Sign In

27 Employee Recognition Survey Questions to Boost Engagement

Table of Contents

You appreciate your employees, but are you showing your appreciation in a way that your team members can recognize and understand? The concept of employee recognition often creates a big “question mark” for employers. It’s common to experience a level of uncertainty surrounding the best methods to reward hard work, show employees appreciation, and recognize your team for a job well done.

At Peopelytics, we’ve been analyzing company cultures, manager concerns, and employee input for years—and we’ve found that much of the uncertainty surrounding employee recognition stems from a lack of understanding and transparency. There is a shroud of mystery over the most effective ways to recognize employees because the concept is not one that employees are socialized to discuss openly and honestly. Often, workers don’t know how they’d like to be recognized until they’re asked to think about it.

3 Key takeaways you need to know
  • Tailored employee recognition surveys are an effective approach to understanding how employees prefer to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work.
  • Employee recognition is closely linked to motivation, with studies showing that recognized employees feel more valued, supported, and motivated.
  • By understanding how employees prefer to be recognized through surveys, organizations can design effective recognition strategies that go beyond monetary rewards.
employee satisfaction between coworkers

Why Tailor the Surveys

If you’ve been considering how to best recognize your employees for their hard work, an employee recognition survey can help you solidify your understanding of effective methods to accomplish your goals. Each organization and each employee within it are different and will appreciate recognition in different ways. The key to effective recognition that accomplishes your organization’s human resources goals is an understanding of the most effective methods on an organizational and person-by-person level.

These types of surveys garner real-time, honest feedback and tailored insights to help you jumpstart an employee recognition program that pays dividends for your organization and its employees. In this post, we’ll discuss the keys to effective employee recognition surveys, including:

  • how an employee recognition survey can help you improve engagement, productivity, and resource retention across your organization,
  • sample questions to use in your survey,
  • best practices for survey implementation,
  • and how to use the valuable insights you’ve gathered going forward.

What is an Employee Recognition Survey?

It’s an organization-specific process implemented to gather valuable insights about the way your employees best receive recognition and rewards.

Employee recognition surveys ask thoughtful questions to help get the wheels turning in your employees’ minds about how they are motivated and which specific actions help them feel seen, heard, and appreciated.

When designed effectively, the results of an employee recognition survey can offer your leadership insights into how your company’s time and resources can best be spent; insights will help you develop actionable ways to accomplish key HR goals, such as improving employee engagement, employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

How do They Improve Employee Engagement and Productivity?

Recognition is closely linked to motivation. According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, a month after organizations within an employee recognition study implemented researched recognition solutions, their employees felt “significantly more valued,” “more recognized for their work,” and “more supported by their organization.” These led to impacts on “subjective wellbeing, belonging, intrinsic motivation, and sickness absence rates.”

Increased employee motivation boosts productivity across your entire organization. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how even a low-cost strategy like the deployment of an effective employee engagement survey or employee recognition survey can support a healthy bottom line.

How Can They Improve Employee Retention?

Studies have shown that employees who feel satisfied with and adequately recognized by their employer are less likely to leave and have a better work-life balance. With some estimates placing the cost to replace an employee at three to four times the position’s salary, the ROI of a well-thought-out recognition strategy becomes clear.

While many employers are under the impression that the only way to recognize employees effectively is through pay, the feedback from your employee recognition survey might surprise you. The results of the HBR study previously mentioned showed a significant improvement in employee morale after the deployment of a nonmonetary reward: a simple, well-timed, positive note.

Leverage employee feedback in your HR strategy

Get detailed insights and AI-powered recommendations with eNPS surveys and employee surveys sent through Peoplelytics.

Employee Recognition Survey Questions

Wondering what the right questions to ask are? We’ve got you covered. Here are a few ideas to get you started:  

Agreement scale employee recognition survey questions

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 representing “strongly agree,” and 1 being “strongly disagree,” please rank your agreement with the following statements

  • I feel recognized by my direct manager or supervisor.
  • I feel recognized within my team or department.
  • I feel recognized within the organization as a whole.
  • I feel that my ideas and efforts to innovate are seen and valued.
  • I feel that my concerns are heard and listened to.
  • I feel that the quality of the recognition I receive is appropriate and satisfactory.
  • I feel that the quality of the rewards I receive for my work is appropriate and satisfactory.
  • I prefer to be recognized privately.
  • I prefer to be recognized publicly across the entire organization.
  • I prefer to be recognized publicly across my team or department.
  • As a whole, I feel that employees are recognized fairly within the organization.
  • As a whole, I feel that employees are rewarded fairly within the organization.
  • As a whole, I feel I have a good work-life balance.
  • As a manager, I feel equipped to properly and effectively recognize my employees.
  • As a team leader, I feel equipped to properly and effectively reward my employees.
  • As a manager, I feel I have an appropriate amount of say in who within my team or department is recognized and rewarded.
Ranking the survey questions

Ranking questions can help your leadership understand which methods of recognition may be most effective on a company-wide and individual level. Consider the following ranking question example:

“Please rank the following methods of recognition from most preferred to least preferred.”

  • In-office lunches
  • Company outings
  • Team or group outings
  • Personalized messages about how your specific efforts have helped the organization reach its goals
  • Extra paid time off
  • Extra paid volunteer hours
  • Company-branded merchandise (such as umbrellas, tumblers, or backpacks)
  • Experiences (such as tickets to sporting events or weekend getaways)
  • Gift cards to local restaurants or grocery stores
  • Increased flexibility and autonomy (such as greater flexibility to work from home or tailored working hours)
  • Increased quarterly or annual bonuses
  • Public praise
  • Private acknowledgment and feedback
Open-ended questions 
  • What do you think the company could do to improve its employee recognition and reward system?
  • What is the best recognition or reward experience you’ve had as an employee, whether at this organization or another organization?
  • Who within your team do you think should be recognized or rewarded?
  • Who within our organization do you think should be recognized or rewarded?
  • How do you perceive the organization’s current employee recognition and reward programs or strategies?

Best Practices for Employee Recognition Surveys

For an organization that’s just getting started on revamping its recognition and reward program, gathering insights can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, great software helps make the process both intuitive and productive. Here are some best practices to keep in mind as you’re developing your employee recognition survey:

  • Don’t discount nonmonetary incentives as potential tools for employee recognition. Employers may feel that suggestions of nonmonetary incentives (like thank you notes or private praise) will feel insulting to employees. It’s common for employers to underestimate the value of nonmonetary incentives as compared to cash bonuses or methods of recognition that easily translate into a dollar amount. However, studies have shown that non-monetary incentives can be more effective than monetary incentives, primarily because of their memory value, trophy value, and the flexibility they impart.
  • Utilize survey software that’s designed to be user-friendly. You can mandate or require completion of your employee recognition survey, but the best insights come from truly enthusiastic and engaged respondents. Keep your employees engaged and avoid survey fatigue by administering your surveys using software that’s designed to be user-friendly, interactive, and exciting to use.
  • Be realistic about what forms of recognition and rewards you can provide. In and of itself, your employee recognition survey can be the beginning of sparking a feeling of appreciation within your workforce. Employee recognition surveys are often among the well-received surveys employers can administer—after all, the goal of the survey, if accomplished, directly benefits employees. The last thing you want to do, however, is to over-promise and under-deliver. Be careful not to make any representations that an employee will be rewarded in the specific ways they request. Remember that your goal is to gather feedback about preferences and the effectiveness of various strategies.
  • Best practices post survey, once you have the survey results, review the data, determine the key takeaways, and come up with actionable next steps. 

How to Use the Insights

  • Understand differences on various levels. An effective employee recognition survey can gather deep insights from simple answers, identifying preference differences across roles, departments, and on an employee-by-employee level. For example, you may find that certain departments are interested in group outings, while others prefer private praise.
  • Explore incentive options that boost your ROI. Through data, information about the best ways to invest your employee recognition dollars becomes clear. By measuring employees’ opinions and outcomes related to recognition and reward systems, you can unlock patterns, including answers to questions like: How can I make the most out of our HR budget? Which recognition metrics correlate with retention long-term? What can we do to boost our employees’ intrinsic motivation?
  • Take the guesswork out of your data. If your survey software isn’t making your HR processes easier, it’s time to explore other options. Peoplelytics’ survey tools share detailed breakdowns of your data with you, so you don’t have to export data and try to sort through it yourself. Our software even makes recommendations for your next steps. With the right survey software, you can take your insights to the next level.

Let’s Recap

Employee recognition is a vital aspect of fostering a positive work environment and enhancing organizational performance. The concept of employee recognition surveys emerges as a powerful tool to understand how employees prefer to be acknowledged and rewarded for their hard work. By conducting tailored surveys, organizations can gain valuable insights into the most effective methods of recognition on both an organizational and individual level.

The findings from such surveys can significantly impact various aspects of the workplace, including employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Studies have shown that employees who feel valued and recognized are more motivated, leading to increased productivity and reduced turnover rates. Moreover, the implementation of nonmonetary rewards, such as personalized messages or public praise, can have a profound impact on morale and job satisfaction. To maximize the benefits of employee recognition programs, organizations should focus on gathering feedback through well-designed surveys, utilizing user-friendly survey software, and being realistic about the forms of recognition they can provide. By understanding the preferences of employees at different levels and exploring incentive options that align with organizational goals, companies can create a culture of appreciation that drives employee motivation and long-term success. Ready to send your employee recognition survey? Check out our free demo to get started!

About the Author

You Might Also Find These Helpful