Employee recognition is the secret sauce if you want to improve employee engagement, boost your team’s morale, and lower your organization’s turnover rate. Having an effective employee recognition strategy is a no-brainer for organizations that want to improve their productivity, but the actual implementation can be easier said than done. Here, we’ve assembled 20 of the most effective and meaningful employee appreciation ideas that you can use on your team, and without further ado, let us begin right away: 1. Ask Their Preferences Personalization is key to meaningful and effective employee appreciation, and on the other hand, every employee is unique. Some may prefer public recognition applauded by their peers, while others may prefer more intimate appreciation. So, survey your employees, ask them what their preferences are, or even better, conduct 1-on-1 interviews. You may be surprised at their answers, and you’ll get valuable insights into how you should acknowledge and appreciate each of them. 2. Build a Culture of Recognition Recognition is amplified when performed frequently and genuinely, so it’s crucial to establish a company-wide culture of employee recognition. Both employees and leaders should share positive feedback on a regular basis: a simple in-person greeting, via email, post-it notes, and other methods. A culture of recognition can be a solid foundation for your employee recognition program and is also a great way to make sure everyone is aligned. 3. Monetary Rewards It’s no secret that your employees expect monetary rewards when they are recognized, so don’t shy away from this fact. Monetary-based recognition rewards are still crucial for any organisation due to this obvious reason, but the key here is to be creative and give the right amount accordingly: Promotions. Pretty straightforward, promoting employees with a salary increase. Bonuses. The key is to implement an appropriate bonus structure to keep it effective. Gift cards. Employee recognition platforms like Guusto offer a versatile and reliable way to create a gift cards-based employee recognition program. A versatile way to reward your employees, you can let them cash in the gift card or tie it with a specific retailer/restaurant/store. 4. Social Media Praise In this age of social media, giving your employee a shoutout through the company’s social media platforms can be a simple but effective public recognition award. 5. Catered Meal An effective method to recognize the whole team rather than a specific employee. If you don’t offer catered lunches at the company, then you can host one for your team or even the whole company. If you already offer catered meals, then you can add something special like a famous food truck in the area, an ice cream stand, and so on. 6. Lunch Out Similar in principle to the above, but a private lunch with the boss can be an effective recognition method for employees who aren’t big with public recognition. Leaders can also use the opportunity to engage in a meaningful one-on-one conversation with the employee. 7. Value-Based Awards Acknowledge employees who have been doing a great job of representing your company’s values. You can make this a regular thing, for example by conducting a monthly or quarterly company award. Doing this can make sure everyone is aligned with your organization’s values while also keeping them engaged and motivated. 8. Experiential Rewards Experiential rewards refer to recognition awards that offer something to experience rather than money or gifts. You can let your employees choose from a wide range of experiences: tickets and accommodations to new holiday destinations, skydiving lessons, and so on. 9. Career Development Opportunities You should also offer workplace training and development opportunities to employees. This can come in many different forms: technical skill developments (i.e. coding, content writing), formal education, teamwork training, soft skills developments (i.e. communication, problem-solving). This type of recognition reward is obviously effective for employees who are still looking to level up their skills. 10. Employee Wall of Fame Might seem overused, but can still be effective when performed properly. You can create a dedicated wall of fame space at both department and company-wide levels, and also incorporate them at the organization’s recognition day. 11. Off-site day Take your team (or the whole company) to a neutral site for an off-site workday. Depending on the size of your team, you can try nearby cafes, co-working spaces, libraries, or other locations. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to boost productivity. 12. Rotating Trophy Purchase or design a recognition trophy that you can pass around in the office. Alternatively, this can be a plush toy or figurine. Give this trophy to an employee who deserves to be recognized based on certain criteria, then have them keep it on their desk before they pass it along (after a month or a week) to another employee who has reached similar criteria. 13. Post-it Notes Very simple and affordable to do, but can still be effective when done right. Leave meaningful post-it notes on employees or peers who deserved recognition. 14. Virtual Recognition Party If you have remote workers in your team, then you can throw them a virtual recognition party via Zoom or other platforms. Send them some treats or a swag bag in advance. 15. Wellness Day With how employee wellness is becoming a buzzword these days, you can invite self-care activities to the office: meditation class, yoga class, on-site massages, fitness classes, and so on. 16. Surprise Time Off If your schedule allows, you can surprise your valuable employees with a paid-time-off. Most employees will appreciate an unexpected time off they can use to rejuvenate and spend time with their loved ones. 17. Sponsored Volunteer Day Great for employees who are passionate about social work and giving back to the community. Offer them to sponsor their volunteer day. 18. Rewarding Tenure Recognize and reward years of service. This won’t only please the loyal employee being recognized, but will also send the message to newer employees that you do appreciate and reward loyalty. This can motivate them to stay loyal. 19. Help With Commute While probably you won’t be able to cover all transportation costs, you can subsidize their bus tickets or parking garage passes. Even reimbursing part of the expenses can be meaningful for the employee. 20. Boss For a Day A creative way to reward your employee is to give them the chance to be the boss for the day. While it may not be possible to give them all the decision-making authority, you can let them lead a meeting, use a prime parking spot, or have any other perks leaders in your company may have. Wrapping Up Employee recognition shouldn’t be a one-off thing but should be a core part of your company culture. When your company shows that your employees are indeed your most precious asset, you can effectively improve their morale, engagement, and productivity while lowering the turnover rate.