The Ultimate Guide to Employee Recognition Software

Recognizing achievements big and small has a massive impact on attraction, engagement, and retention. The right technology removes recognition barriers so leaders can focus on culture and strategy.

This comprehensive guide makes it easy to build a successful, data-driven program that evolves with your workforce needs.

Why Recognition Matters

Before we dive into the top recognition platforms, let‘s discuss the tangible benefits driving adoption across all industries:

Boosts Engagement

  • Employees who feel regularly recognized are 2.5 times more engaged in their work. This enthusiasm unlocks discretionary effort.

Drives Productivity

  • 24% higher productivity has been observed when employee accomplishments aligned with company values receive authentic appreciation.

Enhances Retention

  • High performers who feel their work goes unnoticed are 87% more likely to leave within two years. Strategic recognition interventions reversed attrition rates by 31% in one hospitality company study.

In today‘s complex business environment engaging and retaining top talent dictates success. People programs must meet individual needs and shifting expectations around purpose, growth, affirmation, and leadership.

While almost all companies appreciate the importance, many lack defined strategies, leadership adoption, or tools fit for their unique culture.

This allows energy-draining gaps to emerge between stated organizational values and day-to-day behaviors. Employees lose trust when promises around transparency, equity, mobility, wellbeing and appreciation aren‘t kept.

That‘s where holistic automation-driven recognition software comes in…

Key Capabilities that Drive Impact

Sophisticated solutions centralize and scale personalized efforts company-wide. Let‘s explore must have features:

Configurable Workflows

Smoothly facilitate peer-to-peer social recognition, manager driven awards aligned to reviews and goals, new hire and milestone celebrations, and other initiatives.

Custom Reports

Pull real-time dynamic reports on program participation, badge distribution, budget allocation, sentiment trends and ROI metrics.

Recognition Impact Analysis

Model the before and after effect different initiatives, communication strategies, leader behaviors and workflow tweaks have on performance indicators like voluntary turnover, absenteeism, productivity, and promotion rates.

HRIS Integrations

Sync with existing human resource information systems to automatically onboard new employees into recognition programs and incorporate achievements and badges into performance profiles.

Automated Triggers

Schedule birthday, anniversary and tenure celebrations. Set up conditional workflows where a badge is issued once a performance goal is met.

Flexible Redemption

Allow employees to choose rewards like gift cards, merchandise, travel experiences, professional development credits, or cash bonuses they find most meaningful. Some even facilitate health saving account contributions or 401k investments as redeemable recognition incentives.

Social Recognition

Newsfeeds where peers and leaders can recognize achievements foster camaraderie by keeping accomplishments visible. API integrations bring recognition into the flow of work by enabling praise direct from Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Slack and more.

ADP & Payroll Partnerships

Seamlessly integrate badges and incentive fulfillment with payroll and the ADP marketplace. This removes friction from issuing spot bonuses,Years of Service cash awards, sendingpeer or HQ generated gift cards and allocating extra PTO.

Sentiment Tracking

Analyze open text feedback and employee survey verbatims associated with badges using AI for trends on engagement drivers, culture themes and areas of concern.

Top 15 Employee Recognition Platforms

The vendors below drive remarkable results across a range of training, performance, culture building and diversity initiatives.

![top 15 recognition software comparison matrix]

While all 15 solutions featured offer fantastic flexibility, certain options better align with specific use cases:

Startups and SMBs – seeking straightforward peer recognition and rewards under $5/user/month thrive with Bonusly, Motivosity or KudosNow.

rapid growth – investing in deep analytics around program efficacy across locations look to Achievers, OC Tanner or Quantum.

Global enterprises – requiring advanced data integration, multiple languages and global procurement leverage OC Tanner, Achievers or Tap My Back.

Remote/hybrid work – focused on visibility, connection and keeping flexibility first evaluate Kazoo, Hortence or Fellow.

Let‘s explore the leaders makingrecognition strategic, scalable and measurable for all organizations ready to double down on living their people promise.

1. Bonusly

Unique Differentiator: Values-centric peer recognition reinforced through strong community engagement


  • Starts at $7.50 per active user/month
  • Enterprise packages available

Best For

  • Startups
  • SMBs
  • Reinforcing Culture
  • Geographic Expansion

Key Capabilities

  • Values-based bonuses
  • Robust rewards integration
  • Real-time metrics dashboard
  • Trigger-based rules
  • Slack integration

Get Started with Bonusly

2. Motivosity

Unique Differentiator: Memorable experiences fueled by real-time insights and proven change management practices


  • Contact for quote based on company size
  • Packages for over 10k employees

Best For

  • Enterprise
  • Fast Growth
  • DE&I Initiatives
  • Mergers & Acquisitions

Key Capabilities

  • Peer recognition tied to core values
  • Robust integration library
  • Custom catalogs and rewards
  • Analytics-driven consultation
  • Global support

Request a Demo

3. OC Tanner

Unique Differentiator: Unparalleled global scalability, integration and strategic consulting around building purpose-drive employee experiences


  • Contact sales for quote

Best For

  • Global organizations
  • Large enterprises
  • sophisticates analytics need
  • Turnkey program launch

Key Capabilities

  • Local support teams worldwide
  • Advanced data integration capabilities
  • Automated permissions and access workflows
  • Strategic culture consulting services
  • Global rewards catalogue

Schedule a Consultation

4. Workstars

Unique Differentiator: Flexible omnichannel approach breaks down regional silos while retaining local relevancy


  • Starts at $5 per employee/month
  • Flat fee options available

Best For

  • Mid-Size business
  • Multi-location organizations
  • Strong chain of command culture

Key Capabilities

  • Enterprise-grade security
  • Multi-currency support
  • Automated notifications and reminders
  • Easy mass communications
  • Robust integration library

Get Started

5. Achievers

Unique Differentiator: Unmatched support at every phase – from attracting leadership buy-in, planning your MVP then expanding reach and maximizing joy


  • Contact sales for quote
  • Packages for over 10k employees

Best For

  • Enterprise
  • Investing in manager effectiveness
  • Scalable American multinationals

Key Capabilities

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion consulting
  • Leadership coaching integrations
  • Advanced analytics and reporting
  • Values embeddedness tracking
  • Multi-faceted change management services

Request a Demo

The rest of this guide discusses:

  • 10 More Top Recognition Platforms
  • Platform Comparisons
  • Budget Considerations
  • Measurement Frameworks
  • Manual vs. Automated Recognition Pros and Cons
  • Implementation Methodology
  • How Industry Leaders Drive Recognition Excellence
  • Overcoming Common Challenges
  • Getting Started Tips for Leaders

Let‘s connect to craft an employee recognition strategy that sustains engagement at scale and makes work more human for the long haul