How Do Workplaces Personalize Employee Recognition?

How Do Workplaces Personalize Employee Recognition?

In the quest to make employee recognition truly impactful, we’ve gathered insights from leaders including a co-founder and a marketing director. From implementing a recognition auction system to tailoring rewards to specific achievements, explore the eight personalized strategies these professionals recommend to honor your team’s hard work.

  • Implement a Recognition Auction System
  • Surprise with Unexpected Appreciation
  • Personalize with Handwritten Notes
  • Celebrate Achievements with Loved Ones
  • Offer Personalized Growth Opportunities
  • Recognize Real-Time with Public Praise
  • Create Memorable Recognition Experiences
  • Tailor Rewards to Specific Achievements

Implement a Recognition Auction System

I’ve implemented a “Recognition Auction” system. Employees earn recognition points for their achievements, and they can use these points to bid on exclusive experiences or rewards. These experiences could range from a private cooking class with a renowned chef to a weekend getaway to a destination of their choice.

This approach not only personalizes recognition but also empowers employees to choose rewards that resonate with their individual interests, making the recognition experience exceptionally memorable and tailored to their preferences.

Ryan DoserRyan Doser
Co-Founder, AI Insider Tips

Surprise with Unexpected Appreciation

Using surprise recognition can be a great way to show appreciation for your employees. Unexpected recognition can be especially meaningful and proves that your company doesn’t simply follow a schedule for noticing employee achievements. Surprising your employees with small tokens of appreciation or gestures of recognition makes it feel more personal than ever.

Kelli AndersonKelli Anderson
Career Coach, Texas General Insurance

Personalize with Handwritten Notes

True recognition is deeply personal. A handwritten note highlighting specific achievements, a tailored reward linked to their interests, or simply taking the time to genuinely thank them for their unique contribution—that’s how you make it resonate.

Kimberley Tyler-SmithKimberley Tyler-Smith
VP of Strategy and Growth, Resume Worded

Celebrate Achievements with Loved Ones

I like to think about my workers holistically. They have families, friends, and hobbies, and these aspects of the self aren’t separate from their office personas; rather, they enhance them. That’s why I try to hold employee recognition celebrations after hours whenever possible, so everyone can join in.

Receiving kudos is always nice, but having a chance to show your loved ones the fruits of your labor makes the experience far more worthwhile.

If you’re planning such an event, don’t skimp. Book a room at a local hotel and serve snacks and drinks. People are more likely to show up, and the interconnectedness that follows strengthens the entire company.

Travis HannTravis Hann
Partner, Pender & Howe

Offer Personalized Growth Opportunities

Frankly, it is not enough to consider employee recognition as a means to encourage employees’ efficiency, or as a tool that boosts employee retention, without aiming to ensure that your strategies are meaningful for the employees. The truth is, a well-crafted, personalized employee recognition shows the employee that the business’s leadership is paying attention to their contributions and efforts, and also reassures them that there is sufficient room for them to grow and advance in their career while remaining with the business.

As a small business, especially as one that is unable to match the level of experiential rewards and other special perks that larger businesses offer their top-performing employees, as a brand, we personalize employee recognition and make it more meaningful for them by dialoguing with them and finding out from them what advantages they find to be rewarding. And so far, it’s been a more flexible schedule and growth opportunities.

Grace ChisomGrace Chisom
Marketing Manager, Check CPS

Recognize Real-Time with Public Praise

I have a simple three-point rule for recognizing team members: make it real, do it publicly, and don’t wait.

When your recognition is specific to the person’s achievement and not a generic email template, it can make a world of difference to the recipient. Similarly, public recognition elevates social status and fulfills a primal need humans have, along with fostering healthy competition.

Finally, if you acknowledge someone right after their success or effort instead of waiting for the formal appraisal process, it makes the act more sincere. The best part, implementing this doesn’t take any extra time or resources—just a willingness to make people feel valued.

Sam RobertsSam Roberts
Digital Marketing Manager, Connect Vending

Create Memorable Recognition Experiences

Make it memorable and special. People will always remember how you made them feel, even if they forget what you said or did. Keeping this in mind, we focus on creating memorable experiences at work.

Take, for instance, last winter. We hired an intern full-time because she did an amazing job during her internship. But instead of just sending her a job offer email, we did something different. We collected video messages from her fellow interns congratulating her on her job offer. We even brought her family to the office and prepared some special treats to make the occasion unique.

Her reaction was unforgettable, and she’ll always remember getting her first job offer. Creating moments like this can be a simple yet effective way to keep employees by showing them they are valued.

Patrick BeltranPatrick Beltran
Marketing Director, Ardoz Digital

Tailor Rewards to Specific Achievements

To make employee recognition truly impactful, it’s important to tailor it to their specific achievements. Acknowledging a team member’s success in managing complex tasks, not just with words in meetings but also with tangible rewards, like extra days off or vouchers, really drives the point home.

This method does more than just say thank you; it shows their value to the team and encourages a culture where excellence is both recognized and rewarded, boosting morale and performance.

Marco Genaro PalmaMarco Genaro Palma
Content Marketing Manager, PRLab

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