10 Employee Recognition Ideas and Examples (Samples + Templates)

10 Employee Recognition Ideas and Examples (Samples + Templates)

Timely, authentic recognition is essential for keeping employees engaged and motivated. Use these examples to help you create better, more engaging recognitions for your team members.

Fly high with Cooleaf's experience management platform

We all want to feel inspired, empowered, and engaged at work. However, only 15% of employees feel engaged in their current roles.

A big part of the reason employees aren't engaged? They don’t feel appreciated.

Nothing saps employee engagement like feeling under-appreciated. Research shows that 64% of employees wish their managers would regularly thank them in a timely, specific way. In addition, 75% of employees agree that their motivation and morale would improve if managers said thank you more often and acknowledged great work.

It can be hard to find the proper words to say thank-you. But recognizing your team doesn’t have to be difficult. Here's 10 employee recognition examples you can use right now.

Tips for effective employee recognition

Before we jump into the full list, here’s three important tips to recognize your team effectively:

Be Timely - immediate recognition is more powerful than delayed recognition. Show your awareness of your team's efforts with an in-the-moment shout-out.

🧐 Be Specific - use detail to emphasize the impact that they made. Acknowledge the hurdles they may have tackled or ideas they shared.

🙌  Make it personal - include GIFs, emojis, or images to make your recognition more memorable.

Add GIFs and images to make peer recognition more fun

Now, onto the examples!

Teamwork and Collaboration

Peer recognition for great teamwork and collaboration

When team members work together, everyone wins. These examples are perfect for giving a a simple shout-out to a coworker for lending a hand or sharing expertise.


On behalf of the whole team, thank you so much for jumping in and helping with this project! We know you are swamped and appreciate your assistance and expertise!

Thank you for setting up a quick Zoom meeting so you could walk me through a very specific task in our project management software. I’m sure you have been slammed, and I really appreciate you taking the time to walk me through it!

Thank you all for your continued efforts and endless patience with this project. The amount of last-minute reviews, data tracking, and transfer updates is immensely appreciated and we could not have got to this point without your help. I am beyond proud of our team during this stressful time. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Going the Extra Mile

Timely, authentic recognition motivates employees to go above and beyond

When someone goes above and beyond the call of duty, they deserve special recognition for their hard work and dedication. Here's how to thank a team member for excellent performance.


Migrations are hard, especially when working with unique use cases!  This week, we had to be creative when addressing the loss of a utilized feature. No worries though, because Samantha is on it, making sure that our partners know that we care about them and are willing to go above and beyond to address their needs with creative solutions! Thank you, Samantha, for making our customers so happy!

We're so lucky to have Rachel and Ana on our team. They are fantastic colleagues who always communicate transparently, find resolution and support in anyway possible. In multiple projects, despite the small team they have, I have witnessed them go the extra mile to support. Thank you for all your dedication. I am grateful to have colleagues like you!

Leadership and Coaching

Shine a light on amazing team leaders with Cooleaf's peer recognition

From motivating their teams, to developing new processes, team leaders have a lot on their plates. Steal these examples to recognize your team leaders and managers.


Erin has been killing it on getting our marketing efforts up and running. It's not easy to create new processes from scratch, but Erin approaches each new project with so much drive and creativity. Thank you so much for all you do. I'm so grateful for all of your guidance and knowledge!

Thank you so much, Steven, for your continuous training and guidance! You are always so encouraging and patient, and your process documents are so thorough and neat that it is just wonderful working with you. Thank you! Your knowledge, dedication and professionalism never cease to amaze me!

Wanted to sing the praises of Amelia, who time and time again proves to be a stellar Product Architect.  Amelia coordinated a huge deployment of software enhancements that stemmed from an extensive user testing project that Amelia developed and managed. Her understanding of our software suite and the customer needs led to a brilliantly communicated build. Thank you, Amelia!

Consistency and Reliability

Example of employee recognition for consistency and diligence

It's easy to find reasons to recognize your top performers. But what about those people who consistently show up and put in the effort? Often, it's those employees that are most at risk of feeling ignored and undervalued. Don't forget to celebrate effort and consistency as well as achievement.


Thank you for your work on the launch last week! This is something we have been working towards for a long time, and I really appreciate the effort and diligence that you demonstrated to help us get across the finish line. Fantastic job!

Rulonda, you are SUCH a source of stability, acceptance, kindness, and knowledge. Thank you for everything you do and for always offering a helping hand. I'm so glad to have you on the team!

Customer Service and Support

When managers thank their teams for providing excellent service, everyone wins

Handling tricky customer service issues takes skill, patience, and expertise. Sending words of thanks not only shows appreciation, but also emphasizes the importance of providing exemplary customer service. Happy employees = happy customers.

Tip: Whenever possible, share stories and screenshots from happy customers. Spotlight these positive examples to inspire and motivate your customer service team!


Brenda worked with a new client that had several challenges and a tight desired turnaround. She managed to get their project completed on time and the client expressed their highest praise and thankfulness to the team. We are expanding a new part of our business as a result of this success, and we couldn’t have done it without this strong team! Thank you!

Dustin was able to not only calm down a very upset customer, but also turn the situation into a positive! She ended the call by letting us know that he brightened her day, fixed her problem, and should get a raise!

Today, I received a positive supervisor call about Peyton's amazing customer service! Our customer, Sarah, described Peyton as patient, professional and a true problem solver! Due to recent issues, Sarah was planning to cancel her membership, but Peyton really made Refina's day! Amazing work, Peyton!

Jeff helped out on an important client call and really put himself in their shoes and addressed their needs and questions. You hit it out of the park, Jeff!

Incredibly thankful for our Support Team and the hard work they do to make sure the needs of our customers are met. This team is responsive to Success when we have client cases that require extra attention. We couldn't do our jobs without you!


Thank employees for creating new process improvements and sharing innovative ideas

Without innovation, no business can thrive. Luckily, your organization already has a great source of innovative ideas and creative solutions – your employees! When you thank employees for sharing new ideas and coming up with novel solutions to problems, you're fostering a culture of innovation and creativity.


Thank you for coming with thoughts and ideas on how to improve our processes to make us all more efficient. Keep it up!!!

Derrick’s overhaul of our client onboarding process has made managing new clients so much easier and collaborative. Thank you for taking on that project!

Jerry! Thank you for creating that new support flow for the team! It's going to save so much time this quarter.

Work Anniversary

Celebrate employee work anniversaries and milestones with automated rewards

Celebrating employee work anniversaries is a powerful way to express appreciation and gratitude. When a team member celebrates another year at your company, be sure to send them a kind word to share how much their contributions mean to you.

Tip: Share specific examples of big accomplishments and wins to shine a light on the employee's success!


Congratulations on your work anniversary! Just wanted to say how much I appreciate all your hard work and dedication. Thank you for everything you've accomplished this past year and for your continued contributions! Happy Anniversary!

Congratulations on your work anniversary! We really appreciate all that you do for us. Thank you for another great year here at {your company’s name}!

Sharon, congratulations on your 1-year anniversary at {company name}! Since you have started, you've added so much to the Support team. From taking care of our customers, to overhauling our customer onboarding process, your contributions have made a huge impact. We are so grateful for all you've achieved and all that you continue to do. Have an amazing day!

Accuracy and Attention to Detail

Recognize employees for demonstrating accuracy and attention to detail

From sales to marketing and support, attention to detail is important across every aspect of a business. Recognize employees for demonstrating care, focus, and attention to detail when on a tight deadline.


Nolan, you made a success out of a very challenging situation. Your attention to detail and pace, your thoughtful responses with a challenging client are to be commended! We can all learn from you!”

Katherine has been doing tremendous work creating and refining the onboarding process, while utilizing it in a rapid-fire turn around, and for that she deserves so much applause. Onboarding can be a back-and-forth process to begin with-- and has traditionally taken us a few weeks before go-live-- it's especially critical as we familiarize the customer with the platform and procedure but listen & adapt to their needs and hesitations. If you take a peek in the new orgs, she's built an experience that feels personal to the client with so much attention to detail, but is very much organized and orchestrated. Way to go, Katherine!

I have been so concerned about our latest evaluation forms - but they're detailed and the MOST important form in all of the acute evaluations.  Thank you so much for QAing them with a fine-toothed comb.  They look FANTASTIC and are going to be such a help to physicians and case managers as they move patients through the system to their next level of care.

Kindness and Positivity

Celebrate employees for demonstrating positivity and kindness

Attitude is everything. Employees who look on the bright side, even during challenging times, can help motivate others around them and make the workplace more fun. Celebrate those people on your team who demonstrate kindness and positivity with these recognitions.


Thanks to Sarah for always being so kind and easy to approach. I feel like none of my questions for her are ever easy, but she always finds me an answer -- and she does it with so much positivity!

Thank you for going above and beyond to make me feel special on my work anniversary.  Little things matter. And your kindness and genuine concern is incredible.

From the first moment she joined our team, Nancy has been nothing but supportive, helpful, and positive. Going beyond the requirements in every way, she joins my meetings on Zoom, contributes insightful comments, keeps everything organized, and offers assistance whenever needed. I feel so blessed to have such a warm, reliable, and trustworthy teammate, and I know our client’s experience is better for her presence too.

Thanks to Madison for being a social-media superstar! Her organization, creativity, and quick feedback make collaborating with this team a breeze. Kudos for your care, drive, and positivity as we prepare for December social media content!

Sales and Growth

Sales recognition from manager to team member

Sales isn't easy. While many sales teams rely on incentives to boost motivation, recognition is also important. The best sales leaders know that each member of the team deserves to be thanked for small wins as well as big achievements.


Wanted to take a moment to say thank you to David for all the hard work he's been putting in lately to build up our sales pipeline and push these deals forward. David, thanks for all the hard work and the never quit, positive attitude!

Awesome job on that sales call Matt! They had a lot of tough questions but I think they really felt in good hands with your responses and patience.

During a professional services call, Janie jumped on a call spur of the moment to give a customer a quote for add on training.  She finished the quote, sent it over, and customer signed at the end of the day before her vacation. So impressed with her persistence and grit!

10 Employee Recognition Ideas and Examples (Samples + Templates)

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