16 Best Employee Recognition Platforms - 2023

We've continuously researched the best employee rewards & recognition software, doing dozens of demos each year and talking to the smartest HR people around to come up with our shortlist

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast

Contributing Experts

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The Best Employee Recognition & Rewards Program Platforms

Hand picked by our HR Technology experts after product testing, user research, and much debate - enjoy!

Reward Gateway is an employee engagement platform that combines employee recognition and reward, surveys, communication, discounts (instant vouchers and cashback offers), wellbeing and analytics in a single solution.
Nectar's employee recognition and rewards platform is ideal for companies who want a high engagement peer to peer solution with great analytics and rewards built in.
Unlike many vendors in the recognition space, Motivosity believes in an employee driven culture which manifests itself in a product focused on peer to peer recognition and engagement versus the top down nature of most incumbent players in this space.
Bonusly is easy to use and set up, comes with a large rewards catalog, and is simply a great peer-to-peer recognition platform.
WorkTango combines continuous performance management, employee recognition, rewards, and engagement surveys into one powerful platform to help you improve employee experience and by extension, company culture.
They simplify rewards, recognition, and incentives thanks to their Amazon Business integration which gives them access to a huge number of employee rewards.
Kudos® have paired their employee recognition software with additional employee engagement functionality. Features like spaces and galleries and culture tools are unique to the space. They also do consulting for companies that need extra assistance.
Mo offers an impressive range of virtual and delivered rewards to elevate moments of recognition. You can also use Mo for employee recognition without the rewards element. Furthermore, it is available in 12 languages, making it ideal for globally distributed teams.
Not only is Guusto a top-rated (and free) recognition & rewards SaaS provider, they actually donate 1 day of clean drinking water for every gift sent.
Bucketlist helps HR teams to engage employees through a customizable rewards and recognition platform that easily integrates with the apps your employees already use like Slack, Teams, Outlook.
As an employee experience platform, Cooleaf empowers companies to engage and motivate their staff by capturing employee sentiment using pulse surveys, performance incentives, and bringing employees together with recognition and virtual activities.
Workstars provides companies with a dynamic platform for highly customizable recognition programs for their employees.
They’ve been quick to adopt a remote-first approach to team recognition, helping you send gifts to employees, customers, or prospects to their home, for instance.
Darwinbox's employee rewards and recognition solution allows you to create completely configurable reward programs, design your own badges and banners and customize them to resonate with your brand. They also offer reward redemption options from a marketplace of 1500+ retailers across 55+ countries.
Assembly helps small and midsized companies to acknowledge employees so they can build a strong culture and reduce employee churn through peer to peer recognition.
WeGift is a smart solution for distributing gift cards at scale. They stand out for providing access to 1300+ brands, bulk discounts of up to 25% off, and the ability to reclaim unspent value on expired gift cards.
Blueboard is a one-stop-shop to create personalized and meaningful rewards for employees, most in the form of real-life memorable experiences.
Gifted is completely free, easy to set up, lets people choose their gifts, and features automated & timed gifting.

Introduction to Employee Recognition Software

We've done nearly 100 demos with employee recognition software vendors over the years and this article is the result of our efforts. Employee recognition used to be a boring category within HR Tech, but has transformed in recent years into one of the most important components of any company's employee experience.

Why is that you ask? The older employee recognition platforms had limited capability and were basically just a means for a company to send a gift to employees on their birthday or work anniversary. Employees would barely use these solutions, and thus they had no impact on retention or culture.

Modern employee recognition software tools, on the other hand, are much different for two reasons. First, these systems now integrate with Slack, Teams, Outlook, and other tech that employees use every day, so they are easy to access. Second, the majority of employee recognition platforms are centered around peer-to-peer recognition. This means employees are recognizing each other for milestones, accomplishments, or just being a great colleague.

Peer-to-peer recognition is more powerful than "congrats on your work anniversary" and you can see that in the data. An employee is recognized, gets a notification, logs in, and then while in the tool they also recognize a different colleague for something. This new colleague of course logs in to do the same flow, and the cycle repeats creating a viral loop.

Historically, employee recognition tools were used by 10% of a company’s employees in a month, at most. Now, the best-in-class vendors have 98% of employees interacting with their solutions every single month. This means HR can make an impact on retention, values, and culture by leveraging employee recognition systems.

This guide is the result of years of research (since 2018!) into the best employee recognition program platforms so that HR teams can buy the right software for their organization. It includes in-depth reviews of the top vendors, along with a breakdown of pricing, ROI, use cases, and everything else we think you need to be successful when buying employee recognition software.

We hope this guide will save you hours of research, and allow you to purchase the right recognition solution for your business!

Our criteria: How we chose the best vendors

We take research seriously. To make sure we’re offering our readers the very best solutions in a given software category, we are methodical, rigorous, and expansive in our research. We consult with HR professionals, vendors, and industry experts. We cut through the noise to bring you a carefully curated list of vendors, along with other essential information, to help you find the right software platform for your business. 

Here’s how we chose who makes the cut: 

Product: We believe in gaining a comprehensive understanding of a product before we recommend it, so we start by getting to know the software. Whenever possible, we meet with a senior executive (CEO or Head of Product) for a demo and Q&A. We also test the product ourselves to make sure it has a solid UI, intuitive workflows, and the features to make it a best-in-class offering. 

User feedback: We go straight to the source and compile feedback on user experience. Real-world input supports our commitment to diligence in our software evaluation methods and the products we recommend. Keeping up with the everyday experience of HR pros also puts new vendors on our radar, and it keeps us close to our community so we can better connect the right products to the right people.

Financial metrics: We are certified finance nerds, so we use all the data we can get our hands on to make selections for our guides. We comb through data for concrete statistics like retention rates, growth, profitability, and scalability. We evaluate the bottom line of each product because we know making a software purchase can put your reputation on the line. 

Best for a use case: Software is never a one-size-fits-all product. Sometimes the best solution is free or cheap. Other times it’s the one that is best for global companies or the one that’s sized right for early-stage startups. Keeping this in mind, we include solutions across the spectrum so our readers can find the best fit for their unique needs.

Here's more detail if you want to read more about how we research vendors. Our dedicated staff writers rely on hard data, impartial experts, and user feedback to ensure our reviews are helpful, truthful, and hopefully a pleasure to read!

Top Employee Rewards & Recognition Software

We track thousands of HRTech solutions, these are the best employee recognition companies per our research and expert council as of 2023

Reward Gateway Dashboard Screenshot - one of the best recognition software for employees

Reward Gateway

Review:

With over 1,800 customers and over 5 million users, Reward Gateway is a leader in the rewards and recognition space. Their solution is built on an engaging peer to peer recognition platform that allows colleagues to recognize one another and turn that recognition into perks and rewards.

Reward Gateway

Stats:

  • Active since 2006, 5 million employees reached so far
  • Trusted by more than 1,800 companies 
  • NPS Score of 60
  • Active since 2006, over 5 users reached so far
  • Trusted by more than 2,500 companies 
  • NPS Score of 72

Reward Gateway

Pricing:

  • You can choose to purchase solutions separately, like only the employee recognition and surveys modules, for instance, or go for the full employee engagement platform. 
  • If you happen to be in the United Kingdom or Australia, they also offer a “Reward Gateway for Small Business” version which is £6 per employee per month, with no lock-in contract.
  • The price is not revealed publicly, which means you would get a custom quote depending on your business size and needs.
  • You can choose to purchase solutions separately, like only the employee recognition and surveys modules, for instance, or go for the full employee engagement platform. 
  • If you happen to be in the United Kingdom or Australia, they also offer a “Reward Gateway for Small Business” version which is £6 per employee per month, with no lock-in contract.
  • The price is not revealed publicly, which means you would get a custom quote depending on your business size and needs.

Best For

Companies in any industry could benefit from one or several of Reward Gateway’s employee engagement tools.

Nectar's Employee Recognition Software dashboard screenshot

Nectar

Review:

Nectar's solution is built around a peer to peer recognition feed that aligns employee accomplishments with company core values. Each employee (including managers) gets a points balance each month they can allocate to colleagues that go above and beyond. Nectar is known to have an extensive reward selection - employees can then redeem rewards for Amazon products, gift cards, company swag, charities, and a whole lot more.

They also have a new wellness component, and are quickly releasing high impact integrations and features such as their organizational network analysis tool which gives HR insights into which teams recognize one another the most.

Nectar

Stats:

Nectar

Pricing:

Nectar offers a free tier that is unlimited and designed to help companies showcase the value of recognition to senior management.

Their Standard Plan is $2.50 per employee per month ($2.75 if billed monthly) and includes key features like manager to employee recognition, Slack/Teams integration, recognition automation for birthdays/anniversaries, and analytics.

Their Plus Plan is $3.50 per employee per month ($4.25 if billed monthly) and includes key features like customer branding, SSO, HRIS integrations, wellness challenges, and on demand company swag as a reward option.

Nectar offers a free tier that is unlimited and designed to help companies showcase the value of recognition to senior management.

Their Standard Plan is $2.50 per employee per month ($2.75 if billed monthly) and includes key features like manager to employee recognition, Slack/Teams integration, recognition automation for birthdays/anniversaries, and analytics.

Their Plus Plan is $3.75 per employee per month ($4.25 if billed monthly) and includes key features like customer branding, SSO, HRIS integrations, wellness challenges, and on demand company swag as a reward option.

Lastly, Nectar has volume discounts for organizations with 500+ users.

Best For

Nectar is best for smaller companies (<1,000 employees) who value employee recognition as a means to build culture.

Motivosity's employee rewards program dashboard screenshot

Motivosity

Review:

Motivosity combines four products in one. Their platform allows you to connect with employees, understand their performance drivers, and recognize them for a job well done. What’s great about Motivosity is that it isn’t just for managers to use, but employees too. The platform facilitates peer-to-peer recognition so everyone’s feedback is heard.

Motivosity

Stats:

  • 96% of employees login on a monthly basis
  • The average HR admin spends just 43 minutes/mo in the system
  • Their solution is based around 3 pillars: Building Community, Employee Recognition, Manager Relationships
  • 96% of employees login on a monthly basis
  • The average HR admin spends just 43 minutes/mo in the system
  • Their solution is based around 3 pillars: Building Community, Employee Recognition, Manager Relationships

Motivosity

Pricing:

Motivosity’s pricing works per module. “Connect” is included with every license of the other three. They do offer a free trial for each of them and the pricing is as follows: 

  • Connect: Free
  • Recognize: $4 per person per month
  • Lead: $5 per person per month
  • Listen: $2 per person per month

Motivosity’s pricing works per module. “Connect” is included with every license of the other three. They do offer a free trial for each of them and the pricing is as follows: 

  • Connect: Free
  • Recognize: $4 per person per month
  • Lead: $5 per person per month
  • Listen: $2 per person per month

Best For

Movitosity’s employee recognition software has customers from 10 person startups to 10,000 employee large enterprises.  However, their sweet spot tends to be mid market (100-3,000 employee) companies that are looking to take their employee experience to a new level.

Bonusly

Review:

Bonusly’s peer-to-peer employee recognition platform is designed to increase employee engagement and retention through employee shout outs that are tied to company values and redeemable for real-world, meaningful rewards.

They’ve focused on allowing employees to access this solution from a plethora of integrations and apps which results in 75-90% of employees using the platform each month.

Bonusly

Stats:

  • Customers from over 100 countries
  • Over 16 million bonuses given
  • 89% of Bonusly users participate within their first month
  • 79% receive recognition at least once a month
  • Customers from over 100 countries
  • Used by over 2,400 companies
  • Over 16 million bonuses given
  • 89% of Bonusly users participate within their first month
  • 79% receive recognition at least once a month

Bonusly

Pricing:

The pricing details of Bonusly are as follows:

  • Core: This plan costs $2.70 per user per month when billed annually.
  • Pro: This plan costs $4.50 per user per month when billed annually.
  • Custom: This plan is designed for large organizations and has custom pricing.  

Note: Free trials and demos are available

The pricing details of Bonusly are as follows:

  • Core: This plan costs $2.70 per user per month when billed annually.
  • Pro: This plan costs $4.50 per user per month when billed annually.
  • Custom: This plan is designed for large organizations and has custom pricing.  

Note: Free trials and demos are available

Best For

Bonusly serves companies in different verticals. As for company size, Bonusly has been used by companies between 50-5,000 employees.

Worktango dashboard screenshot - the employee rewards program

WorkTango

Review:

WorkTango’s rewards and recognition engine is a huge part of their offering. It pretty much checks all the boxes when it comes to rewards and recognition, whether it’s a company feed, a points system, a broad rewards catalog, and the option to add custom rewards. On this latter point, one feature that stands out is the ability of creating unique catalogs from their offering and tie them as incentives for the completion of a specific milestone or an internal initiative.

WorkTango

Stats:

  • 95% customer retention rate 
  • 600+ global customers 
  • 1-3% average improvement in productivity
  • 10-20% higher employee retention
  • 95% customer retention rate 
  • 600+ global customers 
  • 1-3% average improvement in productivity
  • 10-20% higher employee retention

WorkTango

Pricing:

  • You can choose to buy a growth, standard, or enterprise subscription plan for the rewards & recognition tool alone, the performance management tool, or the full platform. 
  • The recognition platform alone starts at $5.00 per employee per month, billed annually, if you have less than 250 employees (growth). 
  • The standard plan for 250-1000 employees starts at $4.25 USD per user per month. 
  • You can get a custom quote for more than 1000 employees.

WorkTango has three plans. The pricing of those plans depends on the modules included. For example, you can either purchase WorkTango's Recognition or Performance solutions individually or have them combined in a single plan (i.e. the full platform). When billed annually, the pricing of WorkTango's plans is as follows:

  • Growth: Designed for companies with 100 - 250 employees, this plan costs $5 per employee per month for the Recognition module, $9 per employee per month for the Performance module, $2.50 for surveys, and $12.50 per employee per month for the full platform (Recognition + Performance).
  • Standard: Designed for companies with 250 - 1000 employees, this plan costs $4.25 per employee per month for the Recognition module, $7.50 per employee per month for the Performance module, $2.00 for surveys, and $10.50 per employee per month for the full platform (Recognition + Performance).
  • Enterprise: Designed for companies with 1,000 or more employees, this plan has custom pricing. Contact WorkTango's Sales team for a quote.

Best For

Although WorkTango can be used by any company size, from SMBs to Fortune 100 enterprises, their 600+ clients are predominantly mid-sized to small enterprises in knowledge worker industries, such as software & tech, FSI, healthcare, and business services. 

Awardco's dashboard screenshot - one of the best employee recognition company

Awardco

Review:

Organizations with over 100 employees use Awardco to retain the people they can't afford to lose. Awardco offers one of the largest reward networks on the planet with Amazon and more. They also have flexible settings that enable admins to customize programs unique to their company and culture.

Awardco

Stats:

  • Fastest Growing Rewards & Recognition Platform in America according to the Inc. 5000 list
  • No markups whatsoever
  • 300 million+ reward options
  • 96% client satisfaction
  • Fastest Growing Rewards & Recognition Platform in America according to the Inc. 5000 list
  • No markups whatsoever
  • 300 million+ reward options
  • 96% client satisfaction
  • 3M+ users

Awardco

Pricing:

Awardco has a $5,000 minimum annual fee. The final pricing structure would vary according to your company size and reward needs.

Awardco has a $5,000 minimum annual fee. The final pricing structure would vary according to your company size and reward needs.

Best For

Companies with 100+ employees that want to streamline their recognition process with the power of Amazon Business.

Kudos (a employee recognition platform) dashboard screenshot

Kudos

Review:

Kudos®’s platform is specifically designed to engage employees through peer to peer recognition, that can also include employee rewards. Recognition sent within the Kudos® platform is tied to company values and qualities, reinforcing your culture and enabling deep data insights into the health of your workplace culture. In addition to software, they offer consulting services.

Kudos

Stats:

  • Up to 36% improvement in employee retention
  • Used in over 23 industries in 80 countries
  • Available in 11 different languages
  • Up to 36% improvement in employee retention
  • Used in over 23 industries in 80 countries
  • Available in 11 different languages

Kudos

Pricing:

Kudos has two editions which are priced as follows:

  • Plus: For $5 per user per month, Kudos Plus helps you run effective employee recognition program with features for peer-to-peer recognition, optional rewards, and a lot more. Discounts are available based on the final user count and contract term.
  • Enterprise: For $7 per user per month, Kudos Enterprise gives you everything the Kudos platform has to offer, with additional functionality to run Kudos across multiple countries, operations centers, etc. Enterprise customers also get insights from Kudos’ dedicated people analytics teams, culture programming assistance, discounts based on the final user count/contract term and more.

Kudos has two editions which are priced as follows:

  • Plus: For $5 per user per month, Kudos Plus helps you run effective employee recognition program with features for peer-to-peer recognition, optional rewards, and a lot more. Discounts are available based on the final user count and contract term.
  • Enterprise: For $7 per user per month, Kudos Enterprise gives you everything the Kudos platform has to offer, with additional functionality to run Kudos across multiple countries, operations centers, etc. Enterprise customers also get insights from Kudos’ dedicated people analytics teams, culture programming assistance, discounts based on the final user count/contract term and more.

Best For

Clients with teams that span 250 to thousands of users in practically any country and industry. Great for those that want complete communication and feedback tools in their recognition software.

Our reviewer took screenshot of Mo's Employee Engagement Platform Software during the review

Mo

Review:

Mo’s rewards and recognition platform helps companies improve employee morale and reduce churn. It features Moments and Boosts, which can be used to recognize employees for their individual achievements, celebrate group wins and more. Mo also lets you reward employees either with vouchers that they can redeem at several stores including Amazon, ASOS, and John Lewis, or with custom rewards that you can personalize to the relevant team member. Besides rewards that your managers give out, you can also empower employees to be involved in the process and choose award or recognition recipients with peer-to-peer nominations.

Mo

Stats:

  • SHL, a talent acquisition and management software vendor, gained a 9% increase in overall employee engagement with Mo.
  • William Hill, an online gambling company headquartered in London, England, has seen a 30% increase in employee recognition across the organization since using Mo.
  • SHL, a talent acquisition and management software vendor, gained a 9% increase in overall employee engagement with Mo.
  • William Hill, an online gambling company headquartered in London, England, has seen a 30% increase in employee recognition across the organization since using Mo.

Mo

Pricing:

Mo has three plans. When billed annually, they are priced as follows: 

  • Starter: Designed for small teams that are getting started with recognition software, this plan costs $3.40 per user per month and packs the features you need to recognize achievements, celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and more. 
  • Level Up: For $4.25 per user per month, this plan covers everything from Starter, plus the ability to hold award nominations and give rewards, as well as gain access to advanced reporting, deep insights, and third-party integrations.
  • Custom: Made for large companies, this plan has custom pricing and provides users with access to all features on other plans, plus rewards and recognition program design, advanced security, premium support, and implementation services.

Mo has three plans. When billed annually, they are priced as follows: 

  • Starter: Designed for small teams that are getting started with recognition software, this plan costs $3.40 per user per month and packs the features you need to recognize achievements, celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and more. 
  • Level Up: For $4.25 per user per month, this plan covers everything from Starter, plus the ability to hold award nominations and give rewards, as well as gain access to advanced reporting, deep insights, and third-party integrations.
  • Custom: Made for large companies, this plan has custom pricing and provides users with access to all features on other plans, plus rewards and recognition program design, advanced security, premium support, and implementation services.

Best For

Companies of all sizes can find value in Mo's offering. The platform has enough functionality to help companies drive employee engagement through rewards and recognition.

Our reviewer took screenshot of Guusto Employee Reward Programs's dashboard during the review

Guusto

Review:

Companies that are looking to boost retention and build a stronger culture should check out Guusto. Guusto is a simple to set up employee rewards and recognition tool that helps engage your people and inspire great performance. A key differentiator for their solution (besides easy setup) is that it is free to use. This means that all of your rewards budget is spent on your employees, not software fees. They can do this as they've spent a lot of time negotiating deals with thousands of merchants you can choose from when sending your employees recognition.

Guusto

Stats:

  • Over 60,000 merchant locations to choose from
  • Over 60,000 merchant locations to choose from

Guusto

Pricing:

Guusto offer the following pricing plans:

  • Individual: Free. As a single user, you only pay for rewards.
  • Essential: Starts from $2.25 per member/month
  • Premium: Starts from $3.50 per member/month

Subscription fees only apply to team members sending gifts, not all employees. The HR team's budget will be linked to how much per employee per year you want to spend. Also, some contract minimums may apply.

Guusto offer the following pricing plans:

  • Individual: Free. As a single user, you only pay for rewards.
  • Essential: Starts from $2.25 per member/month
  • Premium: Starts from $3.50 per member/month

Subscription fees only apply to team members sending gifts, not all employees. The HR team's budget will be linked to how much per employee per year you want to spend. Also, some contract minimums may apply.

Best For

Good solution for small and large companies alike. Any company looking to highlight achievers and recognize employee performance could use Guusto.

Bucketlist (a employee recognition platform) dashboard screenshot

Bucketlist

Review:

Bucketlist is one of the fastest-growing rewards and recognition platforms for a couple of reasons. They have a fully customizable solution that fits any organization's workflows. They have also invested into a rewards catalog that includes everything from gift cards to learning how to fly.

They are always rolling out new features and one of our favorites is an events platform where team members can set up in person or virtual events, invite co-workers, and see who's coming. These are great team building exercises for anything from a virtual celebration to an in person get together.

Bucketlist

Stats:

  • 31% reduction in voluntary turnover Rates
  • 25% average increase in productivity
  • Over 1,000 teams using it

As of 2022, Bucketlist is used by over 1,000 teams. Some of the have experienced results like: 

  • 31% reduction in voluntary turnover Rates
  • 25% average increase in productivity
  • 2.5x increase revenue

Bucketlist

Pricing:

  • Free demo and free 14 day trial available. 
  • They try to negotiate the best price for you and offer to match another offer if you find a better price. 
  • If you’re not happy with the tool in 90 days, they’ll refund your money.
  • The price of subscription is not revealed publicly, which means you would get a custom quote depending on your business size and needs.
  • Free demo and free 14 day trial available. 
  • If you’re not happy with the tool in 90 days, they’ll refund your money.
  • The price of subscription is not revealed publicly, which means you would get a custom quote depending on your business size and needs.
  • They try to negotiate the best price for you and offer to match another offer if you find a better price.

Best For

Mid to large size companies (100 - 5,000 employees) that want higher employee engagement and lower voluntary turnover.

Cooleaf dashboard screenshot taken during reviewing it's employee rewards solution

Cooleaf

Review:

Cooleaf has a wide variety to pick from when it comes to rewards and recognition. You can select products, create a team store, send your people on trips, or go for the classic gift cards or coupons. Their selection of experiential activities, such as challenges, are built by experts who work with several types of industries and teams. To give you a better idea, some of the programs are focused on learning and development, health and wellness, and overall workplace culture.

Cooleaf

Stats:

  • Cooleaf has a customer retention rate of 98.74%
  • They have an ARR run rate of $4.5 million. 
  • Cooleaf has an average customer adoption rate of 90+%
  • Cooleaf has a customer retention rate of 98.74%
  • They have an ARR run rate of $4.5 million. 
  • Cooleaf has an average customer adoption rate of 90+%
  • 60,000+ users served
  • 3+ million recognitions done through the platform

Cooleaf

Pricing:

Cooleaf offers custom pricing via a monthly subscription model based on the number of employees included in the program. Companies using the solution have to allocate a rewards budget for employees. Of course, this budget is flexible.

Cooleaf offers custom pricing via a monthly subscription model based on the number of employees included in the program. Companies using the solution have to allocate a rewards budget for employees. Of course, this budget is flexible.

Best For

Small and mid-sized businesses with an average workforce of 250+ people. Cooleaf is also best for remote or hybrid brands looking to boost employee satisfaction. 

Workstars

Review:

Workstars aims to boost employee engagement with their innovative employee recognition software. They are offering an excellent free-to-launch SaaS platform that can virtually address employee recognition regardless of the size of the client. They stand out by giving clients the flexibility of setting up highly-customizable reward systems.

Workstars

Stats:

  • 100+ platform configurations
  • 95% customer retention rate
  • 100+ platform configurations
  • 95% customer retention rate

Workstars

Pricing:

There are no fees for setting up the system for the client. Pricing is strictly dependent on the number of users, the number of features the client wants, and whether the system is for a multinational organization. Workstars offers three subscription plans: Entry, Pro, and Global. To give you an idea, for a company with 251-500 employees, Workstars starts at £1.25 per employee per month.

There are no fees for setting up the system for the client. Pricing is strictly dependent on the number of users, the number of features the client wants, and whether the system is for a multinational organization. Workstars offers three subscription plans: Entry, Pro, and Global. To give you an idea, for a company with 251-500 employees, Workstars starts at £1.25 per employee per month.

Best For

Workstars are great for scalability. Their clients have a range of 50-10,000 employees.

Assembly

Review:

Assembly's employee recognition and rewards software enables HR teams to build stronger cultures with more engaged employees through various forms of recognition. 

Specifically, employees use Assembly to recognize their co-workers for accomplishments large and small. In turn, these recognitions can be broadcasted to the rest of the company. 

Notably, Assembly offers a free tier for smaller companies, or small teams within an organization that want to give this a try before implementing it at large.

Assembly

Stats:

  • Companies see >90% monthly participation from employees
  • Hundreds of reward options in the US and internationally

Assembly

Pricing:

Assembly offers a free version for up to 20 employees. Paying customers are charged $2.50 - $4.00 per employee per month depending on the features you're looking for and if you choose an annual vs monthly plan.

Best For:

Snappy

Review:

Snappy believes in giving gifts to engage employees, versus points or dollars which they view as impersonal. According to our research, they’ve got lots of notes from employees to prove their approach has merit. One nice part of their offering is that their team will spend time at the beginning of the implementation to make sure there are automated touch points built into your employee rewards and recognition program (birthdays, anniversaries, first day of work, etc).

Snappy

Stats:

  • $10 million raised in the fall of 2018
  • Used by 200+ large companies around the world
  • Featured in Forbes, Inc., Ladders, and Yahoo! News.

Snappy

Pricing:

Best For:

HR, Marketing, Sales, and Support managers that want a novel way of motivating and engaging their employees.

Darwinbox

Review:

Darwinbox's employee rewards and recognition solution allows you to customize and configure your reward programs from scratch, design badges and banners that reflect your brand and create gamified leaderboards. Rewards can either be redeemed from a marketplace of 1500+ retailers across 55+ countries or exchanged in return for paid time off, monetary bonus, or other benefits.

The platform also comes with a budget management feature to automate budget allocation geography-wise, moderate the budgets for every reward program, and create a report on the spending history.

Darwinbox

Stats:

  • Darwinbox serves 700+ enterprises and over 2 million employees in 90+ countries
  • Darwinbox has been rated as the #1 HCM platform on Gartner PeerInsights
  • Aarti Industries, a leading Indian chemical manufacturing company, recorded a 94% accuracy in workforce management with Darwinbox

Darwinbox

Pricing:

Darwinbox does not disclose their pricing upfront on their website. Custom pricing and a free trial are available upon request for a demo of their various products.

Best For:

Darwinbox is best suited for large-scale businesses and enterprises with 500+ employees. In fact, over 50% of their customers are organizations with 1000-5000 employees.

Gifted

Review:

Over 4,000 companies use Gifted to power their rewards and recognition program.  We always think customers vote with their dollars and so it’s worth noting they are profitable, with over 90% client retention.

Gifted

Stats:

  • Over 90% client retention
  • No usage fees 
  • No minimums

Gifted

Pricing:

  • Completely free
  • You only pay for the gifts you send

Best For:

Businesses that want to show their appreciation through gifts through a free platform.

WeGift

Review:

When sending employees a gift card, it can be tricky to know which brands they might like. That’s why WeGift gives gift card recipients the option to select a gift card to virtually any major brand they’d like. Their ecommerce-like platform lets you pick from hundreds of popular brands, create gift cards in bulk, and send them to your employees or customers in the US, UK, Europe, and beyond. 

Naturally, for HR teams, this saves  tons of time and money in sending rewards. Among the unique aspects to their offering is the fact that they can offer discounts of up to 25% and their way of managing unspent value— when recipients do not redeem gift cards by their expiration date, you get the money back.

WeGift

Stats:

  • Access to over 1300+ brands
  • Up to 25% off in discounts
  • Raised $12M in Series A funding in November 2020
  • Available in over 30 countries
  • 70+ employees

WeGift

Pricing:

WeGift has an annual fee which varies depending on your company size and budget. $12,000 per year is a typical budget.

Best For:

Organizations of varying size and industry in the UK, US, and Europe.

Blueboard

Review:

Blueboard’s platform helps companies of any size create personalized employee recognition and incentive programs that celebrate and elevate their best talent. From skydiving to virtual cooking classes to family days at the zoo, Blueboard's intuitive platform makes it easy for companies and their managers to reward top-performing employees with exceptional experiences. 

Once a reward is sent by a manager, recipients can choose the experience that’s most meaningful to them, and Blueboard’s high-touch Concierge service seamlessly handles all bookings, payments, and logistics. Hundreds of diverse companies use Blueboard to create impactful moments with ease.

Blueboard

Stats:

  • 70+ countries served
  • 200+ enterprise customers
  • 30,000+ employees rewarded

Blueboard

Pricing:

Most of Blueboard’s pricing is made up of your total rewards budget. There are 8 reward levels, starting at $150/reward. Getting started with Blueboard could range from $19,500 to $37,500, depending on your office location(s). This budget does not expire. Exact and personalized figures are provided by the vendor.

Best For:

Companies that want their rewards and recognition program to be about meaningful experiences without organizing them themselves.

Benefits of the Best Employee Recognition Platform

The best employee recognition programs benefit employees, as well as the People Operations and HR teams that use them. Here are some of the ways how:

  • Increase Engagement: When you partner with the right recognition platform, your employees will be engaged on a regular basis in a positive way that also reinforces company values and helps build a stronger culture. This leads to higher output, more referrals to fill open roles, and generally a happier place to work. Of course, a dedicated employee engagement program is never a bad idea to better understand the overall state of your employee wellbeing. One pro tip here is to make sure this is all happening in real time via integrations with Slack/Teams/Email so that employees don't have to log into yet another system.
  • Increase Retention:  Increased employee engagement leads to higher retention. The cost of replacing employees is extremely high, and so anything HR can do to drive higher retention will have a huge impact on the business. Social recognition and praising team members for great work means stronger bonds at work, which means higher retention.
  • Personalization: You most likely spend money each year on company perks. Maybe it’s really good coffee, craft beer, or fun outings. However, it’s hard to make everyone happy.  Some people don't drink coffee or alcohol. Others have kids and can’t participate in many outings. An employee rewards and recognition program allows you to reallocate a part of the budget which is making only some people happy, and allow individuals to select rewards that are impactful to them.
  • Automation: Using one of the best employee recognition program platforms means that a lot of the work HR has to do in order to encourage utilization of the tool is both organic and automated. At the most basic level, this starts with employees receiving recognition for work anniversaries, birthdays, or for awards like employee of the month. In the best case scenario, the tool you pick creates a virtuous cycle of employees being recognized and recognizing one another.
  • Save Time: If your People Operations team is spending cycles planning out when and how to do employee rewards and recognition, you’re in luck. The vendors in this space all have built-in playbooks for how your rewards and recognition programs should be. Some of them even have dedicated consultants that will work to customize your program for you. That means you'll save a lot of time.


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Employee Recognition Software Pricing

There are two main pricing models for employee recognition tools. The first is the “marketplace” model. In this case, the employer pays a percentage of their spend on the platform (for example you spend $50,000/yr on employee recognition, and they take X% as their fee).  This is great because, generally speaking, the more you spend, the more your program is a success. So, this is basically value-based pricing. It’s also great because it’s usually free to start (outside of implementation fees, if applicable), making pilots very easy.

Here are some guidelines on pricing for these types of employee recognition programs:

Employee Rewards Program Pricing
EmployeesAnnual SpendFee as % of Spend Vendor Fee
100$40,00018%$7,200
1,000$400,00010%$40,000
10,000$4,000,0006%$240,000

The second pricing model is the standard per employee per month, which makes sense for the companies who are engaging their employees on a frequent basis. Here’s what we’ve found pricing looks like for for these types of employee recognition tools:

Employee Recognition Program Pricing
EmployeesPrice/Employee/MoTotal Annual Cost
10$10$12,000
100$9.50$114,000
1,000$5.70$684,000

Please note these pricing schemes are general guidelines to help with budgeting and not meant to be hard and fast rules. There are many factors that go into pricing. We’re also trying to offer advice on what to expect across several vendors, each of which charge a bit differently.


Employee Recognition Software FAQs

What is employee recognition software?

Employee recognition software helps organizations build strong culture, retain employees, and super charge their employee experience through simple to use programs which allow employees to acknowledge one another's great work.

How does employee recognition software help with employee engagement?

By recognizing achievements, providing rewards and giving useful feedback, employee recognition software will help boost employee engagement. If an employee feels that they are valued by their organization, they will be more engaged at work and stay longer at the company.

What is the difference between employee rewards and employee recognition? 

Employee rewards are gifts given upon achievement of a goal or accomplishment. Employee recognition is the praise and thankfulness employers bestow upon their employees, whether through social media, company chats or in person. Rewards systems generally focus on the gift, while recognition software will focus on the mechanism of colleagues praising one another.

What are some examples of employee recognition? 

  • An award at a company-wide celebration
  • An award for the employee of the month
  • A praise for a terrific job
  • A personalized thank you note or email
  • Peer-to-peer recognition

How do I measure the success of my employee recognition software? 

The main way to measure a recognition program's success is to look at what percentage of employees are recognizing each other each month, with a target of >90% of your employee population. You will also want to look at employee retention and engagement metrics to gauge effectiveness.

Employee Recognition Program Best Practices

Chances are implementing an employee recognition program isn’t the only thing going on in your job. Stumbling into various pitfalls when buying tools and starting one of these programs is easy. Here are the best practices we’ve collected from talking to a few dozen HR professionals about their employee recognition initiatives.

  • More Than Money: Something we found to be a tad counterintuitive is that these programs are not at all about the monetary value of the rewards given. In fact, there is very little correlation between the dollar value offered to employees and the impact of the program on retention and engagement. The simple act of recognizing an employee is the core of what drives these programs, especially when done often and from peers.
  • HRIS Integration: If your vendor doesn’t integrate with your core HR solution, be very weary.  When your recognition platform doesn’t talk to the HRIS in a seamless way (.csv’s don’t count!), it means a lot more manual work for you to continually update it every time a new employee goes through onboarding/offboarding. Plus, we all get busy… so sometimes this work doesn’t get done, which endangers the health of your program.
  • Slack/Teams/Email: Even more important than your HRIS integration is your employee recognition company's ability to integrate with employee software. If employees have to log into another system to participate in your program, it runs a much higher chance of failure.
  • Make Time: HR teams are busy, plain and simple. Most days involve some sort of fire drill. Plus, as a cost center, HR tends to be understaffed and overworked. What we’ve noticed is that even an employee rewards and recognition program that starts off strong can die over time. It’s essential to build in time on a monthly/quarterly basis to make sure your program is healthy (put a calendar invite to block off one hour per month). It’s also a best practice to build automation into your program - like people getting rewards and recognition on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. This means the program will continue to work even when you’re too busy to check in.
  • Manager Buy-in: We’ve seen cases where managers are getting $1,000 or more to give away per month to their employees, but they are too busy to do it.  Most people just need a gentle nudge. You’ll be able to see in your employee recognition dashboard who needs that nudge. The most important piece of advice here, though, is to lay out why this program is so important to managers and employees alike from the get-go. Show  research on how this will impact productivity, retention, and engagement. Getting managers to see how this will allow them to accomplish their goals and become more effective leaders is key.
  • Employee Engagement: Your employee recognition program should be working in tandem with your employee engagement platform, or might even be the same product. In addition to your regular engagement data, you should also think about how recognizing and rewarding hard work fits into performance reviews and organizational culture. This solution should be more than just an employee gifting platform!
  • Not Just Managers: Make sure your managers AND employees are able to recognize other people in the organization. Otherwise, it’s a slap in the face to employees who feel as though their opinion don't matter.
  • Culture Matters: Many companies look at employee rewards and recognition platforms as a way to fix issues with their culture. These programs can enhance your culture, but if you are getting daily negative Glassdoor reviews and generally are in the bottom quartile of companies in terms of culture, you may need more drastic measures before implementing these sort of initiatives.
  • Don’t Overthink: We’ve all been there. There’s a new project we want to run with, but we’re not sure how to get started, what to measure, etc (hopefully this page will help you with that!). So many “strategy meetings” are spent trying to solve these issues… but the best advice is to simply follow the playbook your chosen vendor lays out for you. They have all the best practices and want you to succeed in a pilot. You can spend a lot of time and effort worrying about which perks to offer, for whom, etc. Our advice? Just do it!

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