With so many different employee recognition platforms available, figuring out which is the right one for you is hard. You know you want to recognize your employee's achievements regularly to keep engagement high, but you need to figure out which tool is best. In this post, I'll help you make your choice easier by sharing my insights on the best employee recognition platforms you can use to celebrate your top talent and keep them motivated.
What is an Employee Recognition Platform?
Employee recognition platforms are tools that help organizations recognize their staff through public praise, perks, and rewards programs, creating a positive workplace culture that celebrates great work and success. These tools give employees a voice and the ability to praise each other through public kudos that connect recognition with your company's core values. Some also have a rewards catalog where employees can redeem points for gift cards, company swag, charitable donations, or other unique rewards.
Employee recognition platforms ultimately make employees feel more valued, making them more likely to stay with your company longer. They use automation to simplify the process of acknowledging employee contributions and key milestones, reducing administrative burdens on your staff to manually track achievements and dates. They also make it easier to showcase your workplace culture, build camaraderie between teams, and reward good work with perks.
Mo, which is short for Moments, helps you recognize the great work your coworkers do every day by posting Moments of appreciation and celebration via their mobile app or website. Businesses can post a Moment, tag your company values, and add an on-the-spot reward to incentivize top performers' positive behaviors. The platform is a popular choice for small teams and enterprise organizations alike.
Why I picked Mo: I included Mo because their platform measurably increases employee retention and engagement by boosting morale and building a connected culture that people don’t want to leave. Mo is a new kind of reward and recognition platform that makes it easy for busy managers to meaningfully recognize, engage, and connect with their teams. Often, recognition tools fail because they're focused on top-down recognition, are based only on transactional rewards, and only benefit the highest performers with generic gift cards. This leaves the majority of your people feeling invisible and under-appreciated.
Mo does things differently: they equip managers with weekly suggestions to energize and connect with their people, help teams build habits of recognition into their day-to-day rhythms, and go beyond simple rewards as a way to motivate staff. With Mo, it’s easy to design and automate your rewards and recognition program, with a huge range of rewards to choose from, including top brands like Amazon, Doordash, Uber, Starbucks, Deliveroo, and ASOS. Their rewards and recognition platform is also available across 26 countries and in 12 languages, making them a great choice for multi-national organizations.
Mo Standout Features & Integrations:
Features include Boosts, a performance-enhancing automation that prompts people to post wins, recognition, key results, and more so that over time, these consistent habits transform culture and performance. You can implement peer-to-peer rewards with full budget control, and manage awards and nominations, from Employee of the Month to Sustainability Superhero.
Mo offers an Assistant tool for leaders, which ensures that your busy people managers create a more consistent employee experience across your company, while role-modeling positive behaviors. The Assistant feature reminds leaders of upcoming employee occasions such as birthdays and work anniversaries, and if they haven't shared appreciation with a coworker in a while, it prompts them to do so.
Mo also includes tools to help employees create vibrant personal profiles where they can share working preferences, hobbies, and interests, enabling people to connect over common ground. You can pin your favorite Moments to your personal highlights reel and use them in future performance reviews.
Other features include sophisticated budget management functionalities and analytics, so you can control your spending, run reports, keep your accounting team happy, and analyze the success of your employee recognition efforts.
Integrations are available with popular communication tools like email systems, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. Their platform is also fully GDPR compliant and secure (ISO 27001 accredited).
Deel is a comprehensive HR solution that covers virtually all aspects of your core HR functions. It offers payroll, onboarding and offboarding, workflow and document management, and other helpful tools, and enables businesses to hire and manage employees and contractors from over 150 countries. The company acts as an employer of record (EOR) so you can hire internationally without setting up a local entity.
Why I chose Deel: This platform is a comprehensive all-in-one solution, and it's well suited to businesses who want to tap into the potential of a global workforce. Its recognition capabilities lie in its Slack plugins. With the Slack integration, you can facilitate 1-on-1 meetings between managers and employees, send out company-wide announcements, and—most notably—share kudos.
Kudos are a great way to give public recognition for a job well done. Meanwhile, managers can recognize their team members individually during 1-on-1 conversations. Other helpful features that come with the Slack integration are onboarding tools for new employees, an org chart, and engagement tools like meetups and interest groups.
Deel Standout Features & Integrations:
Features include the system's capability to simplify global payroll and compliance. This includes providing contractor compliance with contracts that adhere to local laws in over 150 countries, and automatic updates when laws change. It also supports localized contracts, invoicing, and payments in over 120 currencies, including cryptocurrencies, and manages tax form collection for contractors.
Integrations include Ashby, BambooHR, Expensify, Greenhouse, Hibob, Netsuite, Okta, OneLogin, Quickbooks, SCIM, Xero, Workday, and Workable. An Open API is also available to build custom integrations.
ThriveSparrow is an Employee Success Platform designed to drive growth and improve employee performance within organizations. It offers a unique blend of recognition, reward, and inspiration tools that can be accessed from anywhere, making it a versatile choice for promoting general employee success and engagement in modern, remote-friendly workplaces.
Why I picked ThriveSparrow: The employee recognition platform helps organizations foster a culture of appreciation. It provides features such as peer rewards, recognition badges, and social recognition walls to encourage a positive and supportive work environment. This allows employees to give and receive recognition, creating a sense of belonging and motivation.
Features like engagement surveys, heatmaps, and team analytics also provide valuable insights into employee satisfaction, making it an effective tool for measuring employee engagement levels and collecting employee feedback.
In addition to recognition and engagement, the software also offers an employee rewards tool. It works on a points system, where employees collect points that can then be redeemed for rewards. The platform consolidates recognition, rewards, and engagement in one place.
ThriveSparrow Standout Features & Integrations
Features include real-time feedback, which allows employees and managers to provide timely feedback on performance, projects, or any other relevant aspect, employee 360 reviews, goal setting with OKRs, and 1:1 meetings. ThriveSparrow also features a blog that offers valuable resources, insights, and best practices related to employee success, engagement, and organizational culture.
Integrations are limited, but include Slack and Google Workspace.
Bonusly is an employee recognition platform that makes it fun to celebrate your teammates for their awesomeness.
Why I picked Bonusly: Using Bonusly, you can call out your peers when they go above and beyond to complete a task and reward them with points. Employees can then convert the points into real-life rewards, such as gift cards from popular brands, or they can donate the money to a variety of charities featured on the platform. You can also create custom rewards for your team at no additional cost.
Another highlight of using this tool is that it creates a recognition culture by leveraging several types of recognition. Users can use plain text, images, GIFs, hashtags, and emojis to praise coworkers, which keeps things entertaining. The point-giving process is fun and transparent, so people know that their efforts will be acknowledged if they complete a task in good time or deliver great results. The point system is also a great way of reminding people of your organization’s core values.
Bonusly Standout Features & Integrations:
Standout features in Bonusly's software include their peer-to-peer recognition features and automated milestone celebrations. Once a recognition post has been made public, other team members can comment and chime in to share their appreciation or tag your company's core values. In addition, Bonusly's automated milestone celebrations make sure an employee's anniversary, birthday, or other important date won't slip by unnoticed, giving administrators greater peace of mind.
Integrations include BamboHR, SAP, Workday, Namely, Zenefits, ADP, Paychex, HiBob, Sage, Microsoft Teams, and Slack, among others.
Workvivo is an employee experience app designed to foster engagement and emotional connection between employees and your company culture, no matter where they're located.
Why I picked Workvivo: Their platform functions as a modern intranet, communications hub, and engagement and employee recognition tool, blended into a single social network experience. Their system incorporates a familiar social media-like feel that maximizes engagement and makes it easy for leadership members to communicate across the platform through multimedia messages. The system also supports employee surveys and provides engagement analytics so you can keep tabs on your team morale.
Workvivo Standout Features & Integrations:
Standout features for Workvivo include public shout-outs to recognize a job well done, tools to celebrate individual and team achievements, and peer-driven nominations for company awards. They also have a badge feature that enables organizations to further recognize employee achievements, which can be customized to mesh with your corporate culture.
By giving employees the tools to amplify their own voice, Workvivo aims to foster a deeper connection between your workforce and your company culture, goals, and values.
Integrations are available with many commonly used HR tools, including payroll software, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.
Nectar is an employee recognition platform that helps team members feel valued, connected, and engaged no matter where they work. It works well for small to medium-sized businesses with 50 to 500 employees.
Why I picked Nectar: I included Nectar because their recognition and rewards platform offers a 360-degree set of culture-building tools that enables staff at all levels (peer-to-peer, manager-to-employees, and vice versa) to send meaningful recognition shoutouts rooted in your company's core values. Their platform was designed around 6 key pillars (Connection, Recognition, Empathy, Alignment, Trust, and Elevation = CREATE) that help organizations build a solid company culture.
Nectar Standout Features & Integrations:
Features include public shoutout tools, core value hashtags, automatic milestone celebrations (e.g., birthdays and work anniversaries), and incentive points that are redeemable for rewards like gift cards, entertainment discounts, custom rewards, company-branded swag, or items your employees can choose for themselves through Amazon.com. Platform admins can also use Nectar to create custom challenges, such as health and wellness initiatives, and recognize employees internally for their participation by gifting them Nectar points.
On top of all that, Nectar includes useful analytics that help HR teams spot any trends in how individual managers are recognizing their employees, identify which core values are recognized the most, and uncover examples of employees who aren't being recognized to help them find out why.
Integrations are available with 20+ popular HR software systems, including ADP, BambooHR, Gusto, Microsoft Teams, Namely, NetSuite, Paycor, Rippling, Slack, Workday, and Zenefits. To make system access smoother for your workforce, Nectar integrates with many single sign-on (SSO) providers too, including Azure, G Suite, Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity, VMware, and others.
Lattice is a comprehensive people management platform with tools to manage performance and development, engagement, OKRs and goals, and compensation. Employee recognition is also facilitated through the platform, which helps you connects praise with performance and goals.
Why I picked Lattice: Yes, this software has a praise wall of sorts. But the way that recognition is exchanged in the platform goes beyond a simple kudos. You can send praise privately or publicly, and connect company values to your messages. Because praise is given within the broader platform that encompasses performance and goals management, it's easy to make recognition meaningful, specific, and relevant. The software also connects with communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams to send praise messages where employees are already chatting.
As for the rest of the platform, it's easy to set up and manage a custom performance review process for every manager to follow. Managers can also keep track of their one-on-one meetings, notes, and action items through the system. Finally, engagement surveys are sent out to employees to help you track key indicators of company culture.
Lattice Standout Features & Integrations
Features include a mobile app, individual and business goals, one-on-one check-in tools, employee engagement surveys, status updates, performance reviews, growth plans, career tracks, and reporting and analytics.
Integrations include popular human resource information systems (HRIS), including ADP, BambooHR, Namely, Personio, Rippling, Workday, and Zenefits, as well as other popular software platforms such as Gmail, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Slack and others.
ClearCompany is a comprehensive employee recognition platform that celebrates and rewards top talent. It enables organizations to create meaningful recognition experiences that drive employee engagement, foster collaboration, and recognize the efforts of their people.
Why I picked ClearCompany: Their software helps organizations create a culture of appreciation by ensuring each team member feels valued for their contributions to the organization’s success. It enables users to recognize employees' achievements in real time with public or private posts, badges, shoutouts, and awards notifications that are visible across the entire organization or just within certain teams.
This feature helps build relationships between team members by highlighting what makes each unique and special, while inspiring everyone else with their accomplishments. It also encourages positive behavior among coworkers by recognizing those who go beyond their job duties or excel in their roles. ClearCompany creates opportunities for team members to collaborate better since they can share ideas openly in a supportive environment where everyone feels appreciated for what they do.
Organizations can easily customize their recognition program based on their company’s culture. Their intuitive user interface gives admin and managers complete control over how their employees are rewarded. The platform provides users with analytics tools to measure the impact of their recognition program and track progress over time. It also offers additional employee insights so users can understand what kind of rewards resonate with their staff and which ones need more work.
ClearCompany Standout Features & Integrations:
Features include peer-to-peer public and private recognition tools, shout-outs, employee milestones and celebrations, employee surveys, employee sentiment analysis, employee listening tools, 1:1 check-in tools, goal tracking & planning, goal alignment, performance management tools, and detailed reporting & analytics.
Integrations are available with 100+ popular HR software solutions, including ADP, Absorb LMS, BambooHR, eSkill, HR Avatar, Microsoft Office 365, Okta, PeopleFacts, Ping Identity, UKG, and many others.
Workmates, by HR Cloud, is an employee recognition and rewards platform that helps drive engagement, simplify communication, ignite productivity, and elicit feedback from across all levels of your organization. Their platform acts as a streamlined hub for internal conversations within a social media-inspired user interface. It also allows employees to recognize each other’s achievements through digital “kudos”, earn customizable goal-based badges, and gain points that can be redeemed for rewards.
Why I picked Workmates: I included Workmates because you can use it for more than simple employee recognition. For example, you can also collect employee feedback from all staff levels using their polls, pulse surveys, and eNPS tools. Their survey builder tool will help you target your key audience with specific questions to uncover the missing feedback you need. Once the results are in, Workmates includes analytics and reports with a wide variety of charting options to make it easier to digest your data. These additional tools can make a big impact on improving your employee retention, beyond what traditional employee recognition features typically cover.
Workmates Standout Features & Integrations:
Features within their Engagement service package include public recognition kudos, an employee social feed that supports pictures, videos, and GIFS, a rewards catalog, online chat and notifications, company-wide announcements, survey tools, an employee directory, a content management system, newsletter templates, and a mobile app.
Integrations are available with 30+ popular HR tools including applicant tracking systems, learning management systems, and payroll software.
Guusto is an employee recognition platform that modernizes employee milestone and performance recognition rewards and helps organizations build powerful peer-to-peer programs. Guusto is used by many notable organizations to consistently reward great work and shape their workplace culture, including Harvard University, The Body Shop, Carlton Cards, Arc'Teryx, Canada Life, Marriott, Levi's, Fairmont Hotels, and Harry Rosen.
Why I picked Guusto: I appreciate how Guusto takes a different approach to their recognition and rewards platform than most other providers in this list. For example, instead of starting out with a costly, company-wide program, Guusto will work with you to develop a pilot program as a test run, before you roll out their platform to everyone in your organization. This lets you get a feel for how it will work for your company, before making a bigger commitment.
Another unique feature that sets Guusto apart is the fact that they'll donate a day's worth of clean water via the One Drop Foundation for every gift users send within the platform. Knowing this will help incentivize your employees to support your internal employee recognition program, while also making a positive impact outside your organization too.
Guusto Standout Features & Integrations:
Features include a long list of ready-to-use recognition programs such as milestone, anniversary, and years-of-service awards, onboarding programs, real-time recognition (spot bonuses), performance programs, learning and development incentives, quarterly and annual rewards, birthday and holiday rewards, wellness programs, and peer-to-peer shoutouts and nominations.
Platform admins can reward recipients with digital Mastercards that work in 160+ countries, and make bulk purchases of up to 1,000 reward cards at once. Guusto also supports custom rewards, charity donation gifts, and other gift cards that can be used at over 60,000 global merchants in-person or online.
Other features include milestone automations, advanced budgeting tools, unlimited non-monetary recognition, and a whole host of actionable reports analyzing every aspect of your employee recognition program from the number of rewards sent to taxable benefits and core value assessments.
Integrations are available with many HRIS, communication, and SSO systems, including ADP, BambooHR, Dayforce, Google Suite, Microsoft Teams, Okta, UKG Pro, and Workday.
Best employee recognition and rewards platform for hybrid teams
Free demo available
Best recognition tool within a global HR solution
Free demo available
|Flat rate user pricing, with a free version for businesses with up to 200 people||Website|
Best with employee recognition, engagement, and rewards in one
14-day free trial available
Best recognition platform for incentivizing high-performing teams
60-day free trial
Best for strengthening corporate culture and creating a positive work environment
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best employee recognition and rewards platform for strengthening employee retention
Free demo available
Best for connecting praise with performance and goals
Free demo available
Best for measuring the impact of recognition & engagement programs over time
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best for driving engagement and gathering employee feedback
Free demo available
Best recognition platform for companies with frontline workers
Free plan available
|From $96/month for 35 users (additional users $2.70/month)||Website|
Best for empowering employees to reward each other
Best employee recognition platform for amplifying public praise and incentivizing key behaviors
Best for developing a recognition strategy and a culture of appreciation
Best for linking employee feedback, engagement, and performance
Best employee recognition platform for redeemable tokens
Best for gamifying peer-to-peer recognition
- Vantage Circle
Best for automating all types of corporate gifting
Best all-in-one employee recognition platform for building culture and driving behavior
Best for validating praise through additional peer engagement
Best platform for hosting employee challenges to promote healthy competition
- Bucketlist Rewards
Best for automating years-of-service awards
Best for offering corporate discounts to your employees and their families
Best for simplifying public recognition through gamification
Best for rewarding staff with activity-based experiential gifts
- Know Your Team
Best employee recognition app for encouraging employees to provide feedback
Best employee recognition platform for aligning your team with company core values
Best for rewarding employees with personalized prize boxes
Best employee recognition software for improving productivity and engagement
- Xoxoday Plum
Best employee recognition platform for offering customized incentives
Best employee recognition platform that acts as a centralized social intranet
Selection Criteria for Employee Recognition Platforms
Wondering how I selected the best employee recognition platforms for this list? I'm happy to share my methodology.
To get started, I scoured the web to create a long list of the most popular employee recognition platforms based on recent market data. Next, I reviewed each platform's website in fine detail and assessed each system individually based on my selection criteria below.
Here's a summary of the selection criteria I used to pull together this top 10 list:
Each time I create a new top 10 list of software, I always start out by determining a list of the core features I want to assess first. That way, I can be 100% confident that nothing important is missing from my top choices. For employee recognition software, here are the core functionalities that each software system had to meet in order to make it onto my initial long list:
- Employee profiles that cover the basics (e.g., role, department, location, and contact info) with the ability to add custom details according to user preferences
- Peer recognition tools that allow your staff to praise their peers frequently and openly, for all other employees to see (a great way to boost employee morale)
- Notification features that ensure key stakeholders will see a recognized milestone as soon as it pops up in an activity feed (including @mentions)
In addition to the core functionalities above, I also assessed the following key features to make my final selections for this list:
- Private feedback tools: In addition to public-facing feedback that all team members can see, systems should also give managers the option to provide private feedback when appropriate too.
- Simple reward system: The platform should enable your managers and HR professionals to reward top team members with something meaningful. This may be custom awards or badges that are displayed on their profiles for bragging rights. Or, it could be a point-based system where employees use points to select rewards from a global prize catalog or reward gateway.
- Automation: The software should leverage automation to help your managers reward high-performing employees, and also mark key dates like birthdays and work anniversaries, so nothing slips through the cracks unnoticed.
- Performance tracking: From an HR and management perspective, you’ll want a platform that can track multiple key performance indicators (KPIs) or objective and key results (OKRs) so you can pinpoint your top performers easily.
- Reporting: The platform should organize your employee recognition data into well-defined metrics reports. This will help your HR team ensure your program is on track, and make it easier to present the data to management.
- Customization and branding: In order to create a strong tie between your organization and your recognition system of choice, the ability to incorporate your company brand is key. That includes customizing elements of the platform's appearance to align with your corporate identity, logos, and fonts.
- Social recognition: Features like leaderboards and employee nominations make recognition fun and engaging. It can also incentivize higher performance, because people will want to achieve that top employee standing.
The best employee recognition software makes giving shout-outs easy. I looked for user-friendly platforms with an intuitive interface. Some software also incentivizes recognition by creating a social-media-like environment including social feeds and real-time notifications. Additional usability features like mobile apps are definitely also a plus.
I looked for employee recognition platforms that integrate with other HR software like performance management systems, HRIS systems, and employee feedback platforms. I also looked for integrations with communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, so employees can receive recognition in the tools they’re already using.
Often, it all comes down to cost. That's why it's important to get a realistic understanding of your budget before you spend too much time researching employee recognition platforms.
If you're running a small business with only a handful of employees, you may be able to make do with using a freemium plan. However, paid plans will always give you a better return on your investment, if you can afford one.
Also, many of the platforms in this list do offer a free trial period so you can test it out before committing. This will give you a first-hand experience of how much the platform will satisfy your needs before you introduce it to the rest of your staff.
Why is employee recognition important?
What are the benefits of employee recognition platforms?
What is an employee recognition program?
Are there different types of employee recognition platforms?
Do employee recognition programs work?
Are there other ways to reward and recognize employees?
What are experiential rewards?
Other Recognition Resources
As you can probably tell, employee recognition is something we're passionate about at People Managing People. And we practice what we preach.
To help you bring the best employee recognition practices to your own workforce, here's a collection of my favorite in-house resources on this topic:
- Why Employee Recognition is Important and How to Do it Right
- 30 Creative Employee Recognition and Appreciation Ideas
- 4 Fun Ways to Showcase Your Personality Through Employee Recognition
- How to do Employee Recognition the Right Way, a podcast with Tom Short, Chief Customer Officer at Kudos®
- Employee Retention Statistics and Insights
- 51 Employee Engagement Survey Questions and Best Practices
- How To Collect 360-Degree Feedback With Example
Other Software Reviews
Looking for other ways to develop a culture of recognition in your workplace? Here are some other types of software that'll point you in the right direction:
- Employee Engagement Software
- Employee Perks Programs to Automate Rewards
- Employee Evaluation Software For Performance Reviews & Recognition
- Employee Experience Software for Engagement & Performance
- 360-Degree Feedback Software for Employee Reviews
- Employee Survey Tools for Staff Feedback
- Employee Wellness Platforms for Employee Health & Well-Being
Improve Your Company’s Culture With Employee Recognition Platforms
Your employees want to feel appreciated. And there’s no better way of thanking them for their work than offering real-life rewards. Employee recognition platforms make the recognition process easy and transparent. They bring your employee recognition program to life, and motivate your team to provide feedback, praise co-workers, and respect company values.
Lastly, before you go, don't forget to subscribe to our weekly People Managing People newsletter. We'll keep you in the loop regarding industry trends in human resources best practices.
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