Top Ways to Recognize Your Employees

A global study by the O.C. Tanner Institute, a leader in the recognition industry for over 85 years, proves that appreciation and recognition is the number one thing employees say their managers could do to inspire great work. From verbal recognition and opportunities for promotion, to financial compensation or flexible working hours, there are many ways to acknowledge your employees’ contributions and achievements. While some of these forms of recognition may not be appropriate for every organization, employee recognition events can be a great way to bring a company together, show appreciation for employees, and create a positive work environment.

Consider the following benefits for including employee recognition programs in your company culture:

  • Make Employees Feel Appreciated: Showing appreciation for your employees and what they do makes them feel valued. Employees will strive to do great work if they feel that their efforts are noticed and respected. Hosting employee events and outings shows your team that their hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.
  • Improve Company Culture: Bringing employees together in a relaxed environment to engage in casual conversation builds camaraderie amongst employees and increases creativity. From interns to C-level executives, taking your staff outside of the office fosters team-building and solidifies relationships. Creating opportunities for employees who may not work closely together on a daily basis to get to know each other helps unite them. Beyond this, inviting spouses or families to your corporate outings shows your appreciation for the families that support your employees at home and gives employees a chance to get to know the families of their co-workers, creating additional connections.
  • Increase Retention & Job Satisfaction: Engaging employees in regular outings and gatherings helps create a positive work environment and keeps employees feeling energized and happy. This helps foster employee retention and increase job satisfaction while also differentiating your company from others.
  • Increase Productivity: Giving employees a break from their workload during business hours to get out, relax, and socialize with their colleagues can increase productivity and lower stress levels for when they get back to the office.

At Castle, we help clients plan employee recognition events and sales incentive trips around the world. We advocate putting a creative spin on a company gathering to take it from the mundane to the memorable. Here are a few ideas:

  • Happy Hours or Socials: These can easily be done regularly and putting a little extra thought and creativity into your happy hours or socials can go a long way and does not go unnoticed with employees. They can be as simple as an ice cream social – order a catered sundae bar into the office or have an ice cream food truck come by on a summer afternoon, or a bit more complex such as a Margaritaville themed happy hour complete with tropical treats and an exotic bird display.
  • Sporting Events: Offer tickets to a local sporting event and casually meet at a bar or restaurant beforehand for a bite, or rent a box or private event space right at the stadium to host your team with catered food and beverage. Encourage everyone to wear the jersey of their favorite player! If you have the budget, consider an over-the-top sports experience for your best performers.
  • Teambuilding: The options for corporate teambuilding are endless – anything that brings employeestogether in a competitive (yet collaborative) setting to increase motivation and promote cooperation. Some options for teambuilding include a rowing or sailing regatta complete with a clambake afterwards, beach Olympics or boat building competitions with judges and an awards ceremony, or timed scavenger hunts around your city.
  • Themed Events: From family-friendly outings with a carnival theme and activities for the whole family to enjoy, to seasonal events such as a holiday party or fall festival, themed events can take many different forms and are always fun to get into the spirit!

  • Outings around Your City: Too often we forget to get out and experience the city we live and/or work in – what better way to experience it than with a group of co-workers that you can create some new memories with. Some of our favorite corporate outings in our home city of Boston include Duck Boat rides, foodie tours, game days on one of the Boston Harbor Islands, Freedom Trail tours or scavenger hunts, Irish pub crawls, whale watches on Boston Harbor Cruises, or a sailing regatta at Courageous Sailing Center.
  • Company Retreats: A great way to combine business affairs with leisure and build team camaraderie is with a company retreat – usually a one- to two-night getaway that can include meetings, leisure time, evening events where everyone comes together, and many opportunities to address the company as a whole in a relaxed setting. One of our partners, MK3 Creative, took their employees on a two-night getaway to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico. We did our own company retreat in Stowe, Vermont and enjoyed the beautiful New England fall weather, while creating a strategy for our 20th anniversary marketing campaign, balanced by spa time and fabulous food.

When you do offer an employee appreciation event or outing, be sure to communicate the reasons for the get-together. Take a moment during that outing to let employees know how much they are appreciated and that this is a time to celebrate the success of the company and the individuals who support it.

As a public relations and event management firm in Boston, Castle has planned all kinds of employee recognition events for our clients and within our own company. There are fun and enjoyable options within all budget ranges and Castle can tailor a unique, personal experience for your next company outing to both meet your budgetary requirements and reach the goals you are looking to achieve in showing appreciation for your employees and fostering a positive, upbeat work environment.


The Castle Group, Senior Event Director, Callie Cleary
Written By: Callie Cleary


Outdoors of the Castle Group office