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Key Trends In Employee Recognition In 2022

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Key Trends In Employee Recognition In 2022

Employee recognition is perhaps one of the most important contributing factors toward boosting workforce morale, enhancing productivity, and building a positive work environment. Let’s gaze into the crystal ball and see the key trends in employee recognition in 2022 that organizations should consider while designing their HR game plan for the year.

Also read: Key Trends for Employee Recognition in 2023

What will drive Changes in Employee Recognition in 2022?

Integrate Reward and Recognition with Innovation Efforts

Between 2020 and 2021, the workplace has seen massive shifts in its operating model, driven primarily by the pandemic and its aftermath.

Organizations have adopted hybrid and digital working in a way never seen before in such a short period.

No doubt this momentum of change will carry forward even in 2022 and bring significant changes in the HR landscape.

Employee rewards and recognition too should see significant changes in sync with the overall changes in the HR model.

What will be the Key Trends in Employee Recognition in 2022?

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Given the huge acceleration of changes in HR models over the last two years,

2022 is likely to see big changes in the way organizations manage their employee rewards and recognition.

Here are the key employee recognition trends in 2022 that can help organizations devise the right policies for implementing programs effectively and maximizing business benefits:

What will be the key trends in Employee Recognition in 2022?

1. Employee Recognition in Traditional Industries

How to implement an Employee Rewards Program in a Manufacturing Company?

2022 should see far greater adoption of employee rewards and recognition by organizations in more traditional and mature industries such as manufacturing, construction, retail, and logistics.

These industries have predominantly blue and grey-collared employees.

Traditionally, employees in these organizations have been left out of such programs.

Or such programs would have been restricted only to the white-collared staff in the organization. 

However, there have been big changes in the habits and preferences of blue-collar employees.

Though less qualified than their white-collared counterparts, they are reasonably digitally savvy and are big users of mobile apps such as social media and online shopping.

Hence, we should see a significant increase in the rollout of employee recognition programs in traditional industries, powered by digital recognition apps and platforms.

2. Bigger push towards Digital


The exponential rise of remote working teams and hybrid workplaces has resulted in a significant rise in the popularity of digital recognition solutions.

Existing rewards and recognition programs are likely to get digitized at an even faster pace to generate higher efficiencies, higher effectiveness, and eventually higher returns on investments.

‘Go digital’ is the mantra for all organizations, across industries. HR processes especially employee recognition are on the radar of most organizations in their push toward digital.

3. More Global Programs

Virtual Awards Ceremony

Hybrid and remote working have brought employees across multiple locations closer and resulted in higher levels of collaboration.

Organizations are now looking at global rewards and recognition programs that can cover their entire workforce, no matter where they are based.

The use of digital platforms will enable organizations to roll out and manage global recognition programs seamlessly without much administrative overhead.

These platforms can also ensure that a fair bit of localization is possible including language, currency, and reward options.

4. Tighter Linkages with KRAs and Work Systems

Importance of Intrinsic Rewards for Motivating Employees

Historically, employee recognition programs have operated in isolation. They have been predominantly driven by manual nominations from managers and team leaders.

This is based on their qualitative assessment of the employees’ achievements or performance against the predefined criteria for recognition.

In 2022, we should see a greater movement towards building stronger linkages between the KRAs, recognition criteria, and recognition. 

We would see deeper integration between employee recognition platforms and work systems such as CRM, PMS, and LMS.

Employee achievements or performance metrics captured in these systems would trigger recognition in the recognition system through integration if the criteria are met.

This will make the whole process of recognition more data-driven, transparent, and real-time.  

Employees will be able to align their efforts towards over-achieving their targets; knowing well that they will receive rewards and recognition once they get there.

5. Gamification of Work


In 2022, organizations should be looking at driving increasing gamification of work through employee rewards and recognition programs.

The use of digital employee recognition platforms, complete with rewards points, digital badges, leaderboards, e-certificates, e-gift cards, and mobile apps should become much more prevalent.

These game elements will help organizations enhance the employee experience of these programs and make them more interesting and appealing.

This in turn will help in motivating and engaging the employees more effectively.

This would drive higher participation in employee recognition programs.

6. Recognition for Driving Engagement

Social Recognition as a Multiplier for Employee Recognition?

‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy’ –this popular adage will drive more and more organizations to turn towards gamification of work in 2022.

With a growing proportion of millennials in the workforce, organizations would need to look beyond the ‘run-out-of-the-mill’ rewards and recognition programs to engage their employees and drive greater impact.

2022 should see an increasing use of informal or fun awards.

These would be aimed at creating a positive, informal, and fun-filled environment at work.

Rewards and recognition will also become an integral part of most employee engagement activities, be it fun at work or team building.

This will help organizations drive higher levels of interest, participation, and involvement of employees in such programs.

That, in turn, will enhance the effectiveness and impact of the programs.

7. Recognition as a Culture Building Tool

Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organizational Culture

Recognition is a powerful tool in the HR toolkit.

In 2022, we should see more widespread use of recognition to drive specific behaviors among the workforce that are aligned with the core values and the desired culture of the organization.

Promoting peer-to-peer recognition will enable organizations to create a more positive work environment.

It will also help reinforce their core values among their employees.

The cultural impact of employee recognition will become much more profound in 2022.

8. Recognition for Learning and Development

Learning and Development can Promote Employee Engagement

The massive shifts in the operating models of organizations have placed tremendous focus on upskilling and talent development.

Learning and development will be one of the top HR priorities for organizations in 2022.

Organizations should leverage employee rewards and recognition as an effective way to motivate and engage employees in their learning journeys.

Employee can be rewarded and recognized for achieving their learning milestones, through monetary benefits and social visibility.

Rewards and recognition for learning and development can be achieved through gamification of the entire learning process.

Learning management systems (LMS) will get increasingly integrated with employee recognition platforms.

This will enable employees to get rewarded and recognized in real-time as they go through the process.

Read the A Guide to Rewards and Recognition for Learning and Development


Understanding the key trends in employee recognition in 2022 can help organizations formulate the right programs or make appropriate changes in existing ones, to maximize their impact, in the face of massive changes in the business environment.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. 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.