5 Employee Recognition Examples That Will Inspire Employees to Go Above and Beyond

As a manager, you want to recognize your employees for their hard work. You don’t want to just throw money at them every time they do something good—that won’t inspire motivation and creativity. Employee recognition is a critical tool that can help boost engagement among your team members, improve productivity and encourage innovation. The key is finding the right method to motivate each individual in your department who deserves this praise. Here are five employee recognition examples that will inspire employees to go above and beyond:

Make it personal

One of the best ways to encourage your employees to go above and beyond is by recognizing them for their hard work, but you can also make recognition more meaningful and effective by making it personal.

For example, if an employee has a habit of working late or staying at her desk for several hours after everyone else has left for the day, you might want to do something special for her—for instance, taking her out for dinner or giving her a gift card so she can get some new clothes or shoes. 

If another employee is known as an excellent listener in staff meetings who listens well and takes notes diligently, consider giving that person some training in communication skills or leadership development programs that will help improve his time management skills. And if an employee kept pushing himself through tough times even though he felt discouraged with his role at work, maybe it’s time to give him a raise.

Align recognition with company values

One of the most important things to consider when designing your recognition program is how it aligns with company values. It’s one of the most important components of any employee recognition program.

When you create an employee recognition program, you have to make sure that it supports and reflects your company’s values. If you don’t do this, employees are going to feel as if their efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated. It can also lead them to question your credibility as a leader who truly cares about your team member’s well-being at work and beyond.

Keep it meaningful, yet simple

The key to a successful employee recognition program is to keep it relevant, meaningful, and simple. The purpose of an employee recognition program is to motivate employees by acknowledging their good work. Your program’s rewards and benefits need to be personalized based on each employee’s performance. When you are giving out rewards that are customized for individual needs and situations, you will see better results from your employees.

You should make sure that the recognition part of your company’s culture is easy to understand for all employees at all levels within the organization. As such, don’t make your reward system too complicated or overwhelming for managers so that they can implement it in their departments with ease.Most importantly, keep in mind that when designing an employee recognition system, consider whether or not it can scale as hiring increases over time.

Be creative and fun

Make it a group effort. It can be fun to let your employees take the lead on their celebrations—and they’ll appreciate the opportunity to be creative while they’re at it. If you want your recognition celebrations to have a cohesive feel, think about creating some sort of theme or idea that everyone can use as inspiration for their celebrations (e.g., having each employee share one thing they learned from their manager).

Make celebrations a group effort

If you want to show your appreciation for an employee’s hard work, don’t just let them know about it. Help the whole team celebrate with them too. A celebration isn’t worth much if a person is the only one who knows it happened. It’s important that the entire department knows how much they’re appreciated and has an opportunity to share in their colleague’s success.

Celebrations should be fun and meaningful — not just another day at the office. The best rewards won’t feel like rewards at all; they become part of daily life because they’re so enjoyable and energizing. If you want employees to feel good about working for your company, make sure that when people get recognized or rewarded there’s something truly special about it—whether that means going on a field trip together or having a party where everyone gets dressed up fancy. The details matter here; think about what would be most exciting for each person on your team when planning events like these. Maybe someone loves food and dining out, while others might prefer getting some time off from work so they can spend time outdoors hiking or camping outside of work.

Whatever type of reward or recognition strategy works best for your company culture will depend on what kinds of things inspire individuals within each department—but whatever approach ends up being most effective will depend largely upon how well management communicates its goals so everyone knows exactly what behaviors need improvement before celebrating success.


Employee recognition is a critical component of employee engagement and retention. When you’re able to recognize your employees in a meaningful way, they’re more likely to feel appreciated and motivated. By incorporating these five employee recognition examples into your existing rewards program or creating one from scratch, you can help your employees feel valued while also boosting their job satisfaction.