12 Companies with Best Employee Recognition Programs That are Winning Hearts

So, what makes a company “Great Place to Work”-certified? It’s the gold standard that’s set on parameters used to evaluate employee experience and culture. This in turn is shaped by the employee’s happiness and satisfaction at the workplace. Based on this Deloitte survey, while three-quarters of people are satisfied with a simple “thank you” for their efforts on a daily basis at the workplace, recognition for good work highly impacts employee engagement and directly correlates with job performance. Companies with best employee recognition programs realize the potential of creating meaningful and personalized relationships with their employees. This goes a long way in building a positive work culture and empowered workforce that’s set for success. 

Let’s dive in to see which companies are acing the game at keeping their employees happy with their employee recognition programs.

1. What Is An Employee Recognition Program?

An employee recognition program is a formally structured framework of initiatives designed to acknowledge and reward your employees’ contributions at the workplace. Organizations can tailor these programs based on company values, objectives and business goals to engage and motivate employees on a regular basis. The main aim of any employee recognition program is to motivate employees and build a more positive work culture. As humans, we all need validation occasionally to feel appreciated and to know our actions are going in the right direction. A well-structured program should ….

2. Significance Of Employee Recognition Programs

Significance Of Employee Recognition Programs


A comprehensive employee recognition program should be able to engage employees to make a solid impact. Companies with the best employee recognition programs use this as an opportunity to interact and tap into the pulse of the workforce.


Highly engaged employees are their productive best at the workplace since they are motivated in their actions when they are recognized for past contributions. Companies with best employee recognition programs consider both short term and long-term benefits of having a structured initiative to ensure their employees perform at peak performance consistently.


When employees are appreciated and recognized consistently, a company inspires more company loyalty and a spirit of unity. Such employees are more likely to stay back in an organization. What stands out for companies with best employee recognition programs are the engaging initiatives that make employees feel like they can plan long-term career progression in the company.

Positive Culture 

A motivated employee is a happy employee and companies with best recognition programs know it. When your employees know they are recognized for their efforts, they end up being more proactive at work and also positively influence their colleagues thereby creating a more positive work culture. 

3. 12 Companies With Best Employee Recognition Programs

3.1 HP Inc.

Tech giant, HP has made an excellent lineup of engagement initiatives that it implements to ensure a happy and motivated workforce. The “For Real Life” program provides all essential tools, technologies and other resources that employees can use to boost their holistic self-wellness. They also added more entertainment elements to their recognition platform by including virtual Saturday dance classes and guided cooking classes by Michelin chefs.

Apart from this, the company rewards employees who lend their time and monetary aid to a good cause with the ‘Good Card’ besides offering tutoring and home learning support alongside financial bonuses. 

3.2. Salesforce

On top of our list of the best employee recognition programs is Salesforce who promotes “Aloha”, a positive work culture based on wellness, customer success, innovation, winning as a team, fun, and giving back. The cloud computing organization’s motto is to ensure that the organization is a fun place to work. 

Besides providing free snacks and beverages, to keep its workforce motivated, all employees receive a $100 wellness credit on monthly basis so they can use in for fun activities like dance classes, gym membership, and more

3.3 Google

Another popular choice in companies with best employee recognition programs is Google’s employee rewards and recognition initiative. With a thanks-centric focus, all its efforts are directed towards making employees feel more valued through peer-to-peer recognitions. Co-workers can recognize good work and nominate their colleagues for a bonus program 

A dedicated space termed “The Wall of Happy”,is where employees can express their appreciation and post thank you messages or emails acknowledging their colleagues’ contributions. Besides these, Google also offer spot bonuses and awards for good performance on a regular basis 

3.4 Nike


As one of the companies with best employee recognition programs, Nike has to make it to our list. This global sports brand has a dynamic employee recognition program that’s designed to ensure their employees stay motivated and happy. By providing attractive compensation packages that cover not just them but their families, the organization promotes its value of employee well-being.

They also offer benefits such as in-house discounts for products, tuition fee reimbursement and paid sabbaticals. In an effort to boost employee development, Nike’s online employee-formed platform, “NikeUNITED” is designed to provide plenty of leadership and development opportunities to its diverse range of employees.

3.5 Gorilla Glue Company

The Gorilla Glue Company values lie in strength, loyalty, and innovation. Their ‘People Committee’ employee recognition initiatives are excellently designed to provide the right work culture for employees.

With a focus on creating an atmosphere that’s conducive to open and frank communication, the program includes team-building activities, open-ended group discussion and cross-divisional outings. 

3.6 Disney


Disney has over 180 employee recognition programs making it part of some global companies with best employee recognition programs. One of the distinctive ones is named after a long-term employee, called Fred, who worked for the company. Plaques titled, ‘Spirit of Fred’ are handed out to those who imbue the company values of friendliness and dependability. Close at the heels is the Disney Legends statue award given to anyone who has made a remarkable difference across the corporation.

Walt Disney also hands out Christmas holiday gifts, annual awards and pin badges to long-serving cast members from Disney resorts, parks, CruiseLine and Imagineering. Top-performing members who are nominated by their line managers can be selected for a lucky draw and then get a full-paid Disney vacation, a night to spend at the Cinderella castle, a chance to participate in a parade and be a part of filming shoots for Disney. 

Beside, these a few other special mentions would be guest service fanatic awards for on-the-spot recognition of non-salaried and backstage cast members, “Applaus-O-Grams” certificates for those who exceed daily work expectations, #CASTCOMPLIMENT social media recognition on Twitter, service awards for company loyalty

3.7 Deloitte

Ranked as one the “Most Attractive Employers” in the world in 2020, by Universum, a global employer branding firm, Deloitte knows how to engage and keep its employees happy. The company has a dedicated platform that’s designed to recognize and reward great work that employees have done in different roles. 

They also offer attractive leave options and gifts for milestone completion in professional space and personal lives such as wedding leave, curated baby gift baskets and service awards.

3.8 Apple 

Apple’s employee recognition program is all about celebrating the big and small wins through all kinds of various events for employees. One of the most popular of these is the “Beer Bashes”, where employees get to sample free beer and a wide range of appetizers to the employees while listening to great musical performances.

They also provide learning and development opportunities for career progression besides offering recognition benefits such as discounted products for employees.

3.9 ALKU

ALKU, a specialized consulting firm has implemented an employee recognition program known as the “Corporate Cup Program,’ that acknowledges and awards employees who have gone the extra mile while working remotely.

In addition to the awards initiative, the company also implemented a company branded ‘T-Shirt Program’ that facilitates peer-to-peer recognition for employees who have imbibed and actioned the company values and principles through their contributions at the workplace. These T-shirts have inspiring printed hashtags such as #BeAPro, #PitchYourNiche, and #FollowMyLead.

Another initiative is the ALKU Stimulus Package’ that celebrates and honors top-performing remote working  employees.

3.10 Cisco

Voted as one of the world’s best employers on the 2020 Forbes’ list, Cisco has implemented a    ‘Connected Recognition’ – a peer-peer reward and recognition program that enables employees to nominate their coworkers for cash prizes based on their exemplary work. In a bid to secure the long-term future plans for employees, they are also given an option to purchase Cisco stock using up to 10% of their salary.

Milestones such as first year and fifth years can be commemorated by choosing a prize or experience of the employee’s choice. All this besides paid offs for birthdays, discounted programs for its employees globally, reimbursements for tuition fees, lab fees and course books from accredited institutes, team outings and mind creativity initiatives. 

3.11 Zappos

Zappos, an online retailer’s employee recognition program promotes peer recognition in a unique manner. Employees can give $50 to each other for excellent work or for going that extra mile as on one of the programs they implement.

Another initiative that the company has is the Zollar Program that enables employees to credit points on a gift card that can in turn be used to buy functional items like desk fans, sippers, gym bags, and more. 

3.12 Typeform

Typerform’s employee recognition program is a simple yet meaningful way to recognize great work. Known as the ‘Spontaneous Applause’, this one encourages all the employees in the office  to clap for an employee who’s done a great job. The company also has a merit-based bonus system called ‘ Typecoins’ that can be used to get personalized gifts.

4 FAQ’s

  • What is the best reward for employee recognition?

The best reward to recognize an employee need not be limited to a monetary raise and can include awards, social media shoutouts, paid incentives for travel or meals, or also discounted prices of products and subscriptions.

  • What companies use reward systems?

Companies who are looking to build a positive culture for the organization and invest in their employees as long-term assets for the company’s sustainable growth use rewards systems.

  • How effective are employee recognition programs?

Companies with the best employee recognition programs are those who have seen a direct correlation between employee recognition and productivity at the workplace

  • What are the top 3 companies that come to mind when you think of an employee recognition program?

Disney, Zappos and Cisco are some companies with best employee recognition programs. For a more comprehensive list, take a look at our article above.

  • What are the types of employee recognition programs?

Some types of employee recognition programs are years of service awards, employee appreciation events, peer-peer reward and recognition program, weekly shoutouts on social media and internal company announcements.