5 Employee Recognition Ideas Worth Using in 2023

Happy diverse team provides one coworker with well-deserved employee recognition.

May 1, 2023

No one likes feeling overworked and under appreciated. Employee recognition programs help to ensure that there’s a formalized structure and process in place so that every employee feels appreciated and praised for their hard work. But as is the case for employees themselves, no two employee recognition programs are alike.

With that in mind, here are several trends in employee recognition that the workplace is seeing more and more of! 

Humanize Recognition & Focus on Wellness 

Employee recognition goes beyond doling out points, plaques, and pins. In other words, it’s not just about calling out good work or providing rewards anymore.

A holistic and humanized approach to recognizing employees starts with providing a work environment that fosters psychological safety and encourages each employee to come to work as their whole self. If organizations fail to meet employees where they are foundationally, they’ll find that any additional recognition measures will prove far less effective.

With workplaces increasingly moving to hybrid models or remote models where the boundaries between work and non-work life blur, a focus on humanizing recognition from the ground up becomes even more important.

A focus on wellness is also increasingly important. Employees should feel that their organizations, as a whole, and their managers and teams, specifically, both value and support their mental health. This is especially important with Gen Z workers, who now make up ¼ of the workforce.

A recent Deloitte survey found that “less than half of Gen Zers say their boss helps them maintain a healthy workload, and 28% say they struggle with their mental health because of their boss.” Therefore, as a boss, leading with empathy is important to recognize employees for what they do as well as who they are.


Foster a Culture of Allyship for All

Research supports that on the whole, diverse workplaces are better workplaces. But diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have seen pushback in recent years. Luckily, as Gartner notes, there are ways to work past this pushback to better recognize everyone in your organization.

Your HR department would do well to first,  identify whether there’s pushback to DEI initiatives. If there is, from there, they can take certain measures such as tailoring DEI communications, embedding inclusive behaviors into performance evaluations, and leveraging willing DEI champions as role models.


Digitize & Gamify Recognition

As HiFives notes, digitization and gamification of recognition are important trends worth implementing.

While perhaps it goes without saying, hybrid and remote work has made employee recognition more challenging in certain instances. 

Using employee recognition software and programs like ours can go a long way toward building impactful ways of communicating recognition and praise to employees.

Gamification can help even more by making recognition an interactive, fun process that feels natural and encourages participation rather than feeling trite or forced.


Encourage Recognition From Both Leaders & Peers

It’s important to include leaders in recognition efforts so that your employees feel like their work is appreciated and noticed at all levels of the organization. This not only helps them feel more valued holistically but also can give the sense that their hard work is getting noticed, making them more confident about their abilities and potential to grow and advance internally.

Just as important, however, is peer-to-peer communication and recognition. Fostering a culture where team members build each other up and revel in each other’s wins makes everyday work at the ground level more enjoyable and fosters productivity and collaboration.

Businesspeople shake hands as part of employee recognition.

Offer Continuous Recognition Alongside Formalized Reviews


Formalized reviews used to be the major means of providing employee feedback and positive recognition. But today, it’s important to foster open communication and dialogue with your employees. 

Recognition is becoming increasingly less siloed to a once-a-year or once-a-quarter event. This not only helps employees take in feedback and make adjustments if needed in the moment, but it also takes the pressure off being recognized.  

When employees realize you come to them regularly to recognize their achievements and contributions, they’re more likely to come to you, whether to provide feedback and recognition or for other concerns or questions. This makes the workplace run more smoothly as a whole, and it also helps to build a culture of positive psychological safety for both employees and leadership as a part of everyday processes and norms. 


Learn More


No two employees are alike, and neither are any two recognition programs. But by instituting some or all of the above ideas for employee recognition in 2023, you’re sure to help promote an employee experience where all employees feel recognized, valued, and seen. 

Want to learn more about how to foster a healthier and more productive workplace environment? Contact STRIVE to build a better employee experience today!