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18 Unique Employee Recognition Wall Ideas

June 25, 2024

A small thank you can make a big difference in employee morale and motivation, but for many workers, even a pat on the back is more than they typically receive.

Almost half of US workers rarely receive recognition from their manager or other leaders. Only 23% say that their workplace has a system to recognize important work milestones, and just 34% agree their workplace has any recognition system in place at all.

When it comes to employee recognition, less really is less. Without an established process to recognize your workers, employee accomplishments and achievements are overlooked, and with time, job satisfaction and employee morale may plummet.

A good employee recognition wall communicates that employees' skills and efforts are seen and celebrated. It helps you define a clear strategy for employee recognition and ensures that your appreciation is vocalized to both the individual and their colleagues. Here's some inspiration to get you started and our top tips for your recognition display.


What is an Employee Recognition Wall?

An employee recognition wall is a dedicated space that you can use to publicly acknowledge and celebrate the achievements, contributions, and milestones of your employees. The wall can take a variety of forms, such as a physical bulletin board, a whiteboard, a digital screen, or a page on the company's website. The format of your wall depends on what you plan to recognize and where your employees work.

The purpose of an employee recognition wall is to foster a positive work environment by making employees feel valued and appreciated for their efforts. It becomes a tangible display of the gratitude you have for your employees.


Benefits of an employee recognition wall

An effective recognition wall can boost employee satisfaction and the overall performance of your company. Here are a few key advantages (aka, why a recognition wall is worth the effort!).


Enhances employer brand

Your employer brand has a direct impact on your company culture and your hiring success. A company where all types of excellence and progress are celebrated is an attractive place to work. With a strong employer brand, you'll be able to attract top talent to join your team.


Encourages healthy competition

The difference between healthy and unhealthy competition all comes down to the company culture you've worked so hard to build. If you have curated a work culture where workers strive to be their best without resenting the success of others, friendly competition encourages the growth of individuals and teams.


Boosts employee morale

Public recognition is one way to help employees feel valued and increase job satisfaction. An employee recognition wall acknowledges their efforts and contributions so that they feel appreciated.


employee public recognition

Reinforces company values

Celebrating employees who exemplify your company values helps reinforce those values. It serves as a reminder of the behaviors and attitudes that are important to your company's culture.


Fosters a culture of appreciation

Company culture plays a role in every aspect of business, from your hiring practices to the way your accounting department functions. By cultivating a strong culture of appreciation, employees know that they're seen as more than a cog in a machine.

In today's fast-paced work culture, where burnout rates are higher than ever, even passing mentions of gratitude can have a significant impact on workers.


Improves employee retention

Employees are more likely to remain in a workplace where their hard work and dedication are appreciated and recognized. Employees with a longer tenure have a deep well of experience that helps the company function more effectively, and improved retention reduces the costs associated with hiring and training new staff.


18 Unique Employee Recognition Wall Ideas

We've rounded up some of our favorite employee recognition wall ideas to help inspire you. Use one (or any combination of them) to encourage and celebrate your people.


1. Virtual Employee Recognition Board

Approximately 40% of Americans work remotely all or part of the time. A virtual employee recognition board ensures that even if employees never work face-to-face, they still have the opportunity to celebrate each other's achievements.

One option for an online employee recognition board is to utilize a platform like Terryberry's. Our recognition platform offers a place for peer-to-peer, social, and top-down recognition all in one place.


Terryberry's social recognition program


Here are some other tools you might use to create a virtual board:

  • Slack channels
  • Microsoft Teams team or channel
  • Shared Google Doc or Google Sheet
  • Company website page
  • Email newsletters
  • Private LinkedIn groups
  • Project management tools like Asana or Trello
  • Digital bulletin boards such as Padlet

2. Inspirational Quotes Wall

Display a photo of each team member and pair it with an inspirational quote that relates to their strengths. Some possible quote topics you might search for include:

  • communication
  • adaptability
  • leadership
  • mentorship
  • collaboration
  • problem-solving
  • initiative
  • creativity

3. Culture Conquerors

Create a section to recognize employees whose behavior exemplifies the company culture and values you strive for. Include a short blurb about what they did-- whether it's the way they communicated with an irate customer or how they collaborated with other departments-- and the way it ties into a specific value or your overall company mission statement.


4. Sticky Notes Shout Outs

Post-it notes aren't just a powerful tool for organization-- they're also an easy way for employees to shout out their colleagues. Tape off a section of your recognition wall where workers can write short messages that highlight the achievements and efforts of their peers.

As a bonus, every time you refresh the board you can deliver the sticky notes to their recipient as long-lasting motivation.


5. Whiteboard/Chalkboard

A whiteboard or chalkboard can function as a team's own recognition wall that's easily updated to celebrate team achievements or highlight small wins.

For maximum effectiveness, establish a few guidelines. Ask employees to keep their messages positive and specific. Set a schedule for updating the board, such as weekly or monthly, so participants know how long their notes will remain before the board is refreshed.


6. LinkedIn Recommendations

Double the impact of personalized LinkedIn recommendations by printing the kind words someone writes about their colleague and posting them on a bulletin board.


7. Milestone Timeline

Create a timeline that marks employee anniversaries and major achievements. You can also include significant milestones in the company's history, but be sure that the focus is on employee-involved events.

8. Career Climb

Similar to a milestone timeline, a career climb wall showcases employees' career progression within the company. This is the perfect opportunity to feature employees who have been with your organization long-term or have progressed upward throughout their time with you.

A career climb wall can include key features such as work anniversaries, promotions, major projects, and certifications within an individual's career path.


9. Birthday Calendar

One of the easiest ways to celebrate people is simply to acknowledge their birthday. Keep an annual calendar that marks everyone's birthday. Depending on the size of your organization, this could be company-wide, department-wide, or team-wide.

To be safe, make sure people know they can opt-out if they would prefer, and stick to the day and month so you're not revealing anyone's age.



10. Customer Kudos Recognition Wall

Showcase positive feedback and testimonials from customers, highlighting the employee(s) responsible for those great experiences. If you can, include a handwritten note from the customer or client.


11. Community/charity champions

Recognize individuals who are involved with your company's charity and community outreach, showcasing their efforts and the events they spearhead or participate in.


12. Staff superlatives

This nod back to your high school yearbook can be as quirky or as professional as you'd prefer (and your company culture allows for). Here's a mixture of ideas to inspire you:

  • Most Innovative Thinker
  • Best Team Player
  • Mentor of the Year
  • Most Reliable
  • Collaboration Champion
  • Master of Multitasking
  • Tech Troubleshooter
  • Most Likely to Break Out in Song
  • Snack Stash Champion

Take peer nominations for each of the titles that you choose and then tally up the winners. For added fun, ask each titleholder to dress like their high school self when you take their display photo.


13. Team celebrations

Don't forget about rewarding employees as a unit, whether that means celebrating a team after a major project wraps up or calling out an entire department for stellar performance after an especially notable quarter. This is a great way to boost team spirit and encourage future collaboration.


14. Creativity Corner

The focus of a creativity corner is entirely up to your discretion, but it comes down to a few options: celebrate your employees' talents outside of the workplace, focus on work-related innovation, or recognize both.


15. Health and Wellness Wall

Give your company's wellness program a boost by recognizing employees who participate. You can use a health and wellness wall to display results from your latest wellness challenge, display photos from recent team-based wellness events, and even post recognition awards for workers who consistently demonstrate a commitment to health and wellness.

For a simplified approach to wellness challenges such as step challenges, consider a platform like Terryberry's. Participants are able to track their progress and compare it to the progress of their colleagues. A leaderboard recognizes frontrunners who are maximizing their step game and inspires others to rise to the challenge.


16. Lifelong Learners Wall

Recognize employee's achievements when they have completed training programs, earned certifications, or furthered their education in the industry. You might encourage employees to share a blurb about their accomplishments, including the impact that their learning had on their current success and what future goals they have for their education.


17. Team member theme song

Use a playlist to celebrate individual employees and the unique contributions they provide to their team. By associating each employee with a song based on their personality or achievements, you've found another way to connect with workers and demonstrate your appreciation.

Choose a song that resonates with each employee's personality, work style, or achievements. Compile your playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube, where everyone can access it and enjoy listening. When you publish the playlist, include a short explanation of why each song was chosen for an individual.


18. Personal achievements

One of the best ways you can honor and motivate employees is to communicate that you see them as a whole person, not just a worker within your company. Make space to celebrate individual achievements that happen outside of the workplace, like running a marathon, completing a major personal project, or buying a home.


Tips for Creating Employee Recognition Walls

An effective employee recognition wall provides authentic recognition that will resonate with your employees. We've provided a few tips to get you on the right track, but at the end of the day, you know your employees best and know what strategies will have a positive impact on your workplace.


Consider who's responsible for the wall

There are two main aspects involved with creating and maintaining recognition walls.

  1. Someone needs to create and update the visual display.
  2. Someone needs to decide who will be recognized.

Each job may need to be delegated to a different team. HR or an office manager may need to create and manage the visual aspect of the wall, while your leadership team may need to determine who should be recognized for various accomplishments.


Keep it updated

Once you decide who will oversee each task, ask them to block off time in their calendar each week or month to complete an update. Without a specific individual devoting scheduled time to the display, your employee recognition wall may quickly fall through the cracks. You don't want to walk past your recognition board one day and realize it hasn't been updated in the past 8 months.

Update the wall with recent achievements, new employee highlights, and current events. To keep employee engagement high, periodically swap out the sections you have featured.


Incorporate variety

Be intentional about celebrating a mixture of achievements. You can only have one top salesperson each month, and focusing on a single KPI runs the risk of isolating dependable employees who aren't your top performers.

Combine a few of the ideas we compiled above so that you're celebrating a variety of individual and team accomplishments that contribute to the collective success of your organization and the individual characteristics that provide you such a stellar team. These might include:

  • employee milestones
  • meeting sales goals
  • innovative ideas
  • project completion
  • professional development
  • community involvement
  • creativity
  • safety awards

You can also boost morale by including a mixture of peer-to-peer and top-down recognition. One section of the recognition wall can highlight achievements that managers want to emphasize, while another section could include a spot for employees to write encouraging messages to their colleagues.


Encourage interaction

Interaction ----> ownership.

Within the various sections of your recognition board, include at least one section for employees to leave notes, suggestions, or nominations for feedback. Keep all necessary supplies within reach; i.e. a dry-erase marker for a whiteboard or sticky notes for a coworker shoutout section.


Put the display in a central location

Install your recognition wall in a high-traffic area where employees frequently pass by, such as near the break room or main entrance. It should be in a spot that's easily accessible and won't cause disruptions when people stop to interact with or look at it.

Your digital walls should be equally as accessible. If you send out a link in a single email, there's a good chance it's going to be buried in inboxes and promptly forgotten. Consider how you can keep your virtual recognition wall readily available. This might mean asking employees to pin it to their favorites, sending the link in your weekly employee newsletter, or adding it to a Slack channel.


Solicit feedback

Regularly seek feedback from employees to learn what they like about your recognition wall and ideas they have for improvement. Of course, once you're given feedback, put it in action. This will help maximize interest and engagement with your recognition wall.


Monitor for Bias

Implement a clear system so that everyone is celebrated on your recognition wall-- not just the top performers. To ensure fairness and inclusivity, you can:

  • define clear, objective criteria for recognition to minimize subjective judgments.
  • make the criteria for recognition transparent to all employees to ensure everyone understands what is being recognized and why.
  • form a diverse recognition committee that includes representatives from different departments, roles, and backgrounds to provide a variety of perspectives.
  • monitor the demographics of recognized employees, including gender, race, age, and department, to identify any patterns of bias, and compare those demographics to the overall demographics of your workplace.
  • recognize different types of achievements (teamwork, leadership, learning and all types of social recognition) to ensure diverse contributions are valued.
  • create special initiatives or themes to recognize underrepresented groups or less visible contributions.


Celebrate both individuals and teams

Both individual and team accomplishments deserve to be celebrated. Highlighting individuals honors the skill and effort they have demonstrated and encourages other employees to rise to the same level of excellence.


Pair recognition with reward

Terryberry's recognition software streamlines the employee recognition process so that your social recognition is paired with employee incentives like items, experiences, and charitable donations. It's employee recognition both simplified and upgraded-- the best of both worlds.

Contact us to learn more or schedule a free demo today.