Unique Ways to Recognize Your Employees in the Office

Recognition is one of the top drivers of motivation, but how successful is your current program? Hanging up a photo on an Employee of the Month wall or adding an employee’s name to a small plaque isn’t an effective way to recognize your top employees.

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After all the hard work and dedication that they’ve shown to earn recognition, your employees deserve an award or recognition program that’s equally unique, creative, and rewarding.

Here are some fun ideas to revamp your employee recognition program:

Custom Portraits

Hire an artist to create a custom painting, caricature, or drawing of your Employee of the Month. Employees can either display the portrait at their desk or home, or you can create an Employee Wall of Fame to hang all the portraits—it’s a fun way to add character to the office decor.

Traveling Trophy

Choose a trophy that’s passed along to each new Employee of the Week or Month. It can be an actual trophy or a statue, action figure, stuffed animal, lava lamp—whatever you think will capture the spirit and energy of your company culture.

Catered Reception

Host a quarterly catered breakfast or lunch for top performing employees. This is a great way to not only champion your employees’ success, but also to create a space for your top talent to mingle, share ideas, and build collaborative relationships.

Lunch with the CEO

Treat your top performers or Employees of the Month to a lunch with the CEO or other executives in the company. A one-on-one lunch is a perfect setting for execs to get a pulse on the company and hear feedback from engaged employees. Developing relationships with management also goes a long way toward retaining top talent.

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Food Trucks

Bring a food truck to the building to serve up a meal or dessert to the whole office. Whether you want to celebrate a major goal accomplishment or just treat your employee champions on a beautiful summer afternoon, food trucks are always a welcome reward.

Social Media Spotlight

Feature top performing employees on your company website and/or social media profiles. You can write up an Employee of the Month profile or film an interview that showcases the employee and their work. These profiles also help to build your company brand and put a “face to the name”.


Provide a forum for employees to publicly champion the great work of their peers. Whether you send out a weekly company-wide email or hold a shout-out meeting, give your employees the platform to brag about their teammates. It’s fun, it builds camaraderie, it drives employee motivation, and it highlights top performers who might otherwise fly under the radar.

Coffee Shop Work Day

Take your top performing department on a field trip to a work-friendly cafe, bookstore, or restaurant. A little change of scenery can get the creative juices flowing.


Turn goal setting and performance tracking into a game. Reward your employees with badges when they accomplish a goal or reach a certain milestone or metric. The badges can be displayed at the employee’s desk or on a wall so that teammates can see how they stack up against each other. Gamifying turns employee recognition into a little friendly competition.

Gift Cards or Bonus Days

Reward your Employee of the Month with a gift card to a local restaurant or their favorite store or website. Or give them some well-deserved R&R with an extra day off, half-day, or work-from-home day.

Keep better track of your employees’ performance with HR technology solutions.