Employee recognition best practices - a sincere thank you note! Values-based employee recognition is all the rage because it works. Here are simple successful real-life examples to inspire your recognition planning!

First a little memory refresher: Values-driven employee recognition is rewarding workers for demonstrating behaviors that support one or more of the company’s core values, ranging from great customer service, commitment to quality, improving people’s’ lives or teamwork.

Some ways companies use values-driven employee recognition are:

  • Recognizing one-year employees for living the mission
  • Enabling peer-to-peer recognition to get employees in the habit of appreciating each other’s contributions and help teams bond
  • Rewarding innovation and risk-taking
  • Recognizing great work that supports important company values.

Matt Straz, founder and CEO of Namely, shares a few great examples of value-driven recognition in action in “4 Ways Innovative Companies are Celebrating Their Employees.”

Value-driven employee recognition in action

Pret A Manger

Staff carries around “Wow” cards to recognize in the moment, any employee who impresses them and embodies the Pret values. Stop in their shop sometime and see what a workplace full of happy and engaged employees looks like.


This company celebrates every “Grouponiversary” (first-year work anniversary) by giving employees a bright green Adidas jacket they can personalize with their nicknames. Then workers get star patches for every subsequent anniversary.


Content marketing agency Influence & Co. publicly recognizes employees who make creative contributions to the company’s growth. Top achievers are awarded “The Belt,” a wrestling-style championship belt.


Online retailer Zappos allows workers to recognize colleagues who go the extra mile with a $50 bonus. It helps coworkers appreciate each other!

Red Velvet Events

During weekly staff meetings, one employee gives a troll doll to another and says how that person’s work had been exemplary that week. The recipient adds something to the troll—jewelry, a temporary tattoo—and awards it to another employee at the next staff meeting. It’s fun peer-to-peer recognition.

Tata Group

Tata, an India-based enterprise group, awards its “Dare to Try” reward to innovative employees (regardless of success!) to foster entrepreneurial spirit and creativity.

How are you using values-driven employee recognition?

This is just a smattering of companies that practice values-based employee recognition to reinforce the behaviors that support their company values. It helps workers set goals that boost their company’s growth. Why not give it a try?

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