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40 Easy To Use Employee Recognition Ideas

In How Great Supervisors Use Employee Recognition To Improve Performance, we looked at how supervisors who provide frequent and meaningful recognition and praise inspire employees to higher performance, engagement and loyalty.

Below are 40 ideas for recognizing those you supervise. Learning your employee’s recognition preferences will help you determine which will work for you and which will not. But, don’t hesitate to get out of your comfort zone and try fresh approaches, and engage your employees in brainstorming other creative ways to recognize, praise and celebrate individuals and teams.

  1. Use your personal stationery and mail recognition letters to homes of employees
  2. Give the employee a meaningful book and sign the inside cover with a personalized message
  3. Leave praise on a meeting room white board or flip chart
  4. Leave voice mails of praise
  5. Text a praise or recognition
  6. Place a note of appreciation on an employee’s windshield
  7. Leave a sticky note of praise on an employee’s desk chair
  8. Praise someone for keeping a commitment
  9. Praise someone when they meet a deadline
  10. Praise someone for their character
  11. Praise someone for taking a risk, and failing
  12. Recognize a good idea with an Innovation or Ingenuity Award
  13. Recognize over and above effort with a Hustle Award
  14. Bring in doughnuts after a big accomplishment or hard stretch of work
  15. Buy store bought wrapped cookies; type a recognition and adhere it to the cookies and give the cookies away to everyone on the team
  16. Give a way tickets to upcoming community special events
  17. Give personalized gift certificates as rewards: a meal, coffee, car wash, movie, groceries, spa, a round of golf, an amusement park
  18. Allow the recognized employee to select the gift card vendor they prefer
  19. Tell SAIL stories: Tell of a Situation, explain the Action they took, the Impact it had on the organization and the Link it has to organizational goals or values
  20. Invite an individual or team into a Senior Leadership meeting to recognize them
  21. Take pictures of those being awarded and put them on a highly visible bulletin board
  22. In the Break room put up a family focus board with family pictures and children’s accomplishments
  23. Recognize the birthdays of the children of direct reports
  24. Celebrate an employee’s new baby when they return to the office
  25. Purchase small action figures to give a way as “my hero” awards
  26. Go to a Dollar Store for cheap awards and recognitions (Examples: WD-40 you get things unstuck; duct tape for you hold us together)
  27. Recognize the sacrifice of families of employees whose job duties have taken them out of town
  28. Send an employee’s spouse flowers or a gift card after they have had to work long hours
  29. Pay for the spouse to join an employee on a job related trip
  30. Hire a yard crew or a maid service for a day as an anniversary gift
  31. When publically recognizing someone, ask for one or two peers to provide the recognition
  32. Invite the family of those being recognized to the recognition event
  33. Senior Leadership grills out, cook pancakes, wash cars for the team when a goal is reached
  34. Before a new hire arrives send them by courier/express mail an envelope with welcome cards from everyone on the team
  35. Call the ice cream truck to come by the church during a time of peak loading
  36. Bring in a masseuse to provide shoulder and neck massages after a stressful period at work
  37. Take a team out to lunch and bowling or a movie in recognition of a goal achievement
  38. Provide a catered picnic for the team
  39. Recognize the employee on the organization’s website
  40. Greet an employee in their office with a morning cup of coffee

What other ideas for employee recognition do you have?



Posted on April 11, 2017

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5