Lessonly’s guide to
employee recognition

Lessonly's powerfully simple training software helps teams learn, practice, and do Better Work.

laptop screen
topic card
sales card

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Recognition

What is Employee Recognition?

Do you know what feels great pretty much all of the time? Recognition for hard work. A simple acknowledgment or praise to a team member makes is a simple task and makes everyone feel appreciated. Employee recognition is also a great way to motivate employees and reinforce best practices and activities that drive performance and positive business results. 

Why are Employee Recognition Programs Important?

While recognition for a job well done is a simple act, it’s often underutilized in organizations. In fact, 35% of employees don’t think their employees care about them as a team member or person. It’s also the number one reason why most people leave their jobs.

One of the biggest motivators for employees is to feel valued by their leaders and fellow team members which is why employee recognition is so important. Here are just a few other benefits of employee recognition:

Boosted morale

Recognized employees feel good about what they do and take those feelings home with them. When employees do better work, they live better lives. That happiness is likely to resonate with the entire team and boost overall morale.

Increased productivity

It’s no secret that employee recognition encourages productivity. Companies with recognition-rich cultures outperform others are 12 times more likely to see stronger business results.

Improved engagement

Studies also show that employee recognition drives engagement among employees. Because employee recognition motivates employees to do their best work, they also valued for doing that work. Recognition can improve engagement by almost 60% for individual employees and has also been found to increase engagement across entire teams.

Decreased turnover

Research also shows that engaged employees are more likely to stick around. Companies with employee recognition programs see a 23% decrease in turnover compared to those who don’t. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistic also found that employees who quit indicate they felt either a lack of respect or autonomy in their role. Luckily, business leaders can keep the best of the best in today’s competitive market with simple recognition efforts.

Types of Employee Recognition

Recognition can vary from company to company, and how you show employee appreciation depends on many different factors. It’s important to consider your budget, the number of team members you have, your company values, and your employees’ preferences.

When it comes to employee recognition, there are no one size fits all employee recognition programs. Consider your team’s preferences and ask them to complete an employee survey to ask them what they want and how they like to be recognized. This will help you decide if they’d feel valued with individual employee recognition awards or team employee recognition games. And while there are a lot of types of employee recognition, most fall into four key types of recognition.


When employers hear the word recognition, they most likely associate that with monetary bonuses. There are many types of bonuses, ranging from small to large, which means that both small and large companies can offer these to their team. Employees can also receive larger bonuses and event promotions based on performance. This is a more formal and detailed form of employee recognition that’s given out on an annual or quarterly basis.

Verbal praise

You don’t have to spend any money to recognize employees and show them they’re appreciated. Verbal praise is a classic form of employee recognition and is actually preferred over a gift. While verbal praise is usually informal in nature, teams can also share an employee appreciation speech publicly as part of a more formal recognition program.

Written praise

Written praise is also a popular type of employee recognition. For some organizations, written praise is only shared during formal performance reviews. However, the best teams share written praise through hand-written thank you notes or emails more consistently.

product screens

Better Work starts here

Take a Look

5 Employee Recognition Examples

Crush-It Calls at SnackNation

TWe have a crush on SnackNation’s creative employee recognition idea. The “Crush-It” Call is a time-honored tradition where the team gets together once a week. During this time, they “crush” someone on the team whose work they want to recognize and state something they are grateful for. It’s a great chance for their team to recognize one another and practice positive thinking while bringing hard work to the attention of everyone.

Google’s Wall of Happy

It can be hard to find ways to recognize employees on a large, enterprise team. One of our favorite employee appreciation ideas for large companies comes from the team at Google where they have a “Wall of Happy.” Google’s former Senior VP of People Operations printed team appreciation quotes shared by employees and displayed them on a sign outside his office, for all to see.

A Round of Applause for Typeform

Typeform has a fun form of employee recognition. Whenever someone does something noteworthy, no matter how big or small, anyone can start a round of applause. Then, the whole office joins in. It’s a nice, momentary break for celebration and costs absolutely nothing to implement.

The Real MVP

Employee recognition is part of Lessonly’s heart and soul. Each week, Lessonly’s management team nominates an employee to be the company’s MVPly. Then, we spotlight that person on our Instgram account and around the office. They also get to spin a wheel of prizes where they can win anything from their favorite candy to a cup of coffee from our local coffee spot. It’s a great way to share appreciation quotes for colleagues and show gratitude for one another. 

Employee Recognition Write Up Examples
Give a Golden Llama

Llamas embody some of the traits we value most: they’re friendly, smart, work hard, serve the team, and might be just a little bit quirky. That’s why every quarter, we give a “golden llama” stature to the Lessonly employee who represents the best aspects of our company and culture. Sure, it’s a humorous employee award, but it’s also a fun way to spotlight our talented team members.

Employee Recognition Programs Examples
Want to learn more about Lessonly and what makes us tick? Learn more about Lessonly’s powerfully training software, and
get a demo here.

Like what you see? Learn more below.