less, which isn’t enough.

Learning more about the different ways to thank employees by looking at some examples can help your company get the most out of the process.

Types of Employee Recognition

Public recognition

Companies with successful employee recognition programs like to talk about many cultural and business benefits.

For years, business leaders considered employee award programs as “nice-to-haves.” They were an extra perk that made it more fun to work for a company but not a key part of what made a company run.

Despite this, recent studies have shown that public recognition of employees can significantly impact the entire organization.

Private recognition

Private recognition is when someone is praised one-on-one for their work or success. This could be a boss giving an employee a bonus for doing a good job, giving true recognition during a coaching session, or even sending an employee an email telling them they’re valued.

Peer-to-peer recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition is when workers on the same level or in the same department cheer each other. A coworker’s job, help, or general attitude can be praised by a peer in public or in private.

Knowing that your peers notice what you do and how you act encourages you to keep and improve how you work with others. Peer-to-peer recognition helps employees who want to get along with their coworkers and keep them that way.

Formal employee recognition

Formal recognition is often very important to workers because they see them as events that help build their careers. Most of the time, these are public events where the employee gets a memento of the event and a note about their accomplishment to put in their personnel file.

Informal employee recognition

Informal thanks can come in many forms, like sending a congrats email, giving a friend a free lunch on the spot, or sending a fruit basket to their desk. It’s not so much about winning; it is about getting along with other rivals in a way you can respect and enjoy.


Structured recognition has the most chances to engage with employees because it is planned and official. Mostly bosses or leaders are in charge of this kind of recognition, which include the following:

  • “Employee of the Month” awards
  • Increased salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Honors for years of work

Employees like structured recognition because it is often done on a big scale. It has the highest possibility to boost motivation by letting people know when they are doing well.


Employees always reach new milestones like their first day at work, their work anniversaries. You can also celebrate their birthday. 

Even though these milestones might not be directly linked to the work they do every day, you should always take advantage of every chance to show employees how much you care.

Day-to-day recognition

To keep a good flow of work, you need to motivate and support your employees daily and recognize their hard work. 

For instance, high-fives and thank yous are good ways to reach a goal. The employee’s mind stays full of energy and enthusiasm as long as they are recognized daily.

Leader-to-team member recognition

Employees are more likely to be inspired and motivated when their leaders are recognized. When team members are shown that a good leader is appreciated, it encourages them to do their best and also makes them feel appreciated. 

Recognition not only boosts productivity and happiness but also shows that the people in charge are willing to listen and help. When a leader’s good work is recognized, it helps to build a culture of openness, collaboration, and trust in a company.

Effective Employee Recognition Strategies

Strategies that recognize employees make them feel better. If you appreciate good work, employees are likely to keep it up.

If you use positive feedback, everyone in your company will know what kind of work you expect from them.

To keep things simple, you can do it during a team meeting or workday.

Here are a few effective employee recognition strategies to follow:

Verbal praise and feedback

When someone does a great job, sending a thank you note or letter by email or Slack is easy. It’s a nice gesture and gives the employee a physical reminder.

Verbal praise is the traditional and most casual way to show thanks at work. 

It doesn’t have to come only from bosses and people in higher positions. A quick shout-out or word of thanks from a coworker is a great way to make an employee feel appreciated.

This has a lot to do with the character and values of the company. As a boss, you must help your staff get along like this.

Rewards and incentives

Reward and incentive schemes are good for workers and their bosses. When workers are encouraged to do a great job and be productive, their morale, job satisfaction, and involvement in organizational functions increase. 

Because of this, employee’s productivity goes up, and company’s efficiency and sales go up. Employers and workers benefit from a good and productive work environment when there are rewards and incentives at work.

Performance-based recognition

Everyone likes to be praised for doing a great job or going the extra mile. Managers know a person’s performance the best, so one of their most important jobs is ensuring that actions are recognized personally, timely, and in a real way.

Of course, everyone in the workplace can recognize and thank colleagues and coworkers who

  • reach performance goals or other results related to the job,
  • take part in or lead a team project in addition to their normal work,
  • do something extra that isn’t part of your daily job,
  • help the company reach its goals in some way.

Employee recognition programs

An employee recognition program is a way for a company to celebrate the work and accomplishments of its workers. Recognition is often offered on a platform that is shared with other workers. 

Each recognition comes with points that can be exchanged for rewards. An employee award program aims to improve happiness, boost performance, and keep good workers around.

Structured recognition programs

An employee recognition program is a way for a company to celebrate the work and accomplishments of its workers. Recognition is often offered on a platform that is shared with other workers. 

Each recognition comes with points that can be exchanged for rewards. An employee award program aims to improve happiness, boost performance, and keep good workers around.

Peer-to-peer recognition programs

Managers can improve at being leaders by giving clear, positive comments because recognition doesn’t have to come from the top all the time. Recognition for good work should come from both coworkers and bosses to encourage everyone to keep doing their best.

Recognition programs that let any employee openly thank a team or a person for their work can make everyone feel like their work is valued. Ensure your program is open to everyone and helps people recognize each other.

Fun Facts Industry Wise

According to Gallup, every industry looks at meaningful recognition programs differently. Here are some of the industries.

Healthcare and Social Services

The Gallup and Workhuman study found that only 18% of healthcare workers say their company recognizes teams and groups of people. This is below average for U.S. workers (22%). 

Still, more importantly, it is much lower in other fields where people often work in teams, like financial services (34%) and professional, technical, and scientific services (28%).

Manufacturing Industry

In many ways, manufacturing is less well-known than other businesses. Only one in ten people working in manufacturing say recognition is an important part of their company’s culture. 

This is less in education and healthcare, where 17% of people say the same thing. Also, only 11% of manufacturing workers say their company has a way to thank people for personal events or achievements that have nothing to do with work.

Technology Industry

Employees in tech jobs like computer and software engineers, computer programmers, UX designers, and writers know they are in high demand. Only one in four people who work in technology feel loyal to the company they work for. 

This is a much lower rate for people who work in other jobs. This lack of loyalty makes tech workers more likely to leave their jobs and feel less connected to their coworkers and the company.

Finance and Insurance

The finance and insurance industries have a higher percentage of employees who say their company has a recognition program (56%). The government (45%) and healthcare services (44%) are the next two industries with the most employees who say this.

Retail Industry

In the retail industry, 43% of retail workers are considered “thriving,” which is lower than the 58% of government workers and 66% of employees in the professional, technical, and scientific services fields.


Employee recognition is a big part of the environment and spirit of the workplace. By showing thanks for their work with unstructured, meaningful rewards, you can keep your workers and create a good work setting where they feel appreciated and respected.

Employee recognition is a very important area for any business to work on. It doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to ensure your work environment is healthy and helps you be as productive as possible.

Look over the methods we’ve discussed here to determine how to improve employee recognition in your company. With the right processes in place, you can make sure that everyone on your team feels valued and respected all the time.

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