It is crucial to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of your employees. While verbal appreciation can go a long way, the best way to show employee appreciation is by offering something tangible as a token of gratitude. Tangible rewards serve as a visible reminder of recognition and motivate employees to continue performing at their best.
- Celebrating milestones and achievements goes a long way in boosting employee morale and motivation.
- Employee appreciation gifts should be genuine and personalized to each individual’s contributions and strengths.
- Creating a positive work environment through team-building activities, social events, and open communication fosters a sense of belonging and appreciation.
- Providing competitive compensation packages, benefits, and rewards demonstrates the company’s commitment to recognizing employees’ hard work and dedication.
Below are 15 employee appreciation ideas to show your employees how much you value them.
1. Give Company Swag
Small businesses can benefit from giving company swag (personalized products with the company name and/or logo) to not just clients but also employees. These employee appreciation gifts show your employees that you care about them. Plus, it helps with brand awareness and recognition.
The types of company swag you can offer are endless; however, here are a few of the most common ones to get you started:
- Coffee mugs
- Stress balls
- Water bottles
- Fitness watches
- Beach towels
If you don’t have the funds to produce your own company swag, you can subscribe to a gift distribution company, like Snappy, where your employees can pick out the prizes they want. These can range anywhere from $10 to over $100 per prize and include things like kitchen appliances, home decor, backyard barbecue items, camping gear, and more. The only downfall is that your company name and/or logo will not be on any items picked.
2. Offer Additional Paid Time Off
Giving your team some time off is a creative way to show employee appreciation. Rewarding an individual or the entire team for a particularly successful effort should be matched by a corresponding reward.
This isn’t something every company can do, and certainly not after every successful endeavor. However, offering your employees a free paid time off (PTO) day on the company dime is a great way to show your people management skills. You can allow them to use their extra PTO day whenever they wish or put a limit on the timeframe in which it must be used.
Another option is to offer companywide unlimited PTO. This allows employees to take time off when they need without a cap on the number of days they can take.
Need help creating a PTO policy? Check out our comprehensive paid time off policy guide.
3. Give a Financial Incentive
Nothing speaks louder than a bonus. Despite not being the most original idea, it has stayed around for so long because it is effective. Publicly recognizing and thanking an employee for their efforts with a bonus not only shows them your appreciation but demonstrates to other team members that, with the right effort, they could see a similar reward. This motivates all employees to give their best every time.
To be effective, a bonus award should be commensurate with the employee’s contribution—anywhere from $100 to over $1,000, depending on the project. Take care not to diminish an employee’s effort with an inappropriate amount, which may be demotivating. For instance, giving an employee a $20 bonus for spearheading a project that increased your company’s revenue by tens of thousands of dollars would seem out of touch.
4. Enroll in Comprehensive Benefits
By providing comprehensive benefits, employers enhance their employees’ overall well-being and demonstrate a genuine commitment to their long-term success. These packages go beyond just the basic health insurance coverage and can include additional perks such as dental and vision plans, retirement savings options, flexible spending accounts, and even gym memberships.
Offering benefits at no cost to the employee helps alleviate financial stressors associated with healthcare expenses or retirement planning. It shows that the company values its employees’ physical health, mental well-being, and financial stability—crucial factors in building a positive work environment.
Learn more about setting up an employee benefits program.
5. Offer Professional Development Opportunities
Investing in the professional development of your employees is not only a sign of appreciation but also a strategic move to enhance their skills and boost overall productivity. By offering opportunities for your team members to grow, you demonstrate that you value your employees’ contributions and are committed to supporting their long-term success. These can range from attending conferences and workshops to participating in online courses or obtaining certifications.
Professional development opportunities provide numerous benefits for both employers and employees.
- Employees gain new skills that can be directly applied to their current roles.
- Increases the likelihood of employee retention as they feel valued.
- Allows employers to cultivate a skilled and knowledgeable workforce.
- Demonstrates that employers value their employees’ growth and success.
- Can lead to internal promotions rather than hiring external candidates, saving recruitment costs for the company.
According to a LinkedIn study, 89% of professionals agree that building employee skills through learning and development will help navigate an evolving work future.
6. Allow Remote Work
Offering remote work options is a simple yet powerful gesture that not only demonstrates appreciation for your employees’ hard work but also enhances employee engagement and overall job satisfaction. Additionally, by embracing remote work as a means of showing employee appreciation, you can tap into a wider pool of talent.
The ability to work remotely provides employees with greater control over their schedules, eliminating the stress of long commutes and rigid office hours. This newfound freedom allows them to achieve a better work-life balance, leading to increased productivity and decreased burnout. Furthermore, remote work options empower employees to tailor their environment according to their preferences, which may enhance creativity and boost morale.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, remote workers are 40% more productive than employees who work in an office environment.
7. Give Birthday & Anniversary Recognitions
By acknowledging an employee’s birthday, you are showing that you value them not only as a worker but also as a person. This simple gesture can go a long way in building strong relationships within the workplace. Whether it’s a personalized card or a small gift, such as a gift card or a free PTO day, these tokens of appreciation show that you took the time to remember their special day.
Similarly, recognizing work anniversaries demonstrates your commitment to fostering long-term relationships with your employees. It shows that you appreciate their loyalty and dedication over the years. Typically this would be given in the form of a bonus (i.e., $100 for an anniversary, $250 for a second anniversary, and so on).
8. Hold a Celebration Day
Recognizing and appreciating employee achievements is crucial for maintaining a motivated and engaged workforce. When you celebrate your employees, they feel a sense of accomplishment. These celebrations should be in front of their peers, such as on an all-team conference call or during a department meeting.
Celebration days provide an opportunity to celebrate individual and team accomplishments while boosting morale and fostering a sense of camaraderie among colleagues. Companies can organize various activities to honor the achievements of their employees, including award ceremonies where outstanding performers are recognized for their contributions or hosting team-building exercises to acknowledge successful collaborative projects. Additionally, offering opportunities for employees to share their success stories or present innovative ideas can further encourage a culture of appreciation within the organization.
9. Create a Rewards System
Implementing an employee rewards program gives you a tool to immediately and specifically recognize members of your team. This is a great idea for companies because colleagues can recognize each other, leading to increased employee engagement.
There are several software programs available, like Bonusly, that allow you and your team to recognize each other for a job well done. Each employee gets a certain number of points to give out each month to other employees to publicly recognize their achievements. Over time, employees can save the points they receive and cash them in for rewards, like:
- Extra time off
- Free meals
- Company swag
- Gift cards
- Other unique perks
These programs also give you metrics so you can see who’s actively rewarding others, who are getting rewarded, and who might just be sitting on the sidelines. Consider implementing a tool like this because it encourages peer-to-peer rewards, which are seen companywide, and gives your employees currency to trade in for an award they want.
For more information on the platform and how you can use this rewards tool to show employee appreciation, check out our Bonusly review.
10. Give Positive Feedback
A key component of employee management is recognizing individual team members when they succeed. When an employee goes above and beyond or lends a hand to a project that takes it to a new level, they deserve to be called out for additional praise. Their contribution should be noted so that they know you and other employees see their hard work.
You can show someone you appreciate their efforts by saying nice things about them. What you say needs to be specific and more than simply a quick “nice job.” It doesn’t have to be long, but it must be direct and specific; it also doesn’t have to be verbal. In fact, in today’s working environment, it might be better as a companywide announcement via email or messenger. Providing this level of feedback will make any employee feel appreciated and happy about the work they’ve done.
Example: “Your report on our lead sources was excellent. The charts were well-organized and illustrated where we need to invest more money and where our efforts are coming up short. I appreciate your hard work in putting this data together. It helped our leadership team make quick, cost-effective decisions. Thank you, and keep up the good work.”
11. Plan a Company Appreciation Day
Company appreciation days can take various forms depending on the company’s culture and resources. From themed parties to outdoor activities or team-building exercises, there are countless ways to show appreciation for your employees’ efforts. These events allow colleagues from different departments to interact outside of their regular work settings, promoting better collaboration and strengthening relationships within the organization.
Some ideas include a:
- Spa day
- Company cruise
- Weekend staycation
- Catered dinner with a plus-one
- Team building activity, such as an escape room or laser tag outing
This idea may require a larger budget, depending on the size of your team. However, if the team’s work significantly contributed to your company’s revenue, taking some of that projected cash and investing it back in your team will show them you value their effort.
12. Give a Holiday Bonus
During the holiday season, employers are presented with a golden opportunity to express their gratitude and appreciation toward their hardworking employees. One of the most effective ways to do this is by providing a holiday bonus. This not only serves as financial recognition for your employees’ dedication and efforts throughout the year but also boosts morale, loyalty, and overall satisfaction within the workplace.
Some holiday bonus ideas include:
- Cash bonus
- Gift card
- Food gift (i.e., turkey, meat/cheese club, etc.)
A holiday bonus can contribute to employee morale and job satisfaction. When employees receive an unexpected financial reward during the festive season, it generates a sense of joy, fulfillment, and contentment amongst them.
13. Host a Wellness Day
By providing employees with an opportunity to relax, recharge, and focus on self-care, you show them that their physical and mental well-being matters just as much as their productivity. This can be in the form of a free paid day off or a wellness activity at your office.
During a wellness day, you can offer various activities and resources aimed at promoting overall health. Consider inviting professionals such as yoga instructors or nutritionists who can lead workshops or provide tips on stress management techniques and healthy eating habits. Additionally, create designated spaces at your office where employees can participate in meditation sessions or engage in exercise, like walking or stretching.
Need additional help with ideas for your wellness day? Read our Employee Wellness Program Ideas for more information.
14. Add Staff to Your Company Website
Adding your staff to your company website is a powerful way to show employee appreciation and create a sense of belonging within your organization. By featuring individual profiles—along with photos of each team member—you not only acknowledge their contributions but also highlight the diversity and talent that exists within your workforce. This simple gesture demonstrates that you value each employee as an important part of the company’s success, fostering a positive work environment where individuals feel seen and recognized.
Moreover, showcasing your staff on your website enables clients, customers, and potential recruits to put faces to names. When people can connect with the individuals behind the products or services they enjoy, it strengthens their trust and confidence in your brand.
15. Host a Companywide Luncheon
Hosting a companywide luncheon allows employers to show gratitude toward their staff by providing them with a well-deserved break from their daily routine. It offers employees the chance to step away from their desks, enjoy good food and conversation, and recharge both physically and mentally.
Some lunch ideas include:
- Catered meals
- Food trucks
- Pizza parties
For remote workers, consider giving a gift card to a local restaurant or an additional stipend that will be used to purchase the meal. This is also a great opportunity to hold a lunch-and-learn session where all team members, both in the office and remotely, can eat together and learn more about the company.
How to Choose the Right Employee Appreciation Idea
Choosing the right employee appreciation idea can be overwhelming, especially with countless options available. Here are some tips to be able to choose the right ones for your employees:
- Consider the preferences and interests of your employees. Take into account their hobbies, passions, and values when selecting an appreciation idea that resonates with them.
- Conduct anonymous surveys. Using employee surveys or having one-on-one conversations to gather insights on what forms of appreciation would be most meaningful to your employees will help you pick the most appropriate idea.
- Assess your budget and resources. Before finalizing any employee appreciation gift idea, have a clear budget in mind. While expensive gifts may seem impressive, they may not always align with your financial capabilities.
- Consider your company culture. If collaboration is highly valued in your workplace, an employee appreciation idea that encourages teamwork or recognizes collaborative efforts would be ideal. On the other hand, if innovation and creativity are top priorities for your business, an idea that rewards out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving skills would resonate more with your employees.
Why You Should Show Employee Appreciation
Showing gratitude and recognition toward your employees can have a profound impact on their morale, productivity, and overall satisfaction in the workplace. When employees feel valued and appreciated for their hard work, they are more likely to go above and beyond in their roles. Some benefits include:
- Improved employee engagement. When employees feel acknowledged for their efforts, they become more committed to their work and take ownership of their responsibilities.
- Fosters a positive work culture. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to have positive interactions with colleagues and customers.
- Boosts morale and job satisfaction. When employees receive recognition for their hard work, it validates their efforts and makes them feel valued as individuals. This boosts their self-esteem and motivates them to continue performing well in their roles.
- Higher levels of productivity. When workers feel valued and recognized for their contributions, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work.
- Lower turnover rates. Employees who are consistently shown appreciation for their hard work are more likely to remain with a company long term as the chance of looking elsewhere for employment diminishes.
Recognizing and acknowledging the hard work and achievements of employees is essential for maintaining a positive work environment. Whether it’s through verbal praise, small tokens of appreciation, or creating opportunities for growth and development, showing gratitude can make employees feel valued and motivated.