Ideas for Employee Recognition Events 

Employers use recognition events to show their appreciation to employees for their hard work, commitment and dedication to accomplishing job-related tasks. Informal events are usually held in the office and limited to employees, while more formal events take place off-site where family and friends are invited to help celebrate.



Employee recognition events can be held at the company in a lunch room, staff room or at a nearby restaurant for small recognition events. An event honoring numerous employees may be held at a social club or a reception hall so there’s enough seating for employees, board members and other special guests.


For formal employee recognition events, each invited employee should receive a personally addressed invitation, extending a welcome to family members as well. It can offer a note of congratulations and include an agenda for the evening that includes the names of other employees being recognized, activities planned for the night, the menu, as well mentioning any important guests who have been invited to attend the event. Custom-printed invitations will help set the mood for the recognition event.


Remind employees of their years with the company and co-workers by incorporating photographs from group outings and office events into a slide show that can play as employees arrive and are welcomed into the venue. Decorations can match the company logo and be limited to balloons and centerpieces like glass bowls with floating candles, flower arrangements or edible centerpieces that include fruit.

Activities and Entertainment

From a live jazz band to a guest speaker, employee recognition events not only honor employees, but are also a time for celebration and reflection. Events held in private dining room at restaurants, social clubs or halls typically incorporate musical entertainment while guests are arriving and dinner is being served. Employee recognition events meant to motivate employees often feature keynote speakers who congratulate employees on accomplishments, while motivating them to achieve even more in the years to come. Keynote speakers may include local celebrities, entrepreneurs, authors, or motivational speakers.

Awards and Gifts

Certificates, trophies or medals printed with recipients’ names can be distributed during employee recognition events. Each certificate may list the specific reason why an employee is being rewarded and recognized. Employees are often recognized for completing special projects, being dependable, earning the most sales, most improved sales or for years of service. Call up each recipient to the podium or front of the venue, say a few words about her performance and hand her the award.  Gift cards, mugs, plaques, company t-shirts, vacation packages, bonuses and extra time off are often given as gifts to recognize employee achievement.

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