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Companies with the Best Employee Recognition Programs

According to Gallup, a great recognition system helps organizations drive engagement and reinforce the organization’s culture. So, let’s take a look at the companies with the best employee recognition programs.

These companies have succeeded in integrating recognition with employee engagement, to improve the efficiency and retention of their workforce.

Which Organizations Have the Best Recognition Programs?

The key to creating a great employee recognition program is to look beyond giving something to high-performing employees.

Hence, the focus needs to be on creating a strong bond between employees and the organization.

Integrate Reward and Recognition with Innovation Efforts

The following are examples of 6 companies that have managed to do this.

These companies have come up with truly exclusive recognition programs to reinforce their employer brands and boost productivity:

1. Zappos 

Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organizational Culture

Zappos is a multinational e-commerce chain with a sizeable workforce.

Zappos has a layered employee recognition strategy in sync with its motto – ‘To Live and Deliver WOW!’.

It is based on the peer-to-peer format and enables the employees to share low-cost and high-frequency rewards.

It also provides for peer-to-peer bonuses and HERO awards, complete with a proper HERO Cape.

This program enables employees to earn Zappos Dollars for participating in various training programs. These dollars are redeemable for goodies at the office.

2. O.C.Tanner


The organization excels in both employee recognition and engagement initiatives.

OC Tanner’s reward strategy is focused on maintaining the novelty and uniqueness of the program.

It covers custom trophies, gift cards, personalized merchandise, social buttons, as well as emblematic and symbolic awards.

Additionally, they focus on building a work culture based on peer-to-peer recognition to develop strong relationships among employees and great teamwork.

3. Google


Google’s renowned employee rewards and recognition initiatives make it one of the best organizations to work for.

Google focuses on making employees feel valued when receive peer-to-peer recognition called “Thanks”.

The initiative enables co-workers to recognize their colleagues and nominate them for the peer bonus program.

There is a designated “The Wall of Happy”, where employees can place thank you and appreciation notes for their colleagues.

The organization also offers a wide range of awards including spot bonuses and personalized awards.

4. Apple

Fun Awards

Apple turns employee recognition into a celebration by organizing various events to entertain and motivate the employees.

“Beer Bash” is a popular event with free beer and appetizers for employees and musical performances by renowned artists.

Also, the company supports smart and innovative members of its workforce in their career-building efforts.

It also offers a range of recognition benefits including discounted products, tuition reimbursement, health insurance, 401(k) plans, and parental leaves.

5. Nike


This global leader in health and sports goods is known for various initiatives to keep its employees engaged and motivated.

It offers competitive total compensation, and opportunities to stay fit, and ensures the well-being of their families.

In this context, the organization offers benefits such as paid sabbaticals, tuition assistance, and even product discounts.

Nike has an online platform, named “NikeU” that helps employees with leadership development efforts.

6. Salesforce

Fun Activities

This cloud computing organization, based in San Francisco ensures great recognition practices through its “Aloha culture” at the workplace.

The organization motivates its employees to interact kindly and honestly with their coworkers.

It creates a fun work culture and recognizes the hard work of its employees. The company offers free snacks and beverages to employees throughout the day.

It also gives out Giant’s tickets to employees for referrals and an additional bonus for those whose referrals get placed.


Looking at the various employee recognition programs running in these highly rated companies, it is clear that linking the organization’s strategy and values to a successful recognition program is the key to success in highly competitive markets. 

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurship experience. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.