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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.

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Best Employee Recognition Platforms: Comparison Chart

This comparison chart summarizes pricing details for my top employee recognition platform selections to help you find the best platform that works for your budget and business needs.

Tools Price
Nectar From $3/user/month
Mo From $2.25/employee/month (billed annually)
Bonusly From $2.70/user/month
Lattice From $11/user/month
Bucketlist Rewards Pricing upon request
Guusto From $96/month for 35 users (additional users $2.70/month)
Motivosity From $2 to $5/user/month depending on product chosen
Leapsome From $8/user/month
Assembly From $2.80/user/month
ClearCompany Pricing upon request
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How to Choose an Employee Recognition Platform

Employee recognition platforms can help you celebrate your internal achievements, boost morale, and improve your company culture. To help you figure out which employee recognition platform best fits your needs, you need to pinpoint your key users and document their specific challenges first.

As you work through your own unique software selection process, keep the following points in mind:

  • What problem are you trying to solve - Start by identifying the challenges you're trying to overcome. This will help you clarify the features and functionalities the employee recognition software needs to provide.
  • Who will need to use it - To evaluate cost and requirements, consider who will use the software and how many licenses you'll need. For an employee recognition platform, you'll likely want access for your entire workforce, with special access for your HR administrators and managers. Once that's clear, it's also useful to rank the needs of your different users to identify the key priorities for your power users, managers, and employees, to ensure they're all met.
  • What other tools it needs to work with - Clarify what tools you're replacing, what tools are staying, and the tools you'll need to integrate with, such as HR management systems, performance management systems, and communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams. You'll need to decide if the tools should integrate together, or alternatively, if you can replace multiple tools with an all-in-one employee experience platform.
  • What outcomes are important - Review the capabilities you want to gain or improve, and how you will measure success. For example, you may want to reduce your turnover rate, improve your quarterly employer net promoter score (eNPS), or introduce physical employee incentives based on performance. You could compare employee recognition features until you’re blue in the face but if you aren’t thinking about the outcomes you want to achieve, you could waste a lot of valuable time.
  • How it would work within your organization - Consider the software selection alongside your existing workflows and systems. Evaluate what's working well, and any problematic areas that need to be addressed.

Remember every business is different — don’t assume that an employee recognition platform will work for your organization just because it's popular.

Best Employee Recognition Platform Reviews

Here are detailed descriptions of my top 10 employee recognition platforms that highlight each system’s best use case and noteworthy features. I’ve also included screenshots to give you a snapshot of their user interface too. Plus, I’ve included 20 more bonus options below if you’d like even more possibilities to consider.

Best recognition tool with an SHRM partnership

  • Free demo available
  • From $3/user/month

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.

Best employee recognition and rewards platform for hybrid teams

  • Free demo available
  • From $2.25/employee/month (billed annually)
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

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).

Best recognition platform for incentivizing high-performing teams

  • 60-day free trial
  • From $2.70/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

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.

Best for connecting praise with performance and goals

  • Free demo available
  • From $11/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

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.

Best for automating years-of-service awards

  • 14-day free trial
  • Pricing upon request

Bucketlist Rewards is an employee recognition platform that utilizes gamification to promote engagement within organizations. This innovative platform allows companies of any size to quickly and easily recognize their employees for a job well done. Through its intuitive interface, Bucketlist Rewards provides an easy way for employers to reward their employees with points when they go the extra mile or achieve success in the workplace. Team members can choose from over 2,576 rewards or make requests for new rewards.

Why I picked Bucketlist Rewards: Their rewards system helps motivate employees by providing them with tangible benefits, such as merchandise, discounts, vouchers, and more. Companies can also customize their own rewards programs that best fit the company culture and values. With Bucketlist Rewards, employers can show appreciation for hard work while increasing motivation among team members in a meaningful way. In addition, employees have access to an engaging leaderboard where they can compare results with one another and strive towards becoming top performers in their organization.

Rewards don't have to just be performance-based, they can celebrate events and milestones like employee events, including anniversaries, birthdays, and welcome messages. You can automate correlating rewards, such as 100 bonus points for 1-year anniversary or a $50 gift card on birthdays.

Bucketlist Rewards Standout Features & Integrations:

Features include peer-to-peer and manager recognition, automatic milestone anniversary workflows, customizable rewards & badges, company-wide announcements, weekly newsletter templates, retention tools, and unlimited support by email or phone.

Integrations include Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Gmail, and Slack.

Best recognition platform for companies with frontline workers

  • Free plan available
  • From $96/month for 35 users (additional users $2.70/month)
Visit Website
Rating: 4.9/5

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 for empowering employees to reward each other

  • Free demo available
  • From $2 to $5/user/month depending on product chosen
Visit Website
Rating: 4.7/5

Motivosity is an employee recognition and engagement platform that addresses work culture through a research-backed approach to building gratitude and rapport among different teams. Using Motivosity, employees can be recognized by each other and by their superiors, with top achievements celebrated publicly in a social-media-like interface.

Why I picked Motivosity: Motivosity’s Recognize product empowers employees to celebrate each other's everyday wins publicly. Each month, employees are given a set amount of 'influence currency' (aka recognition dollars) that they can reward their colleagues with as they see fit.

Motivosity also has a ThanksMatters Card, which is a Visa card that's accepted worldwide. Each time employees are recognized by their staff or management, real dollars accumulate on their ThanksMatters Card - not points, like with most other systems. These dollars can be redeemed at any location that accepts Visa, whenever your employee chooses, giving them a lot more flexibility than with many typical rewards and recognition platforms.

Motivosity Standout Features & Integrations:

Features include a social media-like public activity feed, public achievements and celebrations, public comments, influence currency (recognition dollars), a dollar-based accrual system, customizable rewards, bonus 'sweeteners', spot bonuses, highlights & announcements, personal profiles, organizational charts, interest groups, and financial reporting tools. Their Milestone Tracker ensures that milestones like birthdays and anniversary dates are easily accessible by date so people can plan celebrations in advance too.

Integrations are available with 20+ popular software systems, including ADP Workforce Now, BambooHR, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Okta, Paylocity, Paychex, Rippling, SAP SuccessFactors, Slack, UKG Pro, Workday, Zenefits, and others.

Best for linking employee feedback, engagement, and performance

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $8/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.8/5

Leapsome is an employee development and recognition platform that helps organizations connect the dots between employee feedback, engagement, and performance. Used by companies like Spotify, Northvolt, Unity, and Workato, Leapsome enables a continuous cycle of employee recognition and personalized learning that powers the growth of your people and business.

Why I picked Leapsome: Like other platforms in this list, Leapsome goes beyond employee recognition and engagement and offers more depth to your HR team, including modern performance management features like 360-degree reviews, and goals & OKR tracking. You can customize and run leadership reviews designed around the key competencies of each role, collect meaningful feedback from across the company, and make it actionable through development frameworks and learning paths.

Leapsome Standout Features & Integrations:

Features include public or private recognition and praise, open-ended or competency-based feedback, mentorship features, feedback analytics, continuous performance feedback tools, engagement surveys, a best practice library, engagement benchmarks, and automated learning and onboarding experiences.

Their instant feedback feature captures timely feedback regarding projects, results, or initiatives, which can be easily incorporated into 1:1 meetings to make the feedback actionable. Another worthwhile feature is their praise wall which acts as a shared dashboard of all employee recognition and praise messages given and received across the company, to help boost employee morale and motivation.

Integrations are available with Active Directory, ADP, BambooHR, GSuite, HiBob, Jira, Microsoft Teams, PayFit, Personio, Rippling, Slack, and others.

Best employee recognition software for improving productivity and engagement

  • Free trial available
  • From $2.80/user/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.8/5

Assembly is an employee recognition platform that gives you the ability to track and achieve goals and automate incentives. Assembly makes it easy to put employee appreciation at the heart of your company culture through peer-to-peer recognition and incentives. Their system also shows people that their contributions are valued, while boosting performance and retaining your best talent.

Assembly lets you gather nominations from your whole team to make sure everyone’s accomplishments are celebrated. To further reward good work, employees are rewarded points that they can redeem for a gift that makes them feel valued. You can also use their platform to keep track of other key dates, like birthdays and work anniversaries as well.

Assembly integrates with many popular tools such as BambooHR, Google G Suite, Office 365, and Slack, among others.

Assembly costs from $2.80/user/month and offers a free trial.

Best for measuring the impact of recognition & engagement programs over time

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
Visit Website
Rating: 4.6/5

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.

Other Employee Recognition Platforms

Here are a few more worthwhile options that didn’t make the best employee recognition platforms list but are still worth taking a look at:

  1. Kudos

    Best for gamifying peer-to-peer recognition

  2. Vantage Circle

    Best for automating all types of corporate gifting

  3. Achievers

    Best for validating praise through additional peer engagement

  4. Recognize

    Best platform for hosting employee challenges to promote healthy competition

  5. Workmates

    Best for driving engagement and gathering employee feedback

  6. Blueboard

    Best for rewarding staff with activity-based experiential gifts

  7. Know Your Team

    Best employee recognition app for encouraging employees to provide feedback

  8. SnackNation

    Best for rewarding employees with personalized prize boxes

  9. Workhuman

    Best employee recognition platform for aligning your team with company core values

  10. Fond

    Best for offering corporate discounts to your employees and their families

  11. Espresa

    Best for simplifying public recognition through gamification

  12. Workvivo

    Best for strengthening corporate culture and creating a positive work environment

  13. Cooleaf

    Best for developing a recognition strategy and a culture of appreciation

  14. Deel

    Best recognition tool within a global HR solution

  15. WorkTango

    Best employee recognition platform for amplifying public praise and incentivizing key behaviors

  16. Xoxoday Plum

    Best employee recognition platform for offering customized incentives

  17. Empuls

    Best employee recognition platform that acts as a centralized social intranet

  18. Xoxoday Compass

    Best employee recognition platform for automating recognition across the employee lifecycle

  19. Awardco

    Best all-in-one employee recognition platform for building culture and driving behavior

  20. Workleap Officevibe

    Best employee recognition platform with direct links to company OKRs

If you still haven't found what you're looking for here, check out these other related tools that we've tested and evaluated:

Selection Criteria for Employee Recognition Platforms

Selecting the right employee recognition platform hinges on understanding the core principles of employee recognition and how software can solve common challenges and satisfy organizational needs. My approach to choosing the best employee recognition platforms is grounded in thorough research into how these tools can give employees a voice, improve company culture, and ultimately, boost company morale.

Here's a summary of the selection criteria I used to pull together this top 10 list:

Core Employee Recognition Platform Functionalities (25% of total score): To be considered for inclusion in this list, each solution had to offer the following basic functionalities first:

  • 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)
  • Analytics that track the impact of recognition programs on employee engagement and satisfaction
  • Integrations with existing HR and communication tools for ease of use and to reduce manual data entry for administrative staff

Additional Standout Features (25% of total score): To help me narrow in on the best employee recognition platforms out of the numerous options available, I also took note of any unique features, including:

  • Advanced customization options that allow businesses to align the platform with their unique company values and culture
  • Innovative reward systems that offer a variety of redemption options, catering to diverse employee preferences
  • Automatic prompts that remind managers to recognize their employees regularly or for special achievements and occasions
  • Comprehensive analytics and reporting features that provide deep insights into the effectiveness of recognition programs, including actionable insights
  • Exceptional security features that protect sensitive employee data

Usability (10% of total score): To evaluate the usability of each employee recognition tool, I considered the following:

  • An intuitive design and user-friendly interface that requires minimal training to master
  • A good balance between powerful features and ease of use to accommodate all skill levels and create a positive user experience
  • Dedicated mobile apps or a mobile-friendly user interface that supports use on both Android and iOS mobile devices
  • Role-based access controls that are straightforward to configure

Onboarding (10% of total score): To get a sense of each software provider's customer onboarding process, I considered the following factors:

  • A streamlined setup process and clear configuration guidelines
  • The availability of training materials such as videos or interactive tutorials
  • Customizable templates to speed up the onboarding process
  • Support for migrating employee data into the new platform

Customer Support (10% of total score): To evaluate the level of customer support each vendor offered, I considered the following:

  • The availability of multiple support channels, including email, phone, and chat
  • The existence of a self-service knowledge base or other self-help resources to speed up troubleshooting
  • The overall quality, responsiveness, and helpfulness of the support team during customer onboarding and post-purchase, as inferred from customer reviews

Value for Price (10% of total score): To gauge the value of each software, I considered the following factors:

  • The availability of free trials or demos to test the software before purchasing
  • Competitive and transparent pricing models that reflect the software's feature depth and explain which features are included at each level
  • Tiered pricing plans that cater to different business sizes, from small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) up to enterprise-level organizations

Customer Reviews (10% of total score): Evaluating customer reviews is the final element of my selection process, which helps me understand how well a product performs in the hands of real users. Here are the factors I considered:

  • Whether a product has consistently high ratings across multiple review platforms, indicating a broad level of user satisfaction
  • Specific praises, criticisms, or trends in customer feedback that indicate the software's strengths or areas for improvement
  • Whether customer feedback specifically mentions issues with ease of use, customer support responsiveness, or lacking features

Using this assessment framework helped me identify the employee recognition platforms that go beyond basic requirements to offer additional value through unique features, intuitive usability, smooth onboarding, effective support, and overall value for price.

As businesses seek innovative ways to honor employee achievements and foster a culture of staff appreciation, employee recognition platforms are introducing new features and functionalities to match those demands. Here are the most recent trends impacting the employee recognition software space currently:

  • Advanced Automation for Recognition Activities: Platforms are increasingly automating the recognition process, from awarding badges for specific achievements to scheduling regular recognition events. This automation ensures consistent recognition and saves time for managers and HR professionals.
  • Customizable Recognition Programs: There's a growing trend toward allowing companies to fully customize their recognition programs, including personalized messages, awards, and recognition criteria that reflect the company's values and the individual's contributions.
  • Enhanced Employee Engagement through Gamification: Gamification features, such as points, leaderboards, and challenges, are also rapidly evolving. These elements make recognition fun and engaging, increasing participation across the organization.
  • Predictive Analytics for Employee Recognition: The use of advanced analytics to predict when employees might need a boost in recognition is a new and novel approach, helping to proactively prevent disengagement and burnout.

By leveraging automation, analytics, and enhanced gamification features, these platforms are making recognition more efficient and impactful. The most successful platforms are those that can adapt to the evolving needs of both businesses and their employees, creating a culture of recognition that resonates across the modern workplace.

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.

Features of Employee Recognition Platforms

In addition to the core functionalities above, I also assessed the following key features to make my final selections for this list:

  • Customizable Recognition Programs: This feature is vital as it ensures that the recognition program you host aligns with the unique culture and values of your workplace, making the recognition more meaningful to employees.
  • Peer-to-Peer Recognition: This feature allows employees to recognize each other's contributions. This is crucial as it encourages a collaborative culture where appreciation is not just top-down but is a shared responsibility, enhancing the sense of community and belonging among team members.
  • Social Recognition & Gamification: Features like leaderboards, a public recognition wall, and employee nominations make recognition fun and engaging, and boosting morale. They can also incentivize higher performance because people will want to achieve that top employee standing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Ensures the platform is accessible on various devices. Mobile accessibility is essential for modern workplaces, allowing employees to engage with recognition programs anytime and anywhere, increasing participation and engagement.
  • Reporting: The platform should organize your employee recognition data into well-defined metrics and reports. This will help your HR team ensure your program is on track, and make it easier to present the data to management.

By focusing on a platform that offers these key features, you'll be on your way to nurturing a culture of recognition that contributes to a positive and productive work environment, while getting the administrative hassles of executing the recognition program off your desk.

Benefits of Employee Recognition Platforms

Employee recognition platforms can play a critical role in creating a positive workplace culture, giving teams the tools they need to recognize achievements and improve job satisfaction and morale. By investing in the best employee recognition platform for you, you can expect to gain the following benefits:

  • Streamlined Recognition Processes: Automating the recognition process eliminates manual tracking and administration, making it easier and more efficient to reward and acknowledge employees. This saves time and resources, allowing HR teams to focus on more strategic initiatives, and also ensures that no key milestones or anniversaries are accidentally skipped.
  • Increased Employee Engagement: These platforms make recognizing effort and achievements an easy, regular part of the workday, directly boosting morale and engagement. Also, it's well-known that when employees feel valued, organizations see a significant uptick in overall job satisfaction and retention.
  • Improved Company Culture: Recognition software fosters a culture of appreciation and respect, strengthens team bonds, and reinforces positive behaviors and values. This creates a more cohesive and positive work environment, attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Enhanced Feedback and Communication: These platforms facilitate instant feedback and acknowledgment, bridging communication gaps between teams and management. This real-time interaction helps to quickly address concerns and celebrate successes, promoting a more agile and responsive company culture.
  • Better Data-Driven Insights: Recognition platforms offer valuable analytics and insights into employee performance and engagement. This data aids leaders in making informed decisions, recognizing trends, and identifying areas for future improvement or additional support.

Integrating an employee recognition platform into your company can transform your work environment, driving engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. By acknowledging and appreciating each team member's contributions, these platforms can help you boost morale and reinforce your corporate values and behaviors that lead to success.

Costs & Pricing for Employee Recognition Platforms

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, a freemium plan might work for your needs. However, paid plans will always give you a better return on your investment, if you can afford one.

Also, many platforms in this list offer a free trial period so you can test it out before committing. This will give you a first-hand experience of how well the platform will satisfy your needs before you introduce it to the rest of your staff.

To give you basic understanding of the pricing landscape for employee recognition platforms, I've compiled the average price ranges for each plan into the comparison table below.

Plan Comparison Table for Employee Recognition Platforms

Plan TypeAverage Price Common Features
Free$0Basic recognition features, peer-to-peer kudos, limited reporting and analytics, and access to a community forum
Basic$2 - $5 per user/monthCustomizable recognition badges, enhanced reporting, mobile app access, and email support
Professional$5 - $10 per user/monthIntegration with other HR systems, advanced analytics and reporting, award nomination capabilities, and priority support
Enterprise$10 - $20+ per user/monthFull customization, a dedicated account manager, advanced security features, and tailored implementation support
A breakdown of plans and pricing details for employee recognition platforms.

As you evaluate the best plan for your organization, consider both your immediate and long-term needs. It's important to balance the total cost against the benefits the software offers to ensure it will satisfy your business objectives.

Employee Recognition Platforms: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions you may have about employee recognition programs and platforms and how they work:

Why is employee recognition important?

In the never-ending quest to retain your top talent and keep them engaged, employee recognition is more important than ever. Celebrating employee achievements in a meaningful way makes employees feel valued at work. And employees who feel valued are more likely to stay with your company longer.

Employee recognition platforms have emerged as a strategic solution to this challenge. Using automation, they simplify the process of acknowledging employee contributions and key milestones. They also make it easier to showcase your workplace culture, build camaraderie between teams, and reward good work with perks.

What are the benefits of employee recognition platforms?

Employee recognition platforms offer many benefits. They’ll give your employees a voice, and create a fun digital space where your staff can interact. They’ll also help you celebrate key milestones, identify top performers, and build a positive company culture. They can even help you establish clear and comprehensive employee recognition and awards programs at your business.

These platforms also use automation workflows to ensure no milestones slip through the cracks. As the public praise starts to pile up, you can expect your employee morale to go up, while your turnover goes down. All thanks to a platform that gamifies the process of giving feedback and credit, where credit’s due.

What is an employee recognition program?

An employee recognition program is an employer-led initiative to reward employees who exceed expectations, reach personal or work-related milestones, or stand for your organization’s values.

Employee recognition programs can vary greatly in their depth. Many companies offer basic reward options and acknowledgments, such as birthday treats, or Years of Service Awards. While this does fall into the category of employee recognition, it often falls a little flat on the receiving end.

In contrast, a proper employee recognition platform, like the ones in this list, can take your employee recognition program to the next level. You can use these systems to foster more employee engagement across your workforce, while recognizing hard work publicly. You can also essentially set them to run on autopilot, so they don’t take up a lot of your time.

Are there different types of employee recognition platforms?

Yes, there are, and no two platforms are exactly the same. Some take the form of a social engagement platform where employees can post peer-to-peer feedback publicly. These systems feature activity feeds where all other employees can see peer-based shout-outs and respond to them with their own comments or emoji-based reactions.

Others are more focused on performance and productivity, often with links to company-wide goals or OKRs (objectives and key results). In these systems, 360-degree feedback is often collected privately upon request, and automatically linked to formal performance reviews to provide a full picture of each employee’s accomplishments.

The best employee recognition platforms are the ones that take a blended approach, like the ones I’ve chosen for this list. Most of these systems include a point-based system that gamifies the employee recognition process. Employees can earn reward points for reaching pre-determined goals or giving peer-to-peer feedback, which can then be redeemed for a reward of their choice. Also known as reward gateways, this type of blended software serves a dual purpose as a combined employee engagement platform and employee recognition solution merged into one.

Do employee recognition programs work?

Yes, absolutely! Employee recognition and awards programs have been shown to increase employee morale, company culture and productivity. Beyond that, recent research has shown that properly recognized employees are 63% more likely to stay in their job for the next 3-6 months than those who received no recognition at all. On the flip side, in a 2022 survey, 44% of employees cited a lack of recognition as their main reason for changing jobs or quiet quitting.

In another 2022 study, 80% of employees stated they would work harder if they were shown more appreciation, and 92% of employees would likely repeat a specific action if given proper recognition for it. Both these stats clearly show why it’s important to reward your top performers, if you want them to keep performing at the same level.

At the end of the day whether in comes in the form of money, certificates, personal or public appreciation employee recognition programs lead to increased job satisfaction and employee engagement levels.

Are there other ways to reward and recognize employees?

There is no limit to the ways you can recognize and reward your employees, and it pays to get creative. There are simple approaches that won’t cost you anything, such as adding all your staff to your company website’s About Us page, mentioning their achievements in a company newsletter, or giving them a special shout-out in a group staff meeting.

On the other end of the spectrum, you could offer top performers financial incentives, such as profit sharing incentives, stock options, or an ownership stake in the business.

To help you get your creative juices flowing, take a look at our well-defined list of 30 creative employee recognition and appreciation ideas for more inspiration.

What are experiential rewards?

Experiential rewards are a type of incentive that provides employees with a real life experience instead of a physical or monetary reward. Sometimes called experience-based rewards, this type of reward is often highly valued by employees because they create long lasting memories and deepen emotional connections between your staff and your company. Due to this fact, offering experiential rewards can help you improve your employee morale and motivate your employees to strive for top notch performance.

Here are some examples of experiential rewards you could consider offering your employees:

  • Special event tickets
  • A weekend trip or hotel voucher
  • A spa day or wellness retreat
  • A gourmet dining experience (e.g., a cooking class or private chef tasting)
  • Outdoor adventure activities
  • Exclusive access to a company event
  • A chance to meet a celebrity or influencer (if your company has connections to one)

As you can see, any one of these items would create more positive memories than a gift card or some free company swag. Definitely some food for thought!

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:

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:

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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By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.