The Guide to Modern Employee Recognition

Employee Recognition Tools and Resources

Successfully introducing the right kind of recognition tool can be the critical factor in differentiating your organization. Because of the strategic benefits of recognition, teams around the globe are increasingly using technology to power their recognition programs, integrating recognition into their culture.

What makes for a good employee recognition tool? It should:

  • Meet your team and employees where they’re at
  • Provide employee rewards
  • Include robust people analytics
  • Scale easily
Mountain path

Meet your team where they’re at

An effective recognition tool should be able to easily integrate into your team’s workflow. Start by thinking about where your team works, the devices available for work, and the software used for collaboration. In the modern workplace, teams are frequently located in different places, keep different office schedules, and often see each other intermittently.

If your team is centrally located in an office, a highly visible dashboard could be a great tool. On the other hand, a distributed team that travels frequently might prefer a mobile app with push notifications.


Easy ways to bring recognition tools into your existing workflows are through integrations. Pay special attention to tools that offer integrations with your collaboration tools HRIS systems, SSO solutions, and other areas.

Collaboration Tools

Slack is a useful tool for both real-time and asynchronous team communication. It also includes file sharing, contextual search (to help find important conversations and files anytime), and a huge list of app integrations. Slack's Bonusly integration makes it an excellent tool for employee recognition by allowing users to broadcast recognition activity to their team, and even give small bonuses without breaking their workflow.

We love Slack. It's our go-to communication and collaboration tool for nearly everything, and we frequently use it to give employee recognition.

Every time someone receives a small bonus, the entire company sees it pop up in our #recognition channel. Since we all practically live in Slack, it's a highly-visible way for everyone to see all the great work that happens on a daily basis, no matter which location they're working from.

Other great collaboration tools include Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts Chat, which also have Bonusly integrations.

Bonusly integrations graphic

HRIS integrations

Your HRIS system includes valuable data about your employees, from their birthdays to organization connections to contact information. Many employee recognition tools can sync data between systems to reduce the administrative effort required to implement and maintain programs.

When looking for a solution to help manage your team accounts automatically, consider systems like BambooHR, Namely, Workday, Zenefits, or ADP. Bonusly has integrations for these and more.

Other integrations

Zapier is a powerful platform that allows you to easily connect the different apps you use to automate tedious tasks. Zapier's Bonusly integration allows teams to integrate recognition into Zapier’s catalog of over 1,500 different apps, including Hubspot, Small Improvements, and Asana. Here are some templates for inspiration.


From big to small, think about the screens your team works on.

We have offices in New York City, Seattle, and Boulder, CO. To make sure we're always aware of the great work everyone is doing despite the distance that separates us, we project a dashboard displaying all the recognition going on throughout the day. It's impossible to miss, and there's something special about seeing your achievements posted in a larger-than-life format.

For our smallest screens, we use iOS and Android mobile apps to make sure we don’t miss recognition in action.


When you think you’ve found a tool that seems to fit the bill, test its usability. Is the experience intuitive across platforms? Think about the different people who will ultimately use the tool on a regular basis.

Provide employee rewards

Modern employee recognition is powerful, but if your recognition tools don’t offer employee rewards, your field of dreams could be nothing more than a cornfield.

Effective employee recognition tools allow users to recognize each other with praise backed up by real-world rewards. Our research shows that even small rewards with real-world value encourage users to give recognition more frequently and by more people than.

According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report, “employees respond favorably to agile compensation programs that provide raises, bonuses, or other incentives more often than the traditional once-a-year rewards system.” One study even “found that employees who receive regular small rewards, in the form of money, points, or thanks, are a staggering eight times more engaged than those who receive compensation and bonus increases once a year.”

In order to enjoy all the benefits of frequent recognition (i.e., increased employee engagement and retention), you’ll need to encourage your employees to engage with your recognition program and make recognition a habit. The promise of rewards can be enough to get your employees over the hump that adopting new tech tools so often presents. By linking recognition to rewards, you can actually facilitate more meaningful exchanges.

Learn more about the link between recognition and rewards with this post: Accelerate Your Employee Recognition Program with Meaningful Rewards.


Include robust people analytics

How do you gauge the success of your staff appreciation program? By measuring it! 📐

There are a number of great tools available to help you determine the effectiveness of any recognition program you implement. They can provide insights into recognition trends in your organization and help you learn where team members excel with detailed analytics and reporting.

Look for tools that allow you to easily see team engagement in aggregate as well as which employees stand out as recognition and engagement. Use data to understand team dynamics, who’s recognized most frequently, and what they're being recognized for.

Bonusly Employee analytics

Bonusly's employee analytics uses the rich social data produced by the giving of small bonuses and transforms it into useful data, predictive metrics, and timelines. It includes organization graphs, participation charts, and word clouds, as well as information on recognition by team, location, and company values.

Bonusly employee analytics can help you to see which employees are standing out as excellent contributors, and which employees might need extra support to help them succeed. You can also measure the effectiveness and overall engagement of your staff recognition program.

Bonusly employee analytics chart

Scale easily

Running a recognition program requires time and effort from your team. It includes plenty of planning, oversight, and consistency for everyone involved. Fortunately, tools can help your team easily scale recognition programs.

Look for tools that can help you onboard new team members quickly, require little maintenance, automate rewards redemption, and provide strong integrations. Finding the right tool will help you minimize the administration time needed to build a recognition-rich culture.

To make things even easier, look for tools that can manage work anniversary bonuses, birthday bonuses, and other automated or manual awards.

Employee Recognition Resources

There are many excellent information resources available to help you improve all aspects of organizational culture, from employee recognition to employee engagement. Here are a few great reads:

Bonusly Blog

The Bonusly blog covers a range of useful topics including leadership and management tips, creative employee reward ideas, and employee engagement advice with downloadable templates and resources throughout. You'll find engaging infographics and regular interviews with industry experts and culture leaders who share their insights on a range of important topics.

Here are some of our most popular posts on employee recognition:


Gallup, a workplace consulting and global research group conducts a ton of research on employee engagement, which means they have a lot to say about employee recognition, too. While the Gallup blog extends beyond employee recognition, it's a go-to resource for a myriad of aspects that effect the global workforce.


TLNT is a publication focused on HR news and insights. There are articles ranging from HR basics, to more complicated subjects like onboarding techniques, narrowing workforce skills gaps, and improving employee retention.

Next Steps

Now that you know what to look for in employee recognition tools and have a few resources to bookmark, 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.

When you’re ready to learn about unique examples of employee recognition in action, take a look at our guide’s next section.

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