Insights & Articles
Posted on 3 March 2023

14 Powerful Examples of Employee Recognition

10 minute read

Your people are more than their job descriptions. And just like customers, they’re looking for a great experience from the business – employees want to feel meaningfully supported to achieve their potential and authentically valued for doing so. But, traditional approaches to recognition are often limited, centring exclusively around job role performance and exceeding KPI’s, when employees’ contributions extend to so much more than this. So, as experts, we’re here to share 14 examples of employee recognition that employers can deliver with meaning.

What is employee recognition?

An effective recognition culture holistically celebrates the work of and contributions from teams at every level across the workforce, wherever they are based, for the value they bring to the business. Recognition should remain agile and dynamic, delivered on a 1:1 basis or shared publicly at the team or organisational level. It can be a simple verbal ‘thank you’, a shortlist for a company award, or a more formal reward process.

Plus, recognition shouldn’t remain exclusive for managers and team leaders to champion but be open for peers and colleagues to celebrate and thank one another.

What are the benefits of employee recognition?

The latest data highlights the multi-dimensional benefits of effective employee recognition programmes, from elevating business performance to sharpening employer brands and attracting future talent. Just a few include:

  • Engagement: Gallup suggests that employees who receive effective recognition are 20x more likely to be engaged at work, compared with employees who receive little or no recognition.
  • Wellbeing: As culture and wellbeing continues to climb the agenda for candidates and employees alike, research suggests those who experience a strong culture of recognition at work are half as likely to experience burnout.
  • Performance: When recognition is intrinsically linked to the organisation’s values, employees report being nearly 5x more likely to understand what’s expected of them within their roles.
  • Cultural alignment: Employees who feel recognition to be a fundamental part of their organisation are nearly 4x as likely to feel connected to its culture, creating a sense of purpose and shared vision across teams.
  • Belonging and inclusion: Employee recognition has also been established as an incredibly powerful tool in fostering inclusive workplaces, boosting belonging by 587% when delivered effectively, leading employees to report their workplace inclusivity to be 4x higher.
  • Retention: Teams that feel their organisation proactively recognises and appreciates them are 56% less likely to seek a new role.

14 Examples of Employee Recognition

So, how can employers achieve these business outcomes by leveraging the power of recognition? Let’s explore some meaningful and agile examples of doing just this.

Recognition for top performers

Recognise those who go above and beyond in their performance and achievements, maintaining engagement and productivity in their role. This is key for creating a ‘ripple effect’ to inspire others to emulate these behaviours and reach their potential.

Messages for top performers

“[Name], thank you for your hard work on [Project X]. Your skills and dedication have directly impacted the company’s success in achieving our client’s target. Impressive stuff!”

“Wow! We needed a brave solution to [Challenge X] against a tight deadline and you seriously stepped up. Not only did you get stuck in but inspired other members of the team to go above and beyond too. Thank you!”

Recognition for teamwork

Celebrate connection and collaboration from colleagues, particularly for teams who are dispersed or work remotely, to encourage an open and supportive workplace.

Messages for teams and teamwork

“The Team of the Month Award goes to Product for smashing through the key challenges we’ve faced with [Project X], and despite being a remote team, always manage to have fun along the way!”

“I’d like to thank [Name] for going out of their way to support me in a new area of my role – I’ve learned so much and you offer a safe space for me to ask questions. You’re the best!”

Recognition for managers and team leaders

Keep recognition multi-level by enabling employees to recognise their managers and senior leaders across the business. While it’s key for managers to lead by example in creating a culture of recognition, employees should feel empowered to return their praise and thanks.

Messages for managers and team leaders

“Thank you for offering me so much support – you’ve really built my confidence and I feel set up to succeed in [Campaign X]. It’s inspiring to have such a great manager who is always on-hand to help.”

“I feel so motivated and inspired after [Name]’s workshop in our team meeting today! Thank you for shaping a fun and engaging session. I really enjoyed connecting with everyone.”

Recognition for reaching goals or milestones

Set clear individual and team goals for employees to work towards across the year, and recognise those achieved in both work and wider business activities.

Messages for goals and milestones

“Thank you to [Name] for planning a team social day for every quarter of this year – because of your efforts, we’ve met our goal to keep team interaction and connection regular, which is incredibly important to us as a remote business.”

“A huge shoutout to the Sales team for achieving our target revenue in new business for this quarter – your work has led us to hit our commercial targets!”

Team-wide recognition

Recognition doesn’t have to be delivered on a 1:1 basis – take time to recognise teams as a collective for achieving their goals, working on new ideas or collaborating closely. This will also inspire and incentivise other teams and departments across the business.

Messages for team-wide recognition

“I’d like to recognise our Customer Service team for collaborating through what has been our busiest month to date and ensuring our customer satisfaction scores remain high! You’ve all done an incredible job.”

“The creativity and innovation I’ve seen from the Product Development team recently has been seriously impressive – and as a result, we are already working on some exciting new features. Thank you, all!”

Recognition for personal growth and improvement

Importantly, celebrate personal development across soft skills and experience. This should value knowledge growth alongside soft skills such as confidence and resilience.

Messages for personal growth and improvement

“[Name] has really impressed me with owning their own development in growing their understanding of our web analytics. You are now our internal guru in this and someone our wider team can learn from – well done!”

“I’d like to recognise [Name] for delivering a fantastic customer presentation yesterday. It was a challenging brief and I admire your bravery for tackling it head on with real confidence – this is real achievement in your personal growth.”

Recognition for professional development and achievements

Encourage a culture of learning and development across the business, recognising new professional achievements and accreditations to empower employees to improve their expertise.

Messages for professional development and achievements

“Huge congratulations to [Name] who has just obtained their Professional Scrum Master certification. We know this has taken a lot of work, and we’re really excited for you to lead the further development of our product. Fantastic news, well done!”

“[Name] has graduated today in their PhD course! This is a huge achievement, especially as they have balanced their studies alongside their day-to-day role – you’ve smashed it, congratulations!”

Recognition for a work anniversary

Celebrating employee service anniversaries is fundamental for ensuring colleagues feel valued within the business. This is a great opportunity to collect recognition messages from an employee’s manager and their wider peers.

Messages for a work anniversary

“[Name] has just completed their first year at [Organisation]! In this year they’ve achieved so much and made waves in building relationships across the business. Here’s to many more – thank you for all that you do!”

“It’s [Name]’s 5 year anniversary today! To celebrate such an incredible achievement, we’ve asked their team to share some of their best highlights and memories to date. Congratulations, a reward is also on it’s way to you.”

Peer-to-peer recognition

Peer recognition ensures employees feel valued from every angle, and aren’t only praised for their role performance by a manager but for the wider contributions they make to their colleagues.

Messages for peer-to-peer recognition

“Whenever I need help, [Name] is always there to support, even if it’s something outside of their usual day-to-day. I really appreciate it! Plus, your sense of humour never fails to brighten my day.”

“Thank you for always lending a listening ear when I need it – as we know [Project X] has been particularly challenging, but I have felt incredibly supported throughout by you. Couldn’t have done it without you!”

Recognition for new ideas or outside of the box thinking

Recognition is a key tool for establishing new ideas or sparking better ways of achieving business goals.

Messages for new ideas

“It can be intimidating to share new ideas or challenge the status quo. However, [Name] demonstrated bravery today by suggesting a new approach to [Campaign X] which was brilliant, and will save the team so much time. Thank you!”

“[Name] suggested a new approach to our store order and collection process, which hasn’t been revised for a while. Now, the customer receives a smooth and quick service, demonstrating the value a pair of fresh eyes can deliver. You’re great!”

Recognition for values and behaviours

Desired behaviours and a purpose-led culture can be inspired by recognising behaviours which positively exemplify the business’ core values.

Messages for values and behaviours

“[Name] demonstrated our value of Commitment today by staying late after her shift was scheduled to finish to offer a helping hand to colleagues during a busy period. You were a great help to the team and we really appreciate it!”

“[Name] championed our Bravery value today by stepping in last minute to deliver a client presentation, as [Name] was unfortunately unwell. You showed how much you cared about the client’s challenges and shared many valuable insights. Very impressive!”

Team awards recognition

Awards-based recognition put a creative take on celebrating performance and achievements. These can invite nominations from peers and managers, with senior leaders selecting winners, and be formal internal accreditations or put a fun spin on traditional awards.

Messages for team awards recognition

“I’d like to nominate [Name] for this month’s Service Star award. They’ve been an incredible team player and consistently ensured every customer has received the best service from our store.”

“We’re delighted to announce [Name] has won our Innovator award this quarter for the incredible new ideas they’ve brought to the team. Keep it up!”

Inclusive recognition

Recognising employees in line with national holidays and awareness days is key for creating an inclusive workplace for talent of all backgrounds.

Messages for inclusive recognition

“In celebration of International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognise [Names(s)] for their brilliant contributions to the business and the support they provide to each and every team member. You are hugely appreciated.”

“Eid Mubarak! Wishing those celebrating a wonderful time with family and friends. Thank you for your hard work and dedication throughout the year. Enjoy the festivities!”

Employee milestones

Ensuring birthdays, life events and wider key achievements are recognised are key in creating a connected and engaged workforce.

Messages for employee milestones

“Wishing [Name] a wonderful birthday! Enjoy your celebrations, and thank you for another great year.”

“I’d like to share the wonderful news that [Name] celebrated their wedding this weekend. A huge congratulations!”

“As [Name] heads of Paternity leave, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck in welcoming a new member to the family – congratulations!”

How to make the most of a recognition platform

Leveraging technology as a force for good ensures employers maximise the reach and impact of their employee recognition through a dedicated platform. So, what are some software features to look out for?


The nature of investing in a platform with desktop and mobile capability ensures recognition is placed in employees’ pockets to be kept front of mind. This is particularly powerful for workforces that are dispersed, deskless or disconnected.


Recognition is best when it’s personal. Ensure you choose a platform that offers the capability for managers and peers to tailor recognition with their own messaging and card imagery.


Opt for a recognition platform that centralises your business values, so recognitions can be intrinsically linked to examples of employees championing these. This ensures the programme reflects your business’ unique workplace culture.


A key feature of an impactful platform is agile recognition features which enable a simple shoutout, to awards nominations, to elevating recognition with instant rewards, both monetary and non-monetary.

Rippl’s recognition, reward and benefits platform

At Rippl, we don’t believe in average employee engagement. That’s why our platform revolutionises traditional approaches with a unique and multi award-winning recognition, rewards and benefits experience:

  • Streamlined recognition, rewards and benefits built into your very own app that’s fully branded to your business, available in the App Store and Google Play.
  • Customisable and agile features that can be added or removed in line with your People needs, ensuring your programme always evolves with your business.
  • Global recognition and reward capability, so your people receive a consistent experience, wherever they are.
  • Tailored benefits that champion each pillar of employee wellbeing and reflect the unique needs of your teams, so they can be their best both in- and outside of work.

FAQs on Employee Recognition

How often should employee recognition be delivered?

Effective recognition should be frequent, whilst also remaining authentic to deliver the best impact. We believe an employee should receive recognition every 1-2 months – and remember, this should be from both their managers and peers.

How do you build a culture of recognition from scratch?

Building a culture of recognition from the ground up can feel daunting. We believe there are 7 key phases behind this to ensure the programme is agile, multi-level and championed at all levels of the business – grab a coffee and download our 7 Steps to Build a Culture of Recognition guide.

What are some examples of how other businesses are delivering recognition?

Recognition should be as brilliantly unique as every business. It should also reflect the organisation’s wider goals – whether that’s to improve engagement, incentivise employees, strengthen business culture, elevate employer brand or restore connection across dispersed teams. Take a look at how our customers are leveraging the power of recognition to achieve their goals.

Should recognitions be delivered privately or made public?

This should reflect employees’ individual preferences. Whilst some individuals may enjoy a team-wide recognition, others may prefer to receive a private message of thanks. Rippl’s platform enables both options, whilst keeping any attached reward points and wallet balances visible only for the recipient.

How do you ensure recognition remains fair?

Holistic approaches to delivering recognition are fundamental to ensuring the programme remains inclusive of celebrating all talent. Enabling multi-level recognition that values performance outside of exceeded KPIs, as well as marks national and cultural holidays alongside employee anniversaries, ensures employees feel seen and heard.

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