5 Employee Recognition Examples to Motivate Your Team

The best employee recognition programs are the ones that are specifically tailored to your company. If you want to motivate your team, you need to look at what they respond to. This means taking a closer look at their needs and wants — as well as their past experiences with rewards and recognition. In this article, we’ll detail five different employee recognition examples have been successful in motivating teams of all types.

A celebration of the company’s anniversary

A celebration of the company’s anniversary is a great opportunity to thank employees for their hard work. Recognize the contribution of each employee and make it a fun event. You could also have a competition between teams or departments, or set up awards for individuals based on some criteria like sales, customer service, etc.

Recognition for a team member’s anniversary

Employee anniversaries are a great time to give an employee recognition. It’s a day to reflect on how far they have come in their career and a reminder of how much work they have put in. In addition to celebrating the anniversary, you can also give them a small gift to show that you value their contribution and appreciate their hard work. Consider something like:

  • A small token of your appreciation (e.g., t-shirt or mug)
  • A personalized note
  • A certificate for lunch with the boss

Gift cards or small prizes for meeting a goal

If your company has achieved major success, a gift card or small prize can be awarded for meeting a goal. This could be something as simple as an ice cream sundae bar for hitting a sales goal or something more formal like a cash bonus or spa day for hitting an employee satisfaction survey target.

For example, if you’re in the marketing industry and you have launched an all-new website, then each team member involved with the project could receive a gift card to their favorite restaurant. This would motivate them to work harder on future projects so they may receive another reward down the road.

Small tokens

Small tokens can also be a great way to show your appreciation. You can give someone a gift card, or something as simple as a small token in honor of an occasion, such as their birthday or anniversary. This is especially helpful if you have employees who don’t normally get gifts from their spouses or family members on their birthdays because they’re so busy at work that they’d rather spend the time with them instead of going out to pick up gifts for all their co-workers.

Informal weekly birthday lunch celebrations

One of the easiest employee recognition ideas is to host a weekly birthday lunch celebration. This is a simple way to recognize each member of your team and show that you care about them as individuals. Here’s how it works:

  • Order a cake for each person with their name on it (birthday cookies also work).
  • Every Friday, give each person their favorite food from the cafeteria or nearby restaurant.
  • Recognize the birthday person in front of the team, saying something like “Thanks for all your hard work. Have some cake.” Then pass out slices for everyone else at the table and enjoy.

If you want to get fancy, consider throwing in gifts such as coffee mugs or T-shirts with funny sayings on them. Make sure these are small enough that they won’t break anyone’s budget but still have meaning.


Recognizing your employees is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and motivated. It shows that you appreciate their hard work, which inspires them to keep doing what they’re doing. The next time you’re looking for a way to celebrate your employees, consider this simple but effective strategy. It requires minimal effort but has a big impact.

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