The Guide to Modern Employee Recognition

11 Unique Examples of Employee Recognition in Action

Now that you have the tools you need to build a culture of appreciation, it's time to get started.

It's not always easy to come up with creative ways to recognize and reward your teammates for their great work, so we put together a list of unique examples from some of our favorite companies across the globe.

Just like the people and contributions they're celebrating, these recognition techniques are unique. Most of these examples are not complete strategies in themselves—they're part of a larger strategy incorporating the key characteristics of effective employee recognition:

  • Timely
  • Frequent
  • Specific
  • Visible
  • Inclusive
  • Values-based

Andrew Schrader | Chobani

Chobani logo

1. Employee recognition and rewards platform

“Everyone gets caught up in their day-to-day work, which is why it’s great to have Bonusly: feedback and instant gratification never get old.”

“When I receive a bonus and I wasn’t expecting one, I get all cheesy about it. There’s this thought that runs through my head: Oh, wow, I implemented this project and I bug everyone to participate, so of course I know it’s important, but it still feels good to receive a bonus!”

“Having the ability to recognize someone immediately is the most valuable part of Bonusly. Whether you have 20 employees or 2,000, it doesn’t matter.”

“More than 75% of Chobani employees actively use Bonusly.”

“Bonusly has definitely had a measurable impact on our Great Places to Work® survey results. Just a few months after we launched Bonusly, our score in the recognition category had the biggest improvement!”

2. Monthly emails to highlight praise

We send a “This Month on Bonusly!” email to managers to promote an ongoing culture of recognition and encourage them to continue recognizing their direct reports. Everyone’s participation is meaningful.

Victoria Melcher | BigCommerce

BigCommerce logo

"We've been so thankful to Bonusly for helping us allow peer recognition to come through organically—it's just been so helpful for keeping us together," says Victoria. "It builds up our team morale and lets us signal to each other that we’re going to continue to lift each other up and we’re going to continue to strive together." 

3. Company Core Values

"All recognition in Bonusly is connected to hashtags of our company values: #teamonamission, #makeadifferenceeveryday, #thinkbig, #customersfirst, and #actwithintegrity. With Bonusly, we can easily tie our behaviors to our values every day. It fosters a culture that you want to be a part of.”

“Company values matter because employees face tough decisions every day. The right way isn’t always the easy way, and you want employees to do what’s right for your organization every time. This has been only more true during the pandemic, when people have been working from home and have less daily guidance or interaction with their managers and team members. With Bonusly, we're able to reinforce those values and have employees champion what it means to be a part of BigCommerce."

Lindsey Kampmeier |

Ordermark logo

4. Virtual celebrations

"Our sales team had established norms for celebrating in Slack when they close deals, so they continued doing shout-outs that way when we went remote. But other teams didn't have those traditions in place, so the majority of individual contributions weren't getting recognized or surfaced to the whole organization.”

“I saw that Bonusly could address both of these concerns. It was a really impactful tool for us to adopt while we were remote and needing new ways to engage with one another."

5. Award nominations

"We leverage Bonusly Analytics to choose the recipients for our more formal monthly Ordy Awards. Bonusly has made our nominations process more equitable and data-driven.”

“We used to try collecting nominations from employees," says Lindsey. "Now, we look at who received the most recognition for a specific Company Value Hashtag in the last month. It's a far more reliable and fair way to recognize and reward those top performers."

Becky Cantieri | SurveyMonkey

surveymonkey logo

6. Visible recognition

"Feeling valued and recognized is important to the human condition. Recognition delights us and energizes us to do more" 

"We were one of the earlier adopters of Bonusly. It’s core to our recognition program and a thoughtful way to connect the work of our employees to the value they deliver for our customers."

"Recognition helps ensure employee efforts are visible and that they feel appreciated.”

Nicole Pigeon | Solugenix


7. Inclusive, visible recognition 

Inconsistent recognition wasn't motivating their hybrid team

"It's hard for call center employees to stand out," says Nicole Pigeon, the Operations & Account Manager for Customer Support Services at Solugenix, an IT services firm. 

"When a call center support member has an exceptional call, the customer might be pleased, but leadership doesn’t necessarily hear from that customer. With our old recognition program, it was hard to see, let alone celebrate, these wins."

"It was also discouraging that we didn’t recognize everyone equally. Our work environment includes on-site and remote workers, and sometimes the contributions of our remote employees were less visible than their on-site counterparts."

"Bonusly gave everyone an equal voice. Managers and leaders suddenly had visibility into positive customer interactions and ways that people help each other—all things they couldn’t see before."

"We saw high rates of adoption and positive feedback about Bonusly from the start," Nicole says. "People are impressed that our engagement is so high, but I’m not surprised. Our company is all about supporting and recognizing one another, regardless of where someone works. That does wonders for morale."

8. Connecting teams after acquisition

When Solugenix acquired the company Nicole and her 100-person team worked for, they added their HR and IT support staff to Bonusly to encourage everyone to become familiar with their new colleagues.

"We had to scale quickly and effectively, and we used Bonusly to help us achieve that," Nicole says. "It helped integrate our folks into the larger team in a natural way."

9. Morale and motivation

"Bonusly worked wonders for team morale during the fast growth and uncertainty of acquisition and the quick move to remote work during the pandemic," Nicole remarks.

"We saw increased engagement as people began to work from home and praise each other on the platform. Everyone can view that praise, which is great exposure for individuals and teams."

"It’s pretty simple—when people are recognized for their hard work, they feel better about their job, and do better work.”

Scott Orn | Kruze Consulting

Kruze logo

10. Managing burnout during stressful times

During the busy tax season, when the IRS and state tax agencies were experiencing extreme delays that impacted Kruze Consulting's clients, Scott used Bonusly with Frame AI to automate recognition for customer wins. Frame AI is a product that analyzes customer interactions to generate actionable data about customer sentiment, customer effort, and team effort.

With Bonusly and Frame AI together, Scott says his team has "a way to publicly recognize people who jump into the fray to put out fires, meet urgent deadlines, solve specific issues, and handle behind-the-scenes work." In the midst of an increasingly frustrating situation for Kruze's clients, managers of customer success were equipped to encourage and champion their teams.

"This work often goes unnoticed, and the last thing we want is for people to feel their contributions aren't appreciated," he says.

Matthew Lane | Reach Engine

Reach Engine logo

11. Sense of belonging

“Our most recent cohort of interns asked to be part of Bonusly because they felt like they were missing out. Something as simple as giving our interns their own Bonusly accounts has helped them feel like they’re part of our team.” 

“Some of them are only here two days a week and some of them work remotely, but Bonusly gives them that sense of togetherness and belonging that I think is extremely important in maintaining a healthy corporate culture.”

Final thoughts

Employee recognition is the most impactful way to champion your team. In today’s war for talent, top team and company leaders understand the value of true employee recognition when it comes to appreciating and retaining their star employees. 

By reading this guide, you should now have all the tools you need to start building a culture of recognition on your team. By ensuring that employee recognition is effective by making it timely, frequent, specific, visible, inclusive, and values-based, your team and company will quickly experience its many benefits. 

A dedicated employee recognition program like Bonusly makes building a recognition-rich culture on your team simple. We invite you to start a free trial or join us for a demo to learn more about how you can start building a recognition-rich organizational culture.

Start building a recognition-rich culture

With those examples in mind, consider how to implement your own unique and creative employee recognition ideas, and start building a recognition-rich organizational culture!

Try employee recognition with Bonusly

At Bonusly, we use peer-to-peer recognition to celebrate success, engage our team, and show appreciation for our teammates' contributions.

Every month, users get a Bonusly allowance, and with that allowance, users can give small bonuses to their peers, direct reports, and managers to recognize their contributions in real time.

Employees can redeem the points they've earned in our extensive digital reward catalog.

The catalog is full of rewards options like gift cards and charitable donations, but it's completely customizable. You can add unique rewards like extra PTO, company-­branded gear, or lunch with the CEO.

Each time someone is recognized by a colleague for doing something valuable, the whole team is notified and is given a chance to join in on the celebration.

We invite you to start a free trial or join us for a demo to learn more about how you can start building a recognition-rich organizational culture.

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