12 Best Social Recognition Platforms to Appreciate Employees

By 
Ben Goodey
Published on 
Ben is an HR enthusiast & researcher with an obsession with creating human-centred content.
I asked our People Science experts to help me review 12 best social recognition platforms in 2024. Here are the results. We'll start with an explanation of what factors to look for in your tool and then show you how each one can work for you based on different use cases.

In this article:

  • 4 Factors to Look For in a Social Recognition Platform
  • The 12 Best Social Recognition Platforms
  • FAQs on Social Recognition Platforms

What to Look for in an Social Recognition Platform (4 Factors)

A social recognition platform makes it easy for managers and leaders to show appreciation to employees, boosting morale and job satisfaction.

And studies have shown that when employees are more satisfied with their work, they are more productive and less likely to leave. Recognizing employees can also increase motivation and improve performance across the organization.

The Harvard Business Review conducted a series of studies in 2021 to examine how effective recognition is to promote the overall happiness of social workers. 

They assigned half of the social workers to receive personalized letters of appreciation from their direct managers, while the other half did not receive a letter. 

One month later, those who received a letter reported feeling significantly more valued, recognized, and supported by their organization than those who didn’t receive a letter. You can read the entire study here.

But with so many employee recognition platforms out there, choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

To help, we asked our People Science Team about what exactly makes the “best” employee recognition platform.

Gaurav Chaubey, our People Science Leader here at Mesh, recommends you look for a platform that does these four things:

  1. Facilitates continuous, meaningful feedback so that employees get the feedback and recognition they need, exactly when they need it
  2. Uses AI to coach employees and managers on how to write feedback and praise so that its empathetic and impactful
  3. Offers an analytics dashboard showing managers who on their team deserves recognition and why
  4. Integrates with your workplace communication tools to reduce friction, increase adoption, and ensure recognition takes place

In this article, we’ll discuss how Mesh (our social recognition and performance enablement platform) excels in the above areas.

Then, we’ll also give 11 alternative tools and discuss their pros, cons, and customer reviews to help you make a more informed decision.

The 12 Best Social Recognition Platforms in 2024 - Summary

In a nutshell, here are the 12 best social recognition platforms we'll review today:

  1. Mesh
  1. Vantage Circle
  1. HiBob
  1. Circula
  1. Workvivo
  1. Bonusly
  1. Mo
  1. Connecteam
  1. Perkbox
  1. Howamigoing
  1. RecognizeApp
  1. Bucketlist

1. Mesh - Best Overall Social Recognition Platform for Real-Time, Continuous Recognition

Mesh is a social recognition and performance platform that empowers managers to give real-time, continuous recognition to employees, and become better leaders.

Whether it’s closing a great sale, solving a problem, or helping a struggling teammate, Mesh makes it ridiculously easy to positively reinforce the right behaviors, values, and competencies.

In short, managers can give “Praise” (positive recognition) and “Advice” (constructive feedback) in real-time to their direct teams or skip teams. They can choose to give praises publicly while keeping advice private with just the individual. 

These praises and advice are also tied back to competencies required for a particular role so employees know exactly which area they’re doing well in and what they need to improve. 

This feedback and praise, delivered in the moment, has been proven to improve high-performer density by 15%. And teams that use Praise and Advice see a 138% boost in feedback inputs throughout the year.

But Mesh doesn’t just facilitate recognition: it also helps managers form a consistent, long-term habit of providing regular recognition and feedback to their teams, through:

  1. AI nudges that gently reminds managers to provide feedback and praise
  2. An AI coaching co-pilot that trains managers on how to provide clear, empathetic, and impactful recognition

See these in action here. 

When managers are encouraged and supported to give meaningful recognition, they are more likely to do so effectively. And with regular practice, recognizing employees becomes a natural “habit”.

Below, we dive deep into Mesh and dissect how it fares against the four factors that make the best social recognition platform.

→ Factor 1: Mesh Facilitates Continuous, Meaningful Feedback For and From Everyone

According to a Gallup report, employees who receive regular praise and recognition are 10-20% more productive. 

They’re also 3.8 times more likely to feel connected to their culture and 20 times as likely to be engaged.

But for feedback to boost productivity and reflect an employee's full performance, it should come from everyone they work with.

Mesh ensures feedback is delivered continuously, in a meaningful way from managers, team leads, and even peers by:

  • Making it easy for employees to proactively request feedback from anyone:
  • Providing ‘nudges’ backed by behavioral science so managers are giving timely recognition and feedback to employees

Mesh nudges are prompted by lifecycle events such as goal and initiative completion, work anniversaries, and time elapsed since last feedback. When those events come up, the manager will receive a notification to submit feedback.

  • Linking feedback to core competencies so employees can develop the skills that matter most to your organization:

With Mesh in your organization, you’ll have everything you need to foster a culture of continuous feedback where every employee: 

  • Feels valued and appreciated for their contributions, no matter how big or small
  • Is empowered to grow into the competencies that will advance their career and organizational performance

If you’re looking for a social recognition platform, you may also like: Top 5 Real Time Feedback Softwares For +15% High Performers

→ Factor 2: Mesh’s AI Coaches Managers to Give Effective Recognition

Giving feedback regularly isn’t enough to drive improved performance, research shows it needs to be quality feedback to make an impact. 

This is why we built Maven, an AI co-pilot to coach your managers on how to write feedback so that it’s clear, empathetic, and actionable. 

See below how Maven’s analysis and rephrase ability has improved the quality of our user’s feedback:

This feature is available to everyone who uses Mesh.

Mesh Maven can also improve the quality of goals set, automatically take notes and summarize 1:1s, as well as suggest agenda items for calls. 

To learn more about how Maven can boost the performance of your people, head here.

Want additional support for giving meaningful feedback?

📚Check out the 8 Mistakes Managers Make When Giving Employee Feedback.

📚Or read our helpful guide: How to Write Mid Year Reviews: 7 Steps, Examples & Tips

→ Factor 3: Mesh’s Analytics Dashboards Shows You the Performance and Progress of Each Employee 

Mesh not only nudges managers to give feedback, it offers analytics dashboards that give them data and insights to make that feedback specific and meaningful.

Managers can see who’s achieving the goals they set, who’s progressing on core competencies, and who is struggling. They’ll know exactly who is deserving of praise and why while also being able to support employees in need. 

Take the below screenshot for example:

It shows a useful insight under performance outcomes. The manager can see that Jay and Adam are excelling in goal delivery. They can then give praise linked to that success. 

There are several other analytics dashboards the manager can explore and use, such as the Goal Progress dashboard which shows whether your team is on-track to achieve their goals:

Want to learn more about the analytics Mesh has for HR teams, managers, and leadership? Check out our article: 5 People Analytics Dashboard Examples

→ Factor 4: Mesh Integrates with Your Key Communication Tools to Encourage Recognition

Mesh integrates seamlessly with popular workplace communication tools like Slack and MS Teams, ensuring recognition becomes an integral part of your employees' daily workflow.

Managers can give Praise and Advice directly through these channels, peers can exchange feedback for each other, and senior leaders can provide feedback to teams. 

This easy access is key to fostering a culture of recognition throughout the organization which can lead to better morale and higher performance. 

Mesh also sends reminders through the Slack or Teams app to give feedback when requested, prepare for 1:1s, or follow through on action items.

Want to see Mesh in action? Explore the platform on your own with this live tour, or reach out to us for a personalized demo.

Pros, Cons, and User Reviews

We spoke to some of our customers and read reviews they’ve posted on G2 to understand how Mesh helps them enable performance.

Here’s what we found.

Pros:

  • Increases frequency of praise and advice and improving the quality of feedback delivered
  • Links feedback directly to competencies the organization desires to increase likelihood employees develop and them over time
  • Has several performance enablement features alongside employee recognition features

Cons:

  • Unable to download documents and data from the platform
  • Lack of employee onboarding specific features
  • Employees who are collaborators for goals can edit targets later on

Pricing

Our pricing is designed to meet and scale to your organization’s needs. We offer three key packages:

  • Base: $4 per user, per month
  • Premium: $7 per user, per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing 

You can see what features are included in each:

→ Want a tool where social recognition reinforces desired behaviors and boosts performance? Get in touch with us for a demo of the product.

2. Vantage Circle - Best Gamified Employee Recognition Software

Vantage Circle is a social recognition platform that offers a gamified approach to social recognition, making the process of giving and receiving recognition fun and engaging for employees.

Their rewards and recognition program allows employees to “earn points” for their achievements, which can be redeemed for a wide variety of rewards, including gift cards, merchandise, and experiences.

These reward programs are pre-designed, but you can also request custom ones to meet your organization’s needs.

Another interesting feature is a gamified Leaderboard, which promotes healthy competition and motivates employees to excel in their roles.

Pricing: Unfortunately, Vantage Circle doesn’t publicly list its pricing. You’ll need to get in touch with them personally to find out their fees. 

3. Hibob CoreHR - Best for Boosting Employee Engagement

Hibob’s CoreHR is an employee recognition platform designed to enhance engagement with its social media-like homepage.

Managers (or anyone really) can give “kudos” to others publicly and employees can engage with posts using emojis and comments, making recognition interactive and actually rewarding. It's like Facebook, but for work.

This homepage also serves as the central hub for company information. You can view birthdays, work anniversaries, and company stats, while also providing quick links to essential features.

For hybrid and remote teams, the homepage displays critical information such as who's in the office, on vacation, or working remotely. You can also welcome new joiners and share announcements using “Shoutouts”.

Here are some of its standout social recognition features:

  • Social Media-Style Interface: Provides a familiar and intuitive user experience, encouraging employee participation.
  • Shout-Outs and Posts: Allows employees to create posts highlighting their colleagues' successes and contributions.
  • Likes, Comments, and Shares: Enables employees to interact with recognition posts, showing support and appreciation.
  • Customizable Recognition Categories: Offers the ability to tailor recognition categories to align with company values and goals.

Pricing: Hibob keeps its pricing private. 

4. Circula - Best Recognition Platform for Giving Monetary Incentives

Circula is an employee recognition and expense management platform tailored specifically for German and European companies. 

It’s very different from other recognition platforms in the sense that it focuses on recognizing employees through tax-optimized monetary benefits, rather than giving feedback. This includes: 

  • Lunch Benefit: Subsidize lunch up to €108.45 per month, tax-optimized.
  • Mobility Benefit: Set a monthly budget for all means of transport.
  • Voucher Benefit: Fulfill individual wishes with vouchers up to €50 per month.
  • Internet Benefit: Offer a monthly subsidy up to €50 for internet costs.
  • Relax Benefit: Subsidize holiday trips and recreational activities with a minimum of €156 per year.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You create “Benefit Groups” which are different types of people in your organization (e.g. Management, Full-time employees, Part-time employees, Working students, Trainees)
  2. Next, you define what kind of benefits you want to give to each group, and up to which amount (e.g. €40 for Lunch Benefits every month)
  3. Then, you add different people into each group.

And Circula takes care of the rest for you. It’ll automatically check receipts for legal compliance and wage optimization, calculate reimbursements, and provide monthly reports. 

You can try out the interactive demo here.

Apart from this, Circula is also an expense management tool for HR to reimburse employees for their work-related expenses, track payroll, and more.

Pricing: Circula’s pricing starts at €8 for its ‘Starter’ package and goes up to €13 for the ‘Professional’ option. Enterprise customers are able to submit their details to receive a custom offer. 

5. Bonusly - Best for Promoting Inclusion and Belonging

Bonusly is a social recognition and reward platform that focuses on fostering inclusion and belonging at work.

It aims to break down barriers between departments and teams through digital recognition, creating a connected and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued.

One way Bonusly promotes this culture is by using company value hashtags, making it easy for employees to give recognition that aligns with your core values. This keeps your values front and center in daily work.

The platform also supports charitable giving, allowing employees to donate their reward points to over 50 charitable organizations. This feature not only motivates employees but also enhances your company's social responsibility efforts.

Custom awards are another standout feature. You can create awards for actions like volunteering or completing diversity training, rewarding employees with points and reinforcing positive behaviors that strengthen your company culture.

With Bonusly, employees can easily recognize and appreciate their colleagues' contributions, regardless of their role or department. 

You can even set benchmarks for how much praise each employee should give in a month with a progress bar that keeps them striving to hit that number. 

The platform encourages frequent and meaningful recognition, helping employees feel seen, heard, and valued within the organization.

Pricing: They have a ‘Connect’ package for $5 per user/month, billed annually. You can use a 14-day free trial to see if it’s a fit for you.

These prices do not include what your organization would need to spend on rewards. 

6. Mo - Best Peer-to-Peer Employee Recognition Platform

Mo is a social recognition platform that puts peer-to-peer recognition at the forefront, empowering employees to celebrate and appreciate each other's accomplishments and contributions. 

With Mo, employees can easily recognize their colleagues' efforts through a user-friendly interface that allows for quick and meaningful appreciation. 

The platform encourages employees to be proactive in acknowledging the hard work and successes of their peers, creating a positive feedback loop that boosts morale and motivation.

Here are some of its standout social recognition features:

  • Instant Recognition: Enables employees to recognize their colleagues' achievements in real-time, ensuring timely appreciation for a job well done.
  • Customizable Recognition Templates: Provides a variety of recognition templates that employees can personalize to express their gratitude and appreciation genuinely.
  • Reward Points System: Allows employees to accumulate reward points for the recognition they receive, which can be redeemed for various incentives or experiences.

Pricing: Mo has the following plan options:

  • Appreciate: $2.25
  • Engage: $4.50
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

These prices are based on an annual payment plan. Monthly models will have increased per user pricing.

7. Connecteam - Best Mobile App for Employee Recognition

Connecteam is a mobile-first social recognition platform that puts the power of appreciation right at your fingertips. 

With its user-friendly app, Connecteam makes it effortless for employees to recognize and celebrate each other's achievements anytime, anywhere.

This app-based solution ensures that no matter where your employees are working from—whether in the office, on the go, or remotely—they can give and receive recognition with just a few taps on their smartphone.

Here are some of its standout social recognition features:

  • Mobile-First Design: Connecteam's sleek and intuitive app interface makes recognizing colleagues a breeze, even on the busiest of days.
  • Instant Recognition: With just a few taps, employees can send heartfelt appreciation to their coworkers, ensuring that no good deed goes unnoticed.
  • Custom Awards: Celebrate your team's unique accomplishments with token awards that can be converted to gift cards.

Pricing: Connecteam offer 5 different plans:

Free Plan: Ideal for small businesses, it includes essential features for up to 10 users at no cost.

Basic Plan: Starting at $29 per month for up to 30 users, this plan includes key features like time tracking, task management, and employee scheduling.

Advanced Plan: Priced at $49 per month for up to 30 users, it offers additional features such as advanced reporting, geolocation tracking, and automated workflows.

Expert Plan: At $99 per month for up to 30 users, this plan includes all advanced features plus API access, custom integrations, and premium support.

Enterprise Plan: Custom pricing tailored to your specific needs, providing a fully customizable solution with dedicated account management and priority support.

8. Workvivo - Best for Internal Employee Communication

Workvivo is an all-in-one employee communication and engagement platform that prioritizes social recognition as a key component of its offering. 

Workvivo ensures that employee achievements are celebrated and shared across the organization.

Employees can easily recognize their colleagues' successes, milestones, and contributions through various communication features such as posts, comments, and reactions. 

This integration of recognition into daily communication fosters a culture of appreciation and encourages employees to actively engage with one another.

Here are some of its standout social recognition features:

  • Social Media-Like Feed: Workvivo's intuitive feed allows employees to share updates, celebrate achievements, and engage with company news in real-time, creating a vibrant and interactive communication hub.
  • Recognition and Shout-Outs: The platform enables peer-to-peer recognition, allowing employees to give shout-outs and celebrate each other's successes. This fosters a culture of appreciation and motivates employees.
  • Community Spaces: Workvivo offers customizable community spaces where teams can collaborate, share resources, and stay connected, ensuring seamless communication across departments.
  • Content Creation: Employees can create and share rich content, including videos, blogs, and podcasts, enhancing the internal communication experience and keeping everyone informed and engaged.
  • Engagement Analytics: The platform provides detailed analytics on employee engagement, helping managers understand the impact of their communication and recognition efforts and identify areas for improvement.

Pricing: Unfortunately, Workvivo doesn’t list its pricing publicly.

9. Perkbox - Best Employee Recognition Software for Remote Teams

Perkbox is a global recognition platform designed to cater to the unique needs of remote teams.

In a remote work environment, it's easy for employees to feel disconnected and unappreciated. 

Perkbox addresses these challenges by providing a platform that enables remote teams to recognize and celebrate each other's achievements, fostering a culture of positivity and support.

Here are some of its standout social recognition features:

  • Remote-Friendly Recognition: Enables employees to easily send and receive recognition, regardless of their location.
  • Virtual Rewards and Perks: Offers a wide range of digital rewards and perks that remote employees can enjoy from anywhere.
  • Recognition Tied to Values: Provides the option to select what specific company value their colleague’s achievement is linked to.

Pricing: Perkbox doesn’t list their pricing model publicly. 

10. Howamigoing - Best for Giving 360-Degree Feedback

Howamigoing is a social recognition platform that specializes in providing comprehensive 360-degree feedback. 

By gathering input from an employee's colleagues, managers, and direct reports, Howamigoing offers a well-rounded view of an individual's performance and contributions.

This isn’t too dissimilar to Mesh’s own 360 feedback feature. 

Employees benefit from receiving well-rounded feedback that helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses, while managers gain valuable insights into their team's performance and development needs.

Here are some of Howamigoing’s standout features:

  • Simplified Feedback Requests: Allows employees to easily request feedback from their colleagues, managers, and direct reports.
  • Anonymous Feedback Option: Provides the option for reviewers to give anonymous feedback, encouraging honest and candid responses.
  • Customizable Questionnaires: Offers customizable survey templates that can be tailored to specific roles, departments, or competencies.

Pricing: Howamigoing’s prices start at $49 per employee, per annum.

11. Recognize App - Best Employee Rewards Program with 3000+ Rewards

Recognize App is a social recognition platform that stands out for its extensive selection of reward options. 

With over 3,000 rewards available in one place, Recognize App makes it easy for companies to find the perfect way to celebrate and appreciate their employees' achievements.

There’s also the ability for peers to send recognition in the platform linked to company values.

Here are some of its standout social recognition features:

  • Vast Reward Catalog: Provides access to over 3,000 reward options, including gift cards, experiences, merchandise, and more.
  • Customizable Recognition Programs: Allows companies to create recognition programs tailored to their unique culture, values, and goals.
  • Peer-to-Peer Recognition: Enables employees to recognize and appreciate their colleagues' efforts and contributions.

Pricing: Recognize App has plans starting from $3,999/yr for under 100 users.

12. BucketList Rewards - Best for Encouraging Positive Behaviors

BucketList Rewards is a social recognition platform that focuses on incentivizing and reinforcing great behavior among employees. 

The platform is designed to create a positive feedback loop, where employees are encouraged to consistently demonstrate desired behaviors and are rewarded for their efforts. 

This approach boosts employee morale and drives business results by aligning employee actions with company goals.

They have a curated selection of aspirational rewards, such as travel experiences and personal development opportunities employees can choose from.

Here are some of its standout social recognition features:

  • Aspirational Rewards: Offers a curated selection of unique and exciting rewards that employees can aspire to earn, such as travel experiences, luxury items, and personal development opportunities.
  • Behavior-Based Recognition: Allows managers to recognize and reward employees for specific behaviors that align with company values and objectives.
  • Gamification Elements: Incorporates gamification techniques, such as leaderboards and badges, to create a fun and engaging recognition experience.

Pricing: Bucketlist doesn’t list their pricing on their website.

Frequently Asked Questions
About the Author
Ben Goodey
HR Content Strategist
Ben is an HR enthusiast & researcher with an obsession with creating human-centred content.
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