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How to Create an Employee Recognition Survey & 22 Questions to Ask

A new study shows that job unhappiness is at a “staggering all-time high,” with unengaged or unsatisfied employees leaving their jobs as part of the “Great Resignation.” Although employers are looking for ways to retain employees, a recent Gallup poll reveals that less than 20% of managers and leaders say recognition is a priority at their organization. If organizations are going to keep employees, this needs to change. In this blog, we’ll look at why employee recognition is important and how to put an employee recognition program into place, beginning with an employee recognition survey.

Why Employee Recognition is Important

We just highlighted how the “Great Resignation” has left many employers struggling to attract and retain talent. However, that same Gallup poll also put together some additional employee recognition statistics that are real eye-openers. According to the results, when an employee recognition program hits the mark, employees are:

  • Less likely to leave, with five times as many seeing a path to grow in the organization.
  • More satisfied, with nearly 45% saying they’re more likely to be “thriving” in their life overall.
  • More productive, with more than 73% less likely to “always” or “very often” feel burned out
  • More engaged, with four times as many respondents feeling more involved in their work.
  • More connected, with five times as many employees feeling like they are part of their workplace culture.

22 Employee Recognition Survey Questions

The best way to know how to go about developing your employee recognition is to seek input from employees themselves. And, if you already have a program in place, they can give advice and feedback that may help you revamp the program to better meet their needs. When creating your employee recognition surveys, here are 22 survey questions to consider asking.

1. When did you last receive recognition at work?

This first question, after the survey results roll in, will allow you to see, on average, when most employees were last recognized.

2. How often do you receive recognition at work? 

This is an important follow-up. An employee may say they were recognized just last week, but this could have been the first time in a 10-year career. Also, if your company shows recognition in multiple ways (e.g., one-on-ones, parties, shout-outs, bonuses), be sure to list them so that employees think about all the ways that recognition is provided.

3. Is recognition given often enough?

While you may think monthly recognition is enough, employees may think kudos should be handed out on a weekly basis. Collecting employees’ thoughts will help you determine whether you’re being too gracious, too stingy, or just right with the amount of recognition you dole out.

4. Do you find the recognition you get to be meaningful?

All the recognition in the world may not be enough if employees don’t find it to be meaningful. Some employees may think a “pat on the back” is meaningful, while others won’t be satisfied unless there’s some sort of financial reward.

5. What type of recognition would you find most meaningful?

This is a good follow-up to the previous question. Here, you can provide multiple choice options (or a ranking question) to see what type of recognition would be the most impactful.

6. Do you feel our company values your contributions?

It’s important that employees feel the work they do matters. Knowing that their efforts contribute to the company’s success – and their own – is a key ingredient to a good employee experience and employee retention.

7. Do you have a clear understanding of what you need to do to gain recognition?

Some employees may not understand what efforts will be awarded with recognition. Completion of a special project? Meeting a quota? Being present at all meetings? With this question, you’ll gain an understanding of their awareness on recognition behavior.

8. What efforts do you think should be recognized?

Perhaps they already understand what behaviors are recognized, but feel other behaviors should be recognized too. For example, they may know that acquiring new clients gains recognition for sales team members, but they’re not on that team and so the opportunity to do that doesn’t apply. They may have ideas on how employees in their department can be recognized, too.

9. Which form of recognition do you find most valuable?

It may surprise you, but in a study by Psychology Today, 83% of respondents said recognition for contributions was more fulfilling than any rewards or gifts. Forbes concurs, stating “Providing recognition in front of a person’s peers and executives, or a handwritten ‘thank you,’ can have a longer lasting motivational effect.” Of course, that may not always be the case, so it’s important to survey employees about what rewards they find most valuable.

10. Rank the following types of rewards in order of their value to you.

People may not be forthcoming with their answers in the previous question. Or, their expectations may be out of the realm of possibility. In this question, highlight the types of rewards you are willing to provide and then ask respondents to rank them.

11. Do you think the company’s recognition program is fair?

If you already have an employee recognition program in place, this is where you find out if it is fair or not. You may learn that employees feel only certain departments are recognized, or that leaders play favorites and the same people are recognized again and again.

12. Did you answer “no” to #11? If so, do you feel we should eliminate the recognition program or make it more inclusive?

Find out if revamping your program is simply not worth it in the eyes of your employees! After all, these programs may not be right for all types of company cultures.

13. Is the recognition proportional to the behavior?

Recognition or rewards need to be given out based on merit. For example, giving someone a $20 gift card for 1 year of service and giving someone that same amount for 20 years of service may not sit well. Or, praising someone for a singular incident versus praising someone for completion of a two-year project.

14. Does leadership encourage you to give others recognition?

Peer recognition can be just as powerful as recognition from leadership. With this question, you can learn whether or not this is a common practice within your organization.

15. Are you comfortable giving “shout-outs” to fellow employees?

Find out whether employees are encouraged to give kudos to peers. Also, gain an understanding of whether they’re comfortable with this practice. If they aren’t, you may want to develop a peer recognition program.

16. Do remote employees receive the same recognition as on-site employees?

If your organization is hybrid (some employees remote, some on-site) there could be a disparity among how they receive recognition. Often, those on-site are recognized more easily as they’re seen by leadership day to day. If a disparity exists, take steps to make sure employees are recognized fairly regardless of where they perform their work.

17. How does recognition make you feel personally?

If you’re developing an employee recognition program that will need the backing of the C-suite, collecting answers such as “more productive,” “more motivated,” and “more engaged” will go a long way toward getting their support.

18. Do you feel new ideas are recognized?

Often, employees bring new ideas or new ways of thinking/doing things to their bosses. Sometimes, the idea is ignored, or the idea is instituted and the employee is not credited. Find out if this is the case – and then do something about it – with this employee recognition question.

19. Which kind of employee recognition program most jibes with our company culture?

Companies have different cultures. Therefore, a program that “celebrates everyone” with a quarterly off-site party may be right for one company, while quieter, individual financial rewards may be best for another. This question aims to get employees’ thoughts on recognition as it applies to the company culture.

20. Do you feel employee recognition nominations would be beneficial?

Some companies, such as those with employee of the month programs, allow staff to nominate colleagues for rewards. Find out if this is a good approach for your company (and be sure to read our blog on employee of the month surveys).

21. When a colleague received recognition, do you see a positive impact?

Find out if employees notice a change in colleagues who have been recognized (more engagement or productivity, increased happiness, etc) or if it seems to be “no big deal.” If it’s the latter, the recognition may not be substantial enough to improve morale.

22. How would you create a recognition program / How would you improve the recognition program?

End your survey with an open-ended question that allows employees to write in specific things they would do or like to see in an employee recognition program. Great ideas often come from the employees themselves!

Creating an Employee Recognition Survey

When you’re ready to create your employee recognition survey, SurveyLegend has you covered. Our free survey maker lets you create beautiful, secure surveys to email to each of your employees. Plus, surveys can be made anonymous or confidential, helping to ensure employee participation for the most accurate results. 

When you create a survey with SurveyLegend, you can also use a wide variety of question types, helping keep them engaged throughout the survey. Here’s an employee recognition example to get you thinking about your own!

Employee Recognition Survey


Employee recognition programs are a great way to boost employee morale, productivity, and retention; it can also aid in recruitment, giving HR another tool in their hiring toolbox. That said, an employee recognition survey is the best way to find out what your employees value, how they feel about an existing program, and what they’d like to see in a new or revamped program. When you’re ready to survey your employees, SurveyLegend is ready for you!

Do you currently have an employee recognition program? What’s working or what is not? Let us know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an employee recognition program?

Employee recognition programs, also known as employee appreciation programs, are created by companies to show appreciation to employees for a job well done.

How do companies recognize employees?

Some companies may have a formal employee of the month program, while others recognize employees based on merit, performance, tenure, sales figures, and so on.

How do you create an employee recognition program?

An employee recognition survey is the best way to find out what employees value. They can provide honest feedback about existing programs and express how they feel employees should be recognized in the future.

About the Author
A born entrepreneur, passionate leader, motivator, great love for UI & UX design, and strong believer in "less is more”. A big advocate of bootstrapping. BS in Logistics Service Management. I don't create company environments, I create family and team environments.