9 Employee Recognition Ideas for Staff Members, Teams and Colleagues

Employee recognition goes a long way to building a strong, supportive work environment, boosting employee retention and morale.1 Acknowledging the hard work and accomplishments of employees through formal recognition fosters a company culture and employee experience where people are respected for their contributions.

In recent years, National Employee Appreciation Day has become a fixture on corporate calendars. But organisations shouldn’t limit recognising employees to just one day. Instead, they should integrate creative employee recognition ideas into the heart of their company culture throughout the year.

Employee recognition efforts and employee reward programs encourage commitment and promote company values, as well as improve company performance,efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Recognising employees also help generate an emotional connection between the employees and the company.1 For this reason, recognition programs and employee reward efforts shouldn’t be too casual: formal recognition should aim to offer genuine and meaningful gestures of staff appreciation or employee rewards.

Whether acknowledging individual employees, company teams, or peers, here are nine employee recognition ideas that leadership can implement to reward and show their appreciation for the hard work of their employees.

Recognition for Individual Employees

Positive feedback from leadership is a crucial element of employee engagement, positive employee expierience, and overall worker happiness. It shows that company leadership and managers are paying attention and appreciating employees’ hard work. It also helps promote shared company values. Here are a few creative employee recognition ideas that office management and senior leaders can implement to acknowledge the efforts of an individual employee:

1. Personalised Feedback or References

  • Compared to sending generic messages of thanks, a personalised email or a handwritten note is a thoughtful and meaningful gesture. Employees will treasure the time and effort taken by a senior-level team member to recognise their contribution.
  • Write a LinkedIn recommendation for your direct reports. Recognition online will be visible to the employees’ network and can be easily integrated into any ongoing employee evaluation or employee appreciation program.

2. Shout-Outs and Awards

  • Pre-record short videos or thank-you messages for employees to be presented at in-person company meetings or events that acknowledge work-related successes or significant milestones such as work anniversaries.
  • Create a monthly, quarterly or annual value-based employee recognition program where the leadership team selects an employee who is doing a great job of exemplifying the company’s values and providing employee rewards to any recognised employees.1

3. Gifts or Treats

  • In addition to cakes or other sweet treats to mark a work milestone or birthday, company swag is another great recognition idea option for leadership to show their appreciation to a deserving employee.
  • A gift card for coffee, a meal or a self-care experience (e.g., massage, mental health app subscription) can be a meaningful way for senior staff to acknowledge a valuable contribution made by a team member.

Companies that are working in-person or who offer a hybrid workplace for employees can consider using a smart electronic locker or parcel locker to deliver gifts safely and securely to the deserving employee. Commercial lockers or corporate lockers allow employees to securely retrieve their gift(s) at their convenience when they’re next in the office.

Recognition for Employee Teams

Teamwork is an important part of any company’s success. Recognising the good work of a team is a critical element in building a strong, cohesive company culture and ensuring positive business outcomes.2 Here are some ideas to show your appreciation and reward a team for their hard work:

4. Meals or Treats for Team Members

  • Have free food or treats catered and make them available in the break room for a tasty start to the workday, for a team lunch or snacks during downtime.
  • Invite local employees to a team-based lunch, dinner, or happy hour at a restaurant or bar close to the office. This recognition idea can be a fun and casual way for senior staff to recognise employees’ work and celebrate their success.

5. Group Outings and Experiences

  • Bring a hybrid or remote team together by having team or senior leadership host a virtual party. Consider hiring an expert for a cooking lesson or cocktail/mocktail online workshop where everyone can have fun.
  • Organize an outdoor adventure such as white-water rafting or a group outing to a local museum or park. Employee appreciation programs that reward team members with real-life adventures can be more impactful than a small raise or gift card.2

6. Time Off for Team Members

  • If you’ve got room in the budget, consider giving a hard-working team a surprise day off or a wellness day as a way to reward the team for their good work and success.

Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition means a lot to employees since close colleagues often work together on a daily basis and are familiar with each other’s contributions. Encouraging a culture of peer recognition is also a great way to strengthen the bond between teammates.2 Here are some great ways to recognise a co-worker:

7. Personalised Notes

  • A personalised email or handwritten note from a co-worker is a meaningful and impactful way to share your appreciation and recognise a colleague’s help or contribution at work.
  • Consider leveraging an employee recognition program like Cheers for Peers that allows fellow employees to quickly recognise each other, boost recognition and increase employee engagement across all levels of the company.

8. Treats or Gifts

  • Bring food or treats to recognise employees’ efforts or take them out for lunch.
  • Give a valued colleague a gift card for a nearby café or a meal at a local restaurant to show your appreciation.

9. Nominations for Company Initiatives

  • Encourage employees to nominate their co-workers for values-based awards or public recognition that acknowledges their important contributions.

The Importance of Employee Recognition

According to recent statistics, companies with a solid employee recognition program enjoy stronger engagement, increased employee morale, better customer service, and lower employee turnover. This translates to a significant return on investment (ROI), including a 50% increase in productivity and as much as a 20% increase in business outcomes.2

For employees, appreciation and recognition programs instill a better sense of purpose, improve job satisfaction, and increase trust in their employers and peers. They are an important tool in building successful teams and meaningful connections between workers and the company.

Recognition programs help make employees feel valued and respected for their hard work and commitment and help promote important values through all levels of the organization. For employers, improved employee well-being not only leads to increased engagement and employee retention, it also goes a long way to increasing company reputation (and more referrals for open positions!)

To find out more about how our locker solutions can help deliver MORE for your employees, contact a Parcel Pending representative today.



  1. Bell, Ashley. 39 Best Employee Recognition Ideas: Appreciation Programs at Work and Examples from Real Companies in 2022.
  2. Lee, Sopia. 20 employee recognition ideas that work.
  3. Bell, Ashley. 39 Best Employee Recognition Ideas: Appreciation Programs at Work and Examples from Real Companies in 2022.
  4. Lee, Sopia. 20 employee recognition ideas that work.
  5. Bell, Ashley. 39 Best Employee Recognition Ideas: Appreciation Programs at Work and Examples from Real Companies in 2022.