If you’re looking for some employee recognition ideas, have a look at these. Some are old as time, some are a bit new! Which do you use in your business?

Volunteering days that actually sound fun

Studies have shown that employees want to feel part of something bigger than themselves. A day of rewarding volunteering might not only galvanize your team but also improve your local community, economy or environment. When we say volunteering, you don’t have to litter pick like a Womble or do something that makes you groan.  Think about how you could use your skills to give back – whether that’s some digital training, mentoring or fundraising. What about a sponsored run, paint-balling day or something else that’s active?

Job swaps

Job swaps are not only fun and interesting, they spark debate and also understanding! Let your best employees become the CEO for the day, run the sales team or get involved in marketing.

Employee of the week/ day 

Employee of the month is so 90’s. With digital screens now a mainstay in many offices, why not make an employee of the day?

Take a paid day of leave

Paid leave is unrivaled in terms of memorability. We all love a gift or a perk, but a day off with family or friends is even better.

A gift card (and time to spend it!) 

A gift card to a store they love or a multi retailer shows that you appreciate their work and that you want them to make the most of it. Even better – let them have a half day to go and pick their items with the gift card.


A small thank you on a card, handwritten by the CEO and a lottery ticket is something that costs around £2 – £3 but will have a lasting effect, even if they lose!


The humble hamper has been a staple of rewards and incentives for years – with good reason. Although a bit cumbersome to buy and store – they are very striking to receive and look very high quality. You never forget a great hamper!

Peer to peer recognition 

What’s better than a colleague nominating you for an award? Why not try something simple, like the ‘Hat of Thanks’ – that even the shyest person can put on someones desk, or use ‘fluffies’ to allow blush free, Brit appropriate thanks. You might also use a reward platform that could give points, notifications or even a gift card to the winners.

Temperature gauge

Who’s on fire in your workplace? A vinyl or cardboard temperature gauge for sales, customer service or speed can all be a great visual benchmark that keeps the spirit of competition alive!

Go home early 

Great team work? Smashing targets? Let your people go home early. If your mentality is ‘bums on seats’  or ‘if we let your team go, the rest have to go’ then it’s time to rethink – a day of being let out early can reap endless rewards and you need to treat people as individuals.


Get a BBQ fired up or use a breakout area to host a buffet. Make it a surprise and bring in everyone in the office. Get the fridge ready for any leftovers – and bag up goodies for their family.

Home delivery 

The office should be bleeding into home life if it’s for a positive reason. Why not look at the new cake and flower delivery services popping up and treat your staff to a surprise thanks when they expect it least.

A budget for change

Challenge your business superstars to make the best changes they can for a better workplace in the next month with a set budget. Provide a credit card or petty cash and the limits and wait and see. They might give prospects or clients gifts, or perhaps they will buy a running machine or a picnic bench.  Let them choose!

Free fuel for adventures
Ever ask your employees what they are up to at the weekend and hear ‘meh, not much’. Why not offer them mileage back if they can prove they went somewhere unusual and exciting? Ask for photos and receipts from their adventure. Alternatively, top up a fuel card and let them take a road trip.

Dress down days

Let your star employees enjoy dress down days as a thanks. In fact – why not get the whole business dressing down?


Set the objective, and set the committee. From a better way of improving well being to options on how to improve the customer journey, engage your whole business with a challenge. Get mini snacks and gifts as giveaways for great ideas.

Culture quiz

How do you engage people when it comes to your mission? Why not make an hour for decorating a Mission staement rocket? Or creating a collage wall, or a drawing that makes it come to life? Too woolly? Run a quiz on culture and your mission and reward the right answers with snacks!

Surprise Desk Gifts

Have an in house desk gift that can be passed around the business. What about an award or a special sign, chair or cuddly toy that denotes great work? Get it on the desks in the evening so in the morning it’s there and waiting.

An office with silence is a bit drab. Get the music on!
Morning chanting

It’s a bit 90’s Media, but a hearty cheer, chant or applause session in the morning – or even a message piped through the buildings intercom could be inspiring!

Remember When Boards

Create your own culture on fast track with a ‘remember when’ board. Encourage employees to add photos of themselves as babies, any nights out (keep it away from client eyes!) and any quotes from the workplace. Ensure someone prints off new pictures regularly so it feels alive!
What other ideas do you have for brilliant engagement?

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