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Employee Recognition

15 Top Employee Recognition Platforms For Companies At Every Stage

Rebecca Noori
Last Updated May 31, 2024

Employees are happier and more productive when they work in organizations that recognize them. And we’re not only talking about the yearly “happy birthday” or “happy work anniversary” messages—even though these are also important.

Over the past two years, Nectar has surveyed 1,800 full-time US employees to understand how recognition influences workers. We’ve learned that:

  • 83.6% of employees feel recognition affects their motivation to succeed
  • 81.9% of employees link recognition of their contributions with how engaged they feel 
  • 77.9% of employees would respond to more frequent recognition by being more productive

These statistics are impossible to ignore—recognition works! The great news is HR leaders can seamlessly weave praise and appreciation into company culture by adopting a digital employee recognition platform.

This guide introduces 15 of the best employee recognition software options and answers some of your burning questions about recognition programs.

Top 15 Employee Recognition Software

Finding the right employee recognition software for your company is highly personal—usually, it boils down to your specific goals and budget. To kick off your vendor research, our list includes each platform's pricing, essential features, G2 software community scores, notable clients, and interesting reviews you can learn from.

1. Nectar

G2 Score: Nectar receives 4.7 out of 5 based on 5,100+ reviews.

Notable Clients: SHRM, Calendly, Redfin, Major League Baseball, Heineken, Golden State Warriors

Pricing: Nectar's Standard plan costs $2.75 per user/mo, while the Plus plan costs $4.00 per user/mo, making it one of the most affordable recognition platforms in the market. Nectar also offers volume discounts to organizations with 500+ users.

Book A Time For A Nectar Demo

Nectar is a 360-degree recognition and reward platform that encourages peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee recognition. Anyone within your organization can send shoutouts to each other in Nectar’s social feed, using redeemable points and meaningful messages to ensure fellow team members feel valued and engaged.

Nectar offers an extensive rewards catalog where users can exchange their points for Amazon products, gift cards, company swag, charity donations, or custom rewards.

Nectar's user interface is welcoming, and the experience is smooth, so employees aren't confused about what they're doing. The platform integrates with other apps in your tech stack, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, making it easy for employees to interact with the platform from their existing workflow. We also sync with HRIS/HCM and SSO providers like GSuite, Bamboo HR, Workday, Paylocity, and more.

Nectar adds even more value to your company culture with features like Challenges. This tool enables company leaders to incentivize activities related to health/wellness, training and development, employer branding, and more. Similarly, the Milestones feature ensures all employees receive a message of appreciation on their birthdays and service anniversaries.

What Clients Are Saying: Nathan, a business development manager, speaks highly of Nectar:

“We love Nectar! We have an incredible team committed to serving people on the highest level and we're always looking for ways to recognize them for doing just that. We found Nectar and have been happy with it ever since. Now, we have everyone on the team looking for ways they can recognize their peers––it's incredible to see the kudos they give each other everyday. And it's fun to hear about the awesome rewards they get from redeeming their rewards. It's a surefire way to increase and maintain a culture of catching people doing things right!"

Similarly, mid-market user John J. is impressed by the speed of receiving rewards:

“Nectar is a great tool to use in a work environment that is very communication-friendly. It gives users a chance to acknowledge certain individuals in front of the whole company, as well as give points towards awesome rewards! I ordered something after 5 pm on a business day, and the items were on my porch before I even got up the next day.”

Nectar culture banner

2. Empuls 

G2 score: Empuls achieves 4.6 out of 5 based on ~700 reviews.

Notable Clients: Grammarly, Adobe, Freshworks, Pepsi

Pricing: Empuls charges $3 per employee/mo, billed annually. It offers $0 platform fees for its Employee Gifting and Service Rewards. However, it charges 5% fees on rewards issued.

Empuls employee recognition

Empuls is an all-in-one engagement platform with a Rewards & Recognition arm designed to build a culture of appreciation. The platform includes spot recognition, value badges, and approval-based awards. Rewards are divided into different categories, such as referrals, performance, learning, fitness, and financial wellbeing. 

Users can white-label the platform according to their requirements, like different logos, colors, time zones, and language options. 

What Clients Are Saying: Jared C, a Co-Founder and Software Design Lead, explains what his mid-market company enjoys about Empuls: 

“[It] provides a "town square" or "break room" for employees to openly chat and sing each other's praises—really helps with employee engagement when users are siloed from each other due to various structural reasons. Rewarding users for their hard work with gift cards and other awards is seamless.”

3. Awardco

G2 score: Awardco achieves 4.8 out of 5 based on ~2k reviews.

Notable Clients: JP Morgan & Chase, Zillow, Chick-fil-A, Paramount

Pricing: Awardco offers three pricing packages: Core, Plus, and Pro. Contact the vendor for accurate pricing.

Awardco dashboard

Awardco is an employee recognition software that offers zero markups on their rewards, so workers receive the most value from their rewards at no extra cost to their employers.

One of Awardco’s key features is Awardcodes—an offline method of recognizing deskless employees. Managers can give on-the-spot customizable codes to their workers who scan them in and have points dropped straight into their recognition account.

What Clients Are Saying: Enterprise user Stephanie C. describes one particular Awardco feature she enjoys:  

“My favorite thing about using the Awardco recognition platform is the MemoryBook feature for milestone anniversary celebrations. I recently participated in celebrating a co-worker by submitting a few nice words to the collection of comments & photos they will receive to celebrate & recognize their milestone anniversary. I can't wait until my next one now just from the amount of joy I received from participating in someone else's.”

4. Bonusly

G2 score: Bonusly scores 4.8 out of 5 based on 3.1k reviews.

Notable Clients: Headspace, Toast,, ZipRecruiter

Pricing: Following a free trial, Bonusly’s Pro plan is $5 per user/mo, plus the cost of rewards when billed annually. Custom pricing is available for larger organizations.

Bonusly employee recognition feed

Bonusly is a culture platform that employers use to build connections, recognize peers, and collect feedback. Integrating with other tools, it's straightforward for users to authenticate securely, and automate processes like celebrating birthdays based on employee data.

Bonusly also offers reports and analytics features that make it easier for managers to collect data for leadership decisions, budget planning, etc.

What Clients Are Saying: Mid-market user Mekenna E. explains the pros and cons of using Bonusly: 

“Bonusly has encouraged our company to recognize each other not just for the big accomplishments but the little things, like just brightening someone's day with cookies. More people than ever are giving shoutouts!
The only thing I don't like is the leaderboards that make it into a contest. The comparison aspect can make people feel bad or inferior about their contributions to the workplace."

5. Assembly

G2 score: Assembly achieves 4.8 out of 5 based on 220+ reviews.

Notable Clients: Coca-Cola, Amazon, Bambee, and PODS

Pricing: Assembly starts from $2 per member/mo for Recognition, $4 per member/mo for Engagement, and $6 per member/mo for Digital HQ, when billed annually. Custom pricing is also available for large organizations.

Assembly home page

Assembly is an employee recognition and rewards software that allows peers to appreciate those around them, encouraging everyone to live the company’s core values daily. For inspiration, they can use Recognition GPT to generate AI-based messages of praise based on details you feed to the algorithm.

Rewards are part of the recognition, allowing employees to clock up reward points to spend on gift cards, charities, and personalized culture rewards.

What Clients Are Saying: While some users talk about the confusing platform flow and layout, there's plenty of positivity, too. One consumer services user highlights how much they love receiving tangible rewards alongside praise: 

“I love the fact you can recognize your colleagues for outstanding work, and that recognition can be converted into actual DOLLARS, not just a virtual e-card. Keeps me motivated not only to do my best, but to make sure I use my monthly Assembly credits to reward my peers for great work as well.”

6. WorkTango

G2 score: WorkTango achieves 4.6 out of 5 based on 730+ reviews.

Notable Clients: Goodwill, Accruent, Pizza Pizza, Kia

Pricing: Accurate pricing is available from the vendor on request.

WorkTango activity feed

WorkTango is an engagement platform that centers on employee listening. This software helps companies create engaged teams and workplaces where employees feel inspired and happy.

While surveys and insights are a huge part of the platform, WorkTango also offers Recognition capabilities that incorporate points, tokens, and rewards as required. The Rewards Marketplace has local and global rewards, with automated fulfillment and zero markups. 

What Clients Are Saying: User Jessica K. explains the different ways WorkTango has been a good fit for her enterprise organization, although there’s always room for improvement:

“I love the opportunity to send public gratitude to my teammates anytime—recognizing them in a timely manner makes it feel more genuine and connected in a primarily remote work experience. WorkTango is super easy to use and last year, I was even able to use the function to download my recognitions, and include them in my annual performance self-evaluation! This year, I'm using it to continue to foster remote team bonding & cohesion by sending recognitions and points for winners of games in our weekly team-building standups.
I wish we could see organizational awards for things like major work anniversaries, successful production deployments for projects, etc. Sometimes I find I am sending my personal points for recognizing teammates for work efforts that really should be an organizational recognition, in my opinion.”

7. Kudos

G2 score: Kudos achieves 4.8 out of 5, based on 1.5k reviews.

Notable Clients: Make-A-Wish, MTN

Pricing: Accurate pricing is available from the vendor, based on the number of users and contract length.

Kudos home feed recognition

Kudos is a peer-to-peer recognition platform that organizations can use to tie recognition messages and rewards to their core values, enhancing organizational culture.

Kudos offers a range of features, including eCards for celebrating work anniversaries and milestones, an AI assistant to help you craft messages of recognition, and built-in pulse surveys to measure employee sentiment.

What Clients Are Saying: Describing how Kudos works within an enterprise organization, Minkateko M. says:

“With Kudos, I can thank my colleagues in a way that means more to them, which really demonstrates my gratitude.
A bit more flexibility in terms of design and formatting would enhance the overall user experience for my MTN colleagues. There are specific visuals and language that are common in our workplace that could help customize our kudos.”

8. Motivosity

G2 score: Motivosity achieves a score of 4.7 out of 5 based on 1.3k reviews.

Notable Clients: Bosch, KPMG, WGU, Fujifilm

Pricing: Motivosity's Recognition and Rewards costs $4/user/mo, billed annually. There is a minimum $3,000 licensing spend.

Motivosity recognition home screen

Motivosity is a peer-to-peer recognition platform with features like custom awards and badges to create a culture of gratitude. From here, employees can choose rewards, including branded swag, gift bags, or other local offerings. 

Motivosity also offers a ThanksMatter card where employees add their rewards balance and spend it wherever they want.

What Clients Are Saying: Mid-market user Jeff F. describes that Motivosity promotes a positive culture in a friendly UI.

“It's a cute, easy, fun way to recognize colleagues and celebrate milestones, "buy" them a coffee, especially good for remote teams.”

He also notes some potential enhancements to the platform: 

“The email notifications don't provide any direct way to interact—no link to "like" or comment, no direct link to the specific "thanks" – so it just makes things a little clunkier and manual to interact with. I want to click something in the email to get straight to that "thanks" to interact with it!”

9. Guusto 

G2 score: Guusto scores 4.9 out of 5 based on 3k reviews.

Notable Clients: Marriott, The Body Shop, Unilever, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

Pricing: Guusto offers a free account and paid plans starting at $40 per user/mo. You only pay for the user who sends the recognition, while recipients are unlimited.

Send gifts with Guusto

Guusto is a recognition tool aimed at workers in any environment.

Guusto isn't a points-based recognition system; people who need an account (for example, managers) sign up, receive a budget, and send their rewards. Print options are available for workers who don't have email. 

If you’re on a tight budget, Guusto could be a good fit. There are no setup fees, and any unclaimed gifts are credited back to you.

What Clients Are Saying: Mid-market user Sara reports that Guusto has replaced their former recognition platform: 

“The previous employee incentive company was so difficult to use, and many of my colleagues said they didn't even bother redeeming their reward—which seems so silly! Guusto is much easier to use and the rewards are things we actually want!
I wish there were more partners to choose from for us Canadian customers. For example, Lululemon is a Canadian company, but only USA customers can redeem for Lululemon gift cards.”

10. Reward Gateway

G2 score: Reward Gateway scores 4.6 out of 5 based on 2.6k reviews.

Notable Clients: Five Star Bank, Dental Care Alliance, C Space

Pricing: Reward Gateway offers monthly or annual pricing. Accurate quotes are available from the vendor.

Reward Gateway feed

Reward Gateway offers a 6-in-1 employee engagement platform that includes employee benefits, discounts, communications, surveys, wellbeing, and recognition. It has recently acquired Fond, a former recognition platform, to expand its global reach.

To help companies build a recognition culture among their employees, Reward Gateway enables multidirectional praise and appreciation, ensuring everyone from leadership to frontline employees feel motivated to do their best work.

Reward Gateway integrates with Amazon Business to provide various gifts for employees. The platform also offers Reward Pass, a prepaid Mastercard delivering global coverage for employees based outside of the US, UK, and Australia.

What Clients Are Saying: Here’s how Georgina, a Human Resource Advisor at a mid-market company, describes Reward Gateway:

“The platform is really easy to use from both the front end and the administrator perspective. The discounts are for a large number of retailers. The instant award functionality is a great way to recognize staff.
I would love it if the smart spending app connected with the recognition wall so we could do both on the same app.”

11. Bucketlist

G2 score: Bucketlist scores 4.8 out of 5 based on 500+ reviews.

Notable Clients: Orlando Magic, First Bank, Stamford Hospital Foundation

Pricing: Accurate pricing is available from the vendor.

Bucketlist recognition

Bucketlist offers recognition software that helps companies improve productivity and retain more employees through manager-to-report feedback, peer-to-peer shoutouts, employee awards, and celebrations. 

The platform offers many custom rewards, such as VIP parking spots or custom experiences, enabling employees to check things like skydiving off their bucketlists. Workers can also choose gift cards and cash donations.

What Clients Are Saying: One user from the health, wellness, and fitness sector describes their experience of using Bucketlist: 

“I really like how the recognitions can be privately sent (just to the individual) or publicly sent (so the entire company can see the accomplishment, good catch, compliments from clients, etc.) It is extremely user-friendly and is easily accessible to us so that I can "give points" immediately when something deserving comes to my attention. The fact that a simultaneous email is sent to the recipient of the points once they are awarded is a bonus, especially for those who may not access Bucketlist often.
The only downside is trying to find points that may or may not have already been given to a team member (so that we don't double up on the recognition.) I have to scroll through all of the past rewards, page by page.”

12. Qarrot

G2 score: Qarrot scores 4.6 out of 5 based on 260+ reviews.

Notable Clients: Aleva Stores, Honda, ABM, and Saatva

Pricing: Qarrot offers a free 30-day trial for unlimited users, with no credit card required. The platform’s Pro plan starts at $3.60/user/mo, billed annually. Custom pricing and volume discounts for 100+ users are also available.

Qarrot Homepage

Qarrot is a simple employee recognition platform that motivates leaders and team members to recognize each other. The software includes a number of interesting features, such as flexible incentive campaigns designed to foster healthy competition among peers. For example, you might set up a Summer Sales challenge to achieve $500 in new sales or a Safety challenge to hit 100 accident-free days.

Qarrot also includes various gamification elements including customized badges you can set up to celebrate people exhibiting “Customer Obsession” or “Great Craftsmanship.”

What Clients Are Saying: CEO Lachlan W. describes his experience of using Qarrot in his small business:

“Qarrot is easy and intuitive for users to navigate, and it provides so many new incentive opportunities for employees to provide to their customers. It increases staff productivity and encourages staff to congratulate their peers as well.
Sometimes it takes a while for things to load properly, and I have to restart the app a couple of times for my points to update, but aside from that, it's smooth sailing."

13. Vantage Circle

G2 score: Vantage Circle achieves 4.7 out of 5 based on 6.4k reviews. 

Notable Clients: Bosch, DHL, Wells Fargo, Infosys, and Airtel

Pricing: Vantage Circle offers three packages: Grow, Transform, and Enterprise. All packages require a one-time setup fee, and some features, like custom integrations and Vantage Pulse (an employee feedback module), cost extra. Accurate pricing is available from the vendor on request.

Vantage Circle recognition and rewards

Vantage Circle is an employee recognition platform with a variety of monetary and non-monetary praise options you can deliver in the moment. From awards and badges to a social feed and a gamified leaderboard, employees can stay engaged and connected to those around them.

Vantage Circle also integrates with key single sign-on, social, and HRIS platforms, providing a frictionless recognition workflow without your employees hopping around from tool to tool.

What Clients Are Saying: Enterprise user Jaya Krishna P. describes what they’ve enjoyed about Vantage Circle: 

“The platform streamlines the process of acknowledging outstanding work and incentivizing employees, fostering a culture of recognition and motivation within the organization. Additionally, the diverse range of rewards, including products, gift cards, and vouchers, provides employees with meaningful choices, enhancing their overall satisfaction and engagement.
One area where Vantage Circle could improve is the network side. I have experienced occasional network issues, causing disruptions in accessing the platform in desktop, search engines, and from the MS Teams."

14. Cooleaf

G2 score: Cooleaf scores 4.9 out of 5 based on 800+ reviews.

Notable Clients: Bark, Net Health, Connexus, Soltech, and Aprio

Pricing: Accurate pricing is available from the vendor on request.

Cooleaf recognition feed

Cooleaf is an employee experience platform encompassing various employee engagement initiatives (including remote engagement) and engagement surveys to track sentiment throughout an organization.

Its recognition tool includes helpful features designed to help companies celebrate their learning and growth, everyday wins, DEI success, work anniversaries, and more.

Some of Cooleaf’s features include performance monitoring, analytics dashboards, employee programs, integrations, and a ton of gift and reward options.

What Clients Are Saying: A small user from the banking sector enjoys Cooleaf but feels it could include more variety:  

"I use Cooleaf frequently whenever I'm at work. I like how you can meet new co-workers and recognize your current ones. I also like how you can earn rewards from being yourself and learning more about others. It makes everything feel more like a community than just a "job." 
The only thing I dislike about Cooleaf is the lack of variety to get points. I wish there was an option to get points from quizzes about the job or maybe mini-games dealing with the job.”

15. Mo

G2 score: Mo achieves 4.7 out of 5 based on 330+ reviews. 

Notable Clients: Ocado, Quark, AXOL

Pricing: Mo offers three price plans: Appreciate starts at $2.25/employee/mo, and Engage from $4.50/employee/mo billed annually. Custom pricing is available for the Transform package on request.

Mo Moments Feed

Mo is an all-in-one rewards, recognition, and employee engagement platform designed to build and maintain a positive company culture.

Using "Moments" posted publicly or privately, employees can deliver top-down or peer-to-peer recognition to celebrate achievements and special occasions like work anniversaries and project wins. Moments are also available as a highlight reel, acting as a great morale boost and a useful reminder during self-evaluations and performance reviews.

Managers receive weekly suggestions to motivate and connect with their people, including adding rewards to Moments to boost their credit.

What Clients Are Saying: Enterprise user John O. reports a positive experience but would like stronger reporting capabilities: 

“I love how simple it is to use, yet it can have such a positive impact by posting a thank-you or recognizing a job well done. When working in fast-paced organizations, it is easy to fall into the trap of going from one task to the next without stopping to celebrate a key milestone or achievement. 
It would be interesting to see a monthly report of which teams/departments/geographies are using Mo the most and where there are areas for improvement."

What Is Employee Recognition Software?

Employee recognition software enhances your company culture by recognizing and appreciating your employees' work, milestones, small contributions, and significant wins, using a structured solution to track and deliver praise. Employees might use a recognition platform to thank a teammate for wrapping up a successful project, send birthday wishes to each other, or give a shoutout to a new hire.

Typically, your employee recognition software will be an app available on desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. Modern platforms also sync with multiple other tools in your tech stack, including chat and communication, single sign-on, and HRIS solutions.

Whatever form your recognition program takes, its primary goal is to offer a way to make your employees feel valued and rewarded for their hard work. By doing so, your organization can enjoy the following benefits: 

What Is The Best Recognition For Employees? 

Effective recognition should strike a chord with your employees. The gesture should stop the employee in their tracks and fill their heart with gratitude at being noticed and appreciated for their hard work. To achieve this:

  • Recognition should be genuine: Nectar’s recognition study found that authenticity is the variable that makes recognition most meaningful. 
  • Recognition should be personalized: While some people are tempted to take shortcuts and lean on generative AI to craft praise, your employees may see right through this, ruining the gesture. Move away from generic by providing specific examples of what you recognize and the company values the recipient has demonstrated to earn your appreciation. 
  • Recognition should be shared by all: 40% of employees say that recognition from their manager has the most impact on them, but 33% choose praise from their CEOs, and 28% like to hear from their peers. The message is clear: everyone needs to get involved.

What Is An Employee Recognition Program Policy? 

A recognition program policy is a documented set of guidelines that explains how employees and managers should use their recognition software. It might include:

  • Who is eligible to give and receive praise 
  • Recommendations for how often employees should share praise and the types of behaviors they should recognize in each other 
  • How to attach tangible rewards to any message of praise or recognition
  • Technical instructions for logging into the software and delivering praise to each other

Why Is Employee Recognition Software Important?

Software isn't the only way to run an employee recognition program. Depending on the size of your company and your goals, you may be tempted to piece together a manual system, perhaps using spreadsheets or nomination forms. But there are some real business advantages available when you trust a formal platform to manage your organization's employee recognition culture:

Identify High Achievers

Tracking recognition using a platform with built-in reporting capabilities lets you spot those going above and beyond in your organization. Similarly, you can identify anyone who might need extra support with their performance.

Celebrate Peers

Most platforms encourage peer-to-peer recognition without going through multiple managerial approval hoops to celebrate their accomplishments.  

Manage Your Rewards Budget

When you funnel everything through your platform, it’s easy to track how much your company spends on rewards to plan your budgets accordingly. 

Foster An Inclusive Work Culture

Employee recognition platforms allow workers of any rank, role, or work location to enjoy the same reward and recognition experience. 

Ease People Team Administration

People leaders spend less time and effort setting up a rewards program with employee recognition and reward software. Instead of running around town looking for gift cards and other rewards, you can easily set up a recognition program from your desktop.

Strengthen Company Culture

Recognition platforms typically contain details about employees that team members and managers can use to improve connection, collaboration, and how they work.

Improve Retention

71% of employees would be less likely to leave their organization if they were recognized more frequently. According to our research, having access to employee recognition software means that employees are more likely to receive recognition from executives, managers, and peers.

Deliver Timely Feedback

Platform users can give and receive instantaneous recognition and rewards. Instead of waiting for quarterly, bi-annual, or annual reviews, employees can get immediate credit for their work on the day they finish the job. According to Nectar's survey, 49% of employees receive daily or weekly feedback, leaving half in the less frequent bracket. Software can help these employees receive valuable praise more often.

Why is employee recognition software important?

‍Choosing the Right Employee Recognition Platform for Your Company

You’ve seen 15 of the best recognition platforms in the market, but which will make your employees feel valued and appreciated? Your final decision may come down to budget, your experience of a product demo or software trial, or specific features that align with your company values. Before making your decision, keep in mind that your chosen platform should

  • Have a clean interface
  • Be easy to use and operate
  • Offer a return on your investment 
  • Accommodate your employee’s specific needs.

Ready to explore Nectar’s top-rated employee recognition software? Sign up for a demo today to learn more about how Nectar can help you.

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