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An employee recognition program gives new life to employees, helping them feel motivated to perform better. Here’s an example of Accenture’s Total Rewards1. The company prioritizes employee satisfaction with rewards that recognize their skills and contributions.   

With the benefits of competitive base pay, bonuses, and performance-based rewards, employees feel valued; due to this type of quality recognition-driven culture, 80%2 of employees say that Accenture is a great workplace.    

Every organization needs to form this kind of employee recognition program which not only helps in employee retention but also helps scale positive performance. 

What is an employee recognition program?

An employee recognition program is a system where a company recognizes its employees’ achievements and positive actions. These programs are typically shared internally and can take various forms, such as managers recognizing team members, peers recognizing each other, or cross-team recognition. 

Types of employee recognition programs

1. Peer-to-peer recognition  

Peer-to-peer recognition is a dynamic approach that goes beyond traditional hierarchies, emphasizing mutual acknowledgement of contributions among colleagues.  

Rooted in creating a workplace culture of appreciation and innovation, this approach encourages employees to authentically recognize each other's efforts, boosting morale and promoting a collaborative atmosphere. 

 Tips to give the best peer-to-peer recognition 

  • Encourage genuine appreciation: Motivate your employees to share a genuine appreciation for their colleagues' efforts. Focus on specific achievements or contributions that have made a meaningful impact on their work or the organization.   
  • Integrate recognition into daily routine: Make peer-to-peer recognition a standard practice rather than a sporadic event, ensuring it becomes ingrained in the company's values. This constant flow of positive feedback strengthens team bonds and enhances employee engagement.  
According to Deloitte's "Global Human Capital Trends" report, peer-to-peer recognition boosts overall employee involvement by an average of 20%. 
  • Empower employees: Give employees autonomy in recognizing their peers. The transition from top-down recognition to encouraging a bottom-up approach to appreciation. This empowerment can lead to a more engaged and motivated workforce. 
  • Foster innovation: Peer-to-peer recognition programs are built on the premise that everyone, regardless of their position, has the potential to contribute ideas and innovations that propel the company forward.  
A study from Boston Consulting Group found that teams with a strong peer recognition culture generate 1.5 times more innovative ideas.

Enabling employees to recognise each other's contributions can unlock a treasure trove of innovative ideas and solutions that might otherwise remain hidden. 

  • Diversify recognition sources: Diversifying the parties responsible for giving recognition is a powerful way to ensure more people are recognized. Recognition from all levels provides more opportunities for contributions to be appreciated.  

When employees are empowered to recognize peers, praise occurs more frequently and carries more context and nuance. A 360-degree recognition program with a foundation of peer recognition provides a better understanding of what a whole team and organization consider valuable while removing the bottlenecks imposed by top-down recognition and breaking down team siloes. 

Examples of companies with a peer-to-peer recognition program  

1. Google 
At Google, employees get to directly thank their colleagues for outstanding work through a program called Peer Bonus. This system allows them to send personalized messages on a shared platform, along with a cash reward that reflects the impact of the contribution. While the financial amounts vary, the program fosters a culture of appreciation among Google employees. 

2. Disney  
Disney employs a digital recognition platform that enables employees to send thousands of appreciation notes to their colleagues. This peer recognition program aims to 'acknowledge each other's efforts, create magic, and inspire others.' Clearly, the company takes a unique 'Disney' approach to employee engagement. 

2. Team-based recognition programs  

Celebrating employee milestones is a powerful way to acknowledge their efforts, achievements, and dedication. These milestones mark significant moments in an individual's career journey and deserve recognition.  

Organizing celebratory events fosters a positive company culture, boosts employee morale, strengthens their sense of belonging, and ultimately enhances employee loyalty and retention. 

Team-based recognition activities include the following  

  • Celebratory meals - Organize lunches, dinners, or social events where the entire team can come together to congratulate the employee. This shared experience acknowledges the milestone and provides an opportunity for team bonding and camaraderie. 
  • Team-wide activities - Make the celebration something the whole team can enjoy with a team-wide activity. There are plenty of options to choose from, such as rock climbing, pottery making, or a trip to the movie theater. 

Celebrating employee milestones with thoughtful and engaging activities creates a culture of appreciation, recognition, and camaraderie within your organization.  

These celebrations acknowledge individual achievements and foster a sense of unity and shared success, ultimately contributing to a motivated and engaged workforce. 

An example of a company with team-based recognition  

1. Gorilla Glue Company  

Gorilla Glue stands out for its exceptional employee recognition culture, led by the "People Committee," prioritizing ensuring employees feel appreciated. They empower their workforce to innovate and cultivate creativity, acknowledging the importance of loyalty within their team. 

2. Social media recognition  

Social media has emerged as a powerful platform for organizations to recognize and celebrate their employees' achievements. By leveraging social media channels, you can boost employee morale, engagement, and loyalty while simultaneously showcasing your company culture, values, and accomplishments to potential customers and candidates. 

 Tips for effective social media recognition  

  • Choosing the right platform 

Different social media platforms cater to different audiences, features, and purposes. You must choose the one that aligns with your recognition goals, industry, and employee preferences.  

LinkedIn, a professional and career-focused platform, is often the most suitable choice for recognizing employees. However, you may want to avoid platforms like Twitter, which lack robust content moderation compared to others. 

  • Authentic and genuine recognition 

Recognizing employees publicly can be a powerful motivator, but it needs to be done authentically and genuinely. The recognition should truly be about the employee, never using them as marketing tools.  

Personalize the messages to highlight each employee's specific achievements, skills, or contributions. Tailor the communication style and include relevant hashtags to resonate with your audience. 

  • Encouraging engagement 

Social media recognition should not be a one-way communication. Involve your internal and external audience to amplify the recognition and create a sense of community.  

Encourage colleagues to actively engage with recognition posts by inviting comments, likes, and shares. This will not only boost the visibility of your recognition efforts but also foster a positive company culture and employee experience. 

  • Consistency and timeliness 

Social media recognition should be a consistent and timely practice, deeply ingrained in your company culture and employee experience. Regularly acknowledging and celebrating employee achievements will reinforce the value you place on their contributions and foster a sense of pride and loyalty. 

  • Respecting boundaries 

While social media recognition can be highly effective, it's crucial to respect your employees' privacy, preferences, and consent. Follow the rules and etiquette of each platform and your company's guidelines to ensure a positive and respectful experience for all. 

  • Storytelling and personal touches 

Consider weaving in storytelling elements to make your employee recognition posts more engaging and resonant. Share anecdotes that highlight individual contributions, challenges overcome, or the impact of their work. These personal touches can make the recognition more meaningful and relatable to your audience. 

4. Point-based recognition program  

A point-based recognition program is a structured system designed to reward employees, customers, or members of an organization for achieving specific goals, behaviours, or milestones.  

Points are awarded based on predefined criteria, which can be accumulated and redeemed for various rewards. Here's a detailed look at the components and workings of a point-based recognition program: 

Benefits of a point-based recognition program 

  • Motivation: Encourages employees to strive for higher performance and exhibit desired behaviours. 
  • Engagement: Increases overall engagement by recognizing and rewarding contributions. 
  • Retention: Improves employee retention by making them feel valued and appreciated. 
  • Performance improvement: Drives performance improvements through targeted incentives. 
  • Flexibility: Allows for customization to meet the specific needs and goals of the organization. 

Example of a point-based recognition program  

1. Empuls  

Empuls, an employee recognition and engagement platform awarded the “Best Collaboration and Productivity Product 2024”(7), offers quality point-based recognition programs. Managers can distribute points for every recognition made through the Empuls dashboard.  

5. Behavior-based recognition program  

A behaviour-based recognition program goes beyond simply acknowledging achievements and focuses on recognizing the specific actions and behaviours employees demonstrate that contribute to overall success. It highlights the "how" behind the "what" and aims to reinforce positive behaviours that align with company values and goals. 

Examples of behaviour-based recognition: 

  • Collaboration: Recognizing a team member who consistently shares information and helps colleagues overcome challenges. 
  • Innovation: Appreciating an employee who suggests new and creative solutions to problems. 
  • Initiative: Highlighting someone who takes ownership of tasks and goes above and beyond their assigned duties. 
  • Customer focus: Acknowledging an employee who provides exceptional service and builds positive relationships with customers. 
  • Integrity: Recognizing an employee who demonstrates honesty and ethical conduct, even in difficult situations. 

Tips for effective behaviour-based recognition: 

  • Clearly define desired behaviours: Outline the behaviours you want to encourage, linking them to company values and goals.
  • Provide timely recognition: The closer the recognition is to the positive behaviour, the stronger the reinforcement. Acknowledge positive actions in real-time or shortly after they occur. 
  • Specificity matters: Generic praise is nice, but specific recognition is more meaningful. Highlight the specific behaviour you appreciate and its impact on the team or company. 
  • Variety in recognition methods: Cater to different preferences by offering a variety of ways to recognize positive behaviors. This could include public announcements, personalized notes, rewards points, or team lunches. 
  • Leadership involvement: Leaders play a crucial role in modeling desired behaviors and actively participating in recognizing them. This reinforces the importance of these behaviors from the top down. 
  • Focus on the positive: Catch people "doing things right" instead of waiting for mistakes. This fosters a positive and motivated work environment. 
  • Balance public vs. private recognition: Consider the employee's personality and preferences. Some might enjoy public recognition, while others might value a private thank you. 

Benefits of effective behavior-based recognition: 

  • Increased employee engagement: Employees feel valued for their contributions, leading to higher engagement and motivation. 
  • Improved company culture: Recognition fosters a positive and collaborative work environment where desired behaviors are reinforced. 
  • Enhanced performance: By recognizing behaviors that contribute to success, employees are encouraged to repeat them, leading to improved overall performance. 
  • Stronger alignment with values: Recognition programs can effectively communicate and reinforce company values throughout the organization. 

6. Service award recognition program  

A service award recognition program acknowledges and celebrates employees who have been with the company for a specific period. These programs show appreciation for their loyalty, dedication, and contributions to the organization's growth and success. 

Examples of service awards 

  • Milestone anniversaries: Many companies recognize service milestones like 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and beyond. This is a common and straightforward way to acknowledge loyalty. 
  • Tenure bands: Instead of individual years, some companies create tenure bands (e.g., Bronze for 1-5 years, Silver for 5-10 years, Gold for 10+ years) with different recognition levels for each band. 
  • Tiered rewards: This approach offers progressively more valuable rewards as employees reach higher service milestones. Examples include increased vacation time, contributions to retirement plans, or exclusive merchandise. 
  • Special recognition events: Companies may host annual events to celebrate employees reaching service milestones. This creates a sense of community and belonging for long-term employees. 

Tips for effective service-based recognition: 

  • Go beyond just time: While time is a factor, consider incorporating additional elements like consistently exceeding expectations or demonstrating strong company values. 
  • Personalize recognition: A generic gift card might be nice, but a personalized message or gift that reflects the employee's interests will have a stronger impact. 
  • Align with company values: Highlight how the employee's loyalty and contributions have helped the company achieve its goals and embody its values. 
  • Combine service with achievement: Consider recognizing employees who have achieved significant milestones alongside their service anniversary. This celebrates both commitment and results. 
  • Offer flexible rewards: Recognize that not everyone has the same preferences. Provide options like additional paid time off, educational courses, or contributions to charities of their choice. 
  • Leadership acknowledgement: Having leaders personally thank and congratulate employees for their service adds a special touch and shows appreciation from the top. 
  • Communicate early and often: Clearly communicate the service award program details, eligibility criteria, and reward options well in advance. 
  • Celebrate milestones throughout the year: While a yearly event is nice, consider incorporating smaller celebrations throughout the year to maintain momentum. Simple things like team lunches or social media shout-outs can go a long way. 

Benefits of effective service-based recognition: 

  • Increased employee retention: Recognition for loyalty can boost morale and make employees feel valued, leading to lower turnover. 
  • Enhanced employee satisfaction: Feeling appreciated for their commitment leads to higher job satisfaction and a more positive work environment. 
  • Improved employer branding: Strong service award programs showcase the company's commitment to its employees, making it a more attractive place to work for potential hires. 
  • Boosted employee morale: Celebrating long-term employees inspires others and creates a sense of pride and belonging within the organization. 

An example of a company with service-based recognition program  

1. Edco  

Edco is America’s premier supplier of employee recognition products who offer employee service awards designed for recognizing special achievements and milestones.  

7. Wellness and well-being recognition  

A wellness-based recognition program acknowledges and celebrates employees who prioritize their well-being and make positive physical and mental health choices.

This approach goes beyond traditional recognition and shows appreciation for employees who actively manage their stress, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and foster a positive work-life balance. 

Examples of recognized wellness activities: 

  • Healthy habits: Recognizing employees who participate in company-sponsored fitness challenges, utilize on-site wellness resources, or complete health screenings. 
  • Stress management: Acknowledging employees who actively manage stress through mindfulness practices, utilizing company-provided mental health resources, or maintaining healthy boundaries between work and personal life. 
  • Work-life balance: Celebrating employees who consistently take advantage of paid time off, utilize flexible work arrangements, or disconnect after work hours. 
  • Helping others: Recognizing employees who volunteer for health-related causes or participate in company wellness initiatives that benefit others. 
  • Safety and wellbeing champions: Highlighting employees who consistently promote safety practices or contribute to creating a positive and supportive work environment. 

Tips for effective wellness-based recognition: 

  • Focus on participation, Not results: Recognize the effort and commitment to well-being, not necessarily achieving specific fitness goals or losing weight. 
  • Promote inclusivity: Offer a variety of recognition options to cater to different preferences and abilities. This could include healthy snacks, wellness-related merchandise, or additional paid time off for self-care activities. 
  • Link to company culture: Align wellness initiatives with the overall company culture. If flexibility is a core value, recognize employees who utilize flexible work arrangements to maintain well-being. 
  • Connect to performance: While not the sole focus, acknowledge how prioritizing well-being can lead to improved performance by reducing stress and boosting energy levels. 
  • Partner with wellness programs: Integrate recognition with existing company wellness programs or initiatives. Offer recognition points for completing health screenings or participating in wellness challenges. 
  • Respect privacy: Be mindful of employee privacy when recognizing wellness efforts. Don't require them to disclose personal health information. 
  • Leadership as role models: Have leaders participate in wellness initiatives and actively acknowledge employee efforts to set a positive example. 

Benefits of effective wellness-based recognition: 

  • Improved employee health: Recognition can motivate employees to prioritize their health and well-being, leading to a healthier workforce. 
  • Reduced absenteeism: Healthy employees are less likely to miss work due to illness or stress. 
  • Enhanced employee engagement: Feeling supported in their well-being can boost employee morale and engagement. 
  • Positive work environment: Recognizing wellness fosters a culture that values work-life balance and reduces stress, leading to a more positive work environment. 
  • Reduced healthcare costs: A healthier workforce can lead to lower healthcare costs for the company. 

8. Training and development recognition program  

A training and development recognition program acknowledges and celebrates employees actively participating in professional development opportunities and demonstrating the skills and knowledge gained through training.

This approach reinforces the importance of continuous learning, motivates employees to invest in their growth, and showcases the value the company places on a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. 

Examples of recognized achievements: 

  • Completion of training programs: Recognize employees who successfully complete required or optional training programs, workshops, or certifications relevant to their roles. 
  • Applying learned skills: Celebrate employees who actively apply the knowledge and skills acquired through training to improve their work performance or solve problems more effectively. 
  • Mentorship and knowledge sharing: Recognize employees who go above and beyond by mentoring colleagues, sharing their newly acquired expertise, or leading training sessions for others. 
  • Innovation through training: Acknowledge employees who utilize knowledge gained from training to develop innovative ideas, improve processes, or contribute to new product development. 
  • Initiative in learning: Highlight employees who take initiative to seek out additional learning opportunities beyond what's formally provided, demonstrating a commitment to self-development. 

Benefits of training and development recognition: 

  • Increased engagement with training: Recognition motivates employees to actively participate in training programs and invest time in their professional development. 
  • Improved knowledge retention and application: Acknowledging the application of learned skills encourages employees to retain the knowledge and integrate it into their work. 
  • Enhanced employee skillset: By recognizing ongoing learning, the company fosters a culture of continuous improvement and development, leading to a more skilled and adaptable workforce. 
  • Boosted employee confidence: Recognition for development efforts increases employee confidence and self-esteem, leading to a more motivated and empowered workforce. 
  • Stronger employer branding: A strong training and development culture with recognition programs positions the company as an attractive place for potential hires who value learning and growth opportunities. 

Tips for effective training and development recognition: 

  • Align recognition with training goals: Link recognition to specific training objectives and desired skill development. This ensures focus on applying the learned knowledge. 
  • Variety in recognition methods: Offer diverse ways to recognize training achievements to cater to different preferences. Options can include certificates, badges, public acknowledgements, or opportunities to lead training sessions. 
  • Timely recognition: Recognize accomplishments soon after completing training or demonstrating new skills. Timely feedback reinforces positive learning behaviors. 
  • Leadership as champions: Leaders play a crucial role by actively participating in training programs and acknowledging employee development efforts. This sets a positive example and emphasizes the value of learning. 
  • Connect to career growth: Frame recognition within the context of career development opportunities. Highlight how acquired skills can help employees advance in their careers. 
  • Consider individual needs: Recognize efforts that align with individual development goals and career aspirations. This personalizes the experience and promotes a sense of ownership over learning. 
  • Track and measure Impact: Monitor the program's effectiveness by tracking participation in training, skill application, and employee feedback on the recognition. 

Case study  


Modivcare (formerly LogistiCare Solutions) is a leading provider of technology-enabled healthcare services in the United States. The company offers various services, including non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), personal care, remote patient monitoring, and specialized transportation for the disabled. 


Modivcare was looking to boost their employee recognition program by focusing on a few key areas: 

  • Personalized celebrations: Recognizing birthdays and work anniversaries would make employees feel valued as individuals. 
  • Values-driven recognition: By highlighting specific achievements that reflect the company's values, the company could better connect employee contributions to the bigger picture. 
  • Supportive recognition: Modivcare understood that recognition goes beyond just celebrating wins. They also wanted to offer encouragement and support during difficult times.  

The requirement of Modivcare was simple - a comprehensive recognition program to achieve these goals—that’s where eCardWidget came in! 


  • Variety and personalization: Modivcare designed custom e-cards for birthdays, anniversaries, thanks, get-well wishes, and sympathy messages. This variety allowed for frequent and personalized recognition, making employees feel valued. 
  • Streamlined communication: Modivcare used ecards to celebrate company achievements and recognize employees who exemplified company values. This kept everyone informed and connected to the bigger picture. 
  • Peer recognition encouraged: The user-friendly platform allowed employees to send ecards to each other, fostering a culture of appreciation and support beyond just leadership recognition. 


Employee recognition programs come in many forms, each offering unique advantages. From celebrating milestones and achievements to acknowledging dedication and well-being efforts, there's a program to suit every company's culture and goal. 

The key to success lies in choosing the right mix of programs and tailoring them to resonate with your employees. By offering genuine and timely recognition that aligns with your company values, you can foster a positive work environment, boost morale, and motivate your team to excel. Remember, investing in employee recognition isn't just a feel-good practice – it's a strategic investment in your most valuable asset: your people. 


1. Total rewards. (n.d.). Accenture. 

2. Work, G. P. T. (n.d.). Accenture. Great Place to Work®. 

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Akshay Chakrapani

Akshay Chakrapani LinkedIn

Akshay Chakrapani is a good content writer who loves to explore various content styles and categories. He writes unique content on LinkedIn. His hobbies are reading novels and listening to music.