Applauz Blog

The Best Employee Recognition Software

Published: August 23, 2023

Last Updated: April 4, 2024

  7 min read

By: Ryan Johnson

A great employee recognition program is critical to your success. We review some of the best employee recognition software to deliver the results you need.

Employee recognition plays a critical role in fostering employee engagement and creating a positive work environment. In a complex work world --where teams are counted upon to think critically and work with others, a high degree of emotional intelligence, engagement, and overall emotional well-being are critical. People are at the heart of business--and recognizing employees lights the fire that helps your business burn bright. In good and bad times, employee engagement can be a competitive advantage.

The business benefits of recognizing employees are not theoretical: Engaged employees are 202% more productive and 87% less likely to leave their organizations than disengaged employees. Employee engagement directly affects your bottom line, as engaged employees can lead to a 21% increase in profitability.

A dedicated approach to keeping employees engaged through employee recognition is a must-have versus a nice-to-have, and the complexity of creating an employee recognition program is reduced greatly by employee recognition software.

Employee recognition software adds efficiency and automation to the recognition process and often includes features such as real-time peer-to-peer recognition, customizable rewards, anniversary and birthday reminders and pulse surveys. Through automation, companies can have an efficient and effective means to promote employee recognition along with the data and analytics to understand the state of employee engagement across their organization.

But not all employee recognition software is equal: Some platforms are better than others, and different platforms are better suited for different needs. To help you with this important decision, we are giving our take on the best employee recognition software--so you can take your organization to the next level.

01-applauz1.  Applauz Recognition

Applauz is a comprehensive, award-winning and easy-to-use platform that allows colleagues to effortlessly acknowledge one another using impactful messages, corporate badges, and redeemable points. Managers obtain access to comprehensive reports on company culture, delivering distinct and actionable insights into workforce engagement.

Applauz is focused on more than just software--after all, you are building an employee recognition program--and that means more than just technology--it means a system that recognizes employees and leads to employee engagement, increased productivity and lower turnover.

Applauz is unique in that it is a “software and a service”, meaning that the robust software is accompanied by extensive service and support--focused on customer success and establishing a recognition program that meets your objectives.

The software includes features like employee and peer recognition, work and anniversary awards, tools to establish goals, incentives and challenges, a comprehensive awards catalog and a category-leading pulse survey tool (winner of a gold award on  The Applauz toolset also integrates seamlessly with existing popular business and HR software.

Using comprehensive engagement analytics, the Applauz team works with clients to zero in on their HR challenges and develop key employee engagement initiatives that leverage the unique power of Applauz. For example, companies looking to reinforce their culture might use Applauz’s custom badges to reward employees whose efforts are aligned with company values.

Applauz Key Features

  • Employee/Peer Recognition program
  • Company Culture Newsfeed
  • Anonymous Employee Surveys
  • Automated Work Anniversary Awards program
  • Goals and Incentivised Challenges
  • Points rewards catalog
  • Engagement Analytics and reports

Applauz Cost

Applauz begins at a monthly rate of $3.75.

Book a Demo

02-nectar2.  NectarHR

NectarHr claims to offer a recognition and rewards platform that empowers all users, including both peers and managers, to send authentic appreciation based on core values. With its rewards catalog, Nectar provides the option to select from various rewards, including company-branded merchandise, Amazon products, gift cards, and custom rewards. NectarHr software integrates with popular tools like Slack and Teams.

NectarHR Key Features

  • Employee/Peer Recognition
  • Work/Anniversary Awards
  • Goals, incentives and Challenges
  • Points and rewards catalog

 NectarHR Cost

 Nectar Plus is $4.00 per month.

03-vantage3.  Vantage Circle

Vantage Circle describes itself as an employee engagement platform available worldwide that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver HR-effective and user-friendly employee engagement solutions.

The company provides various solutions, such as Vantage Rewards, Vantage Perks, Vantage Pulse, and Vantage Fit, with the primary goal of enhancing workforce productivity through employee experience.

Vantage Circle is mainly focused on enterprise-level clients.

Vantage Circle Key Features

  • Employee/Peer Recognition
  • Pulse Surveys
  • Work/Anniversary Awards
  • Goals, incentives and Challenges
  • Engagement Analytics

Vantage Circle Cost

Vantage Transform starts at $3.89 per user per month. 

04-officevibe4.  Workleap

Workleap defines its offering as an employee experience platform that promotes positive interactions and facilitates essential conversations within teams.

It offers a range of features, including employee surveys and anonymous feedback, recognition tools, OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), one-on-one meetings, team leadership resources, and more. The platform’s stated goal is to empower leaders and foster strong team connections, providing a modern approach to enhancing the overall work experience.

Workleap Key Features

  • Pulse Surveys
  • Meeting notes
  • Manager training
  • Employee recognition
  • Engagement analytics

Workleap Key Features

Workleap offers modular pricing ranging from $3.50 to $5.00 per license per month (per module)

05-workTango5.  Worktango

According to WorkTango, its platform offers a channel for employees to share their viewpoints and aid businesses in efficiently gathering consistent input for different engagement, transformation, or feedback initiatives.

Through the use of data science and natural language interpretation, actionable insights drawn from employee input are provided to HR, senior management, and team leaders. The result, according to Worktango is quicker understanding and reaction, enhanced workforce decisions, and a more unified and motivated workforce.

Worktango works with enterprise-level clients.

Worktango Key Features

  • Anonymous surveys
  • Continuous polling
  • Employee and peer recognition
  • Rewards for work and anniversaries
  • Goals, incentives, and challenges
  • Points and rewards catalog

Worktango Cost

Pricing is unavailable online, and custom quotes are provided depending on your organizational needs.

06-bonusly6.  Bonusly

Bonusly defines itself as a personalized system aimed at recognizing and motivating employees while also contributing to the development of company culture and increasing employee participation. With Bonusly, members of an organization can openly express appreciation for their peers by granting small bonuses, which gradually accumulate and result in substantial rewards.

Bonusly Key Features

  • "Bonus" point rewards
  • Rewards for work and anniversaries
  • Rewards gift card catalog
  • Employee recognition
  • Social feed
  • Engagement analytics

Bonusly Cost

Bonusly Pro is offered at a rate of $5.00 per license per month.

07-octanner7.  O.C. Tanner

O.C. Tanner describes its platform as tailored to comprehensive employee recognition programs and suited for corporate and global enterprise-level workforces. With the O.C. Tanner Culture Cloud, employees can participate in the sharing of acknowledgments with others. Through Culture Cloud Recognition, every employee is empowered to appreciate outstanding achievements, cultivating an environment where contributing to a successful team becomes a customary behavior.

O.C. Tanner Key Features

  • Service anniversary rewards
  • Length of service trophies
  • Employee and peer recognition
  • Points and rewards catalog
  • Engagement analytics

O.C. Tanner Cost

Pricing is unavailable online; custom quotes depending on your organizational needs.

08-workVivo8.  Workvivo

According to Workvivo, its software functions as an employee experience platform (EXP) designed to streamline internal communication and improve engagement. Customized for the contemporary digital work environment, their objective is to encourage engagement and create emotional bonds among individuals by ensuring inclusivity. Workvivo’s EXP platform is meant to digitally reflect a company’s culture, guaranteeing that every person feels appreciated, acknowledged, and engaged, regardless of geographical location.

Workvivo Key Features

  • Employee/Peer Recognition
  • Social Feed
  • Engagement Analytics

Workvivo Cost

Pricing is unavailable online; custom quotes are available depending on your organizational needs.

09-kudos9.  Kudos

Kudos describes itself as a platform focused for employee acknowledgment, rewards, culture, and analytics. It utilizes peer-to-peer recognition, value reinforcement, and open communication to support organizations in improving employee engagement, reducing turnover, nurturing a constructive culture, and amplifying productivity and performance.

Kudos Key Features

  • Employee/Peer Recognition
  • Social Feed
  • Work/Anniversary Awards
  • Points and rewards catalog
  • Engagement Analytics

Kudos Cost

Kudos starts at $5.00 per user per month.

10-motivosity10.  Motivosity

Motivosity claims to have developed an employee experience platform aimed at helping companies navigate crucial points throughout the employee journey. Their software nurtures a sense of community and connection and emphasizes consistent recognition, managerial advancement, and the provision of pragmatic insights into employee interactions.

Motivosity Key Features

  • Employee/Peer Recognition
  • Social Feed
  • Pulse Surveys
  • Work/Anniversary Awards
  • Points and rewards catalog

Motivosity Cost

Motivosity offers modular pricing ranging from $4.00 to $8.00 per license per month.

How to Choose The Best Employee Recognition Software

While some companies make their software choices based on brand recognition, word of mouth or even the first advertisement that pops up in search results, savvy decision-makers serious about determining the right employee recognition software for their organization understand that there are many factors to consider and that employee recognition is an essential activity for their business. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, as the wrong choice can lead to software going unadopted, unused or cancelled before it has any chance to have an impact. Some of the critical considerations include whether you just want employee recognition software--or a partner to help build a successful employee recognition program.

Employee recognition and the resultant boosts in employee morale, productivity and retention are a must-have, not a nice-to-have. Companies that understand that the actual software is only the first step in building a proper recognition program are most likely to see the benefits.

With that said, it’s essential to not only choose a great software-- but a company that is a true partner in the process of building a great program (like Applauz), leveraging the benefits of the technology, engagement data and analytics to identify blindspots and areas for improvement.

Deciding whether you want structured or unstructured recognition--or both

Structured recognition software tools help celebrate fixed milestones of an employee’s journey, such as work anniversaries or employee birthdays. Unstructured recognition involves ad-hoc acknowledgements of employees’ work that are often Peer-to-Peer.

Your company may already have one of these types of software in place, if not-- it’s worth considering implementing both types of recognition and selecting a software provider (like Applauz) that offers both.

Determining the best employee recognition software features for your organization

There are various features to consider--some will be more important than others for your organization. The best employee recognition software really comes down to what is best for your organization, and that may mean some features are more important than others.

Some employee recognition software companies offer recognition but not rewards.  Software built around recognition-based points redeemable for rewards has been shown to boost engagement and motivation, so it’s worth understanding if this is important to your organization and knowing which software tools have this feature.  

Having your finger on the pulse of your organization and understanding employee sentiment may be critical to your team, so choosing software with pulse survey functionality will be important.

Understanding your budget

Creating an effective recognition program leveraging the best employee recognition software for your organization will come at a cost. It’s essential to establish a budget and then understand the all-in costs from potential providers to see what is right for you.

As a benchmark, SHRM has suggested that HR departments spend at least 1% of their payroll on rewards and recognition.

Understanding how different software integrates  with your existing HR Software and Tools

You will certainly want employee recognition software that plays nicely with any existing HRIS, payroll systems and other communication tools like Slack because seamless integrations increase the chances of widespread use and adoption. Most of the more reputable recognition systems integrate with other popular software.

Employee Recognition Software-The Most Important Choice

Creating an employee recognition program and using employee recognition software is no longer a nice-to-have -- it's a need-to-have. Businesses now see how important happy and recognized employees are for productivity, innovation, company culture and retention. So, it's clear that having a smooth and flexible way to recognize the people that make your business run is critical. In this sense, the most important choice is deciding that employee recognition software is important.

When a company jumps on board with employee recognition software, it's like finding an extra gear in a race car. It helps make everyone feel good, boosts team spirit, and creates a fantastic atmosphere where everyone's hard work is noticed and cheered on. Investing in this software shows the team just how much the company cares about its most valuable asset – the amazing people who work there.

For more information on how Applauz can help you create a best-in-class employee recognition program, schedule your demo today.

Book a Demo

Best Employee Recognition Software FAQ

What features should I look for in the best employee recognition software?

Look for software that offers customizable recognition options, an easy-to-use interface, integration with other HR systems, reporting and analytics, multi-platform accessibility, and a variety of reward choices to suit different employee preferences.

Can employee recognition software integrate with other HR tools we use?

Yes, many employee recognition software solutions (like Applauz Recognition) are designed to seamlessly integrate with various HR systems, such as performance management, employee engagement, and communication tools, to provide a comprehensive employee experience.

Is employee recognition software suitable for businesses of all sizes?

Yes, employee recognition software can benefit businesses of all sizes – from small startups to large enterprises. The scalability of most software solutions makes them adaptable to the specific needs of each company. Different software providers are better suited to different-sized businesses.

How do I choose the right employee recognition software for my company?

To choose the right software, assess your company's needs, budget, and existing HR ecosystem. Consider reading reviews, requesting demos, and consulting with vendors to find a solution that aligns with your goals and culture.

Category Tags

A Happier Workplace


Subscribe and join our community of curious HR Professionals and Managers.