30 Employee Appreciation Ideas to Help Your Employees Fall in Love with Their Job

One of the leading causes of employee turnover is a lack of employee appreciation. Companies with appointed employee recognition programs that included acknowledgment, praise and appreciation for hard work, success and achievements saw positive effects on other business areas such as engagement, happiness and culture.

Great organisations constantly reevaluate how they recognise staff, ensuring they meet the needs of their team, culture, and industry standards. However, as companies grow, it can become even more of a challenge, and management must rethink how they add value to the employee appreciation experience.

While there is no one size fits all approach, here are 30 employee appreciation ideas you can start implementing today.

1) Allow Staff to Choose Projects to Work On

While rewards and thank you notes are great ways to show appreciation, you can also give your staff more freedom to choose. The next time you have a list of new projects, ask staff what they might want to do. 

By giving staff the ability to choose their workload and how they want to use their skills, they have an opportunity to challenge themselves. In addition, choosing will inspire staff to work harder and feel more appreciated because you cared to ask.

2) Celebrate Birthdays

The likelihood of a staff member's birthday falling on a workday is pretty high, meaning they’ll be spending a significant chunk of their special day at their job. So the question shouldn’t be whether or not you should celebrate birthdays, but rather how you celebrate birthdays. 

A great tip would be to put a system in place for birthdays, so it’s the same every time. The system could include a card for everyone to sign and a birthday cake from a local bakery. 

By acknowledging birthdays consistently, you subconsciously make the celebration a part of the company culture, and employees feel special.

3) Implement a Shoutout Channel

Consider creating a shoutout channel with most teams online or connected over a digital platform. The shoutout channel is where staff can shout out to other staff members who helped them with a difficult task, shared their workload, or showed kindness. 

After setting up the channel, let your team members know what it is for and how they can use it. If you want to take it a step further, consider offering a reward for those who get mentioned to incentivise good behaviour.

4) Listen to staff feedback

Sometimes asking for the answer can get you to the solution quicker. For example, consider asking your staff to rate the current employee appreciation and any creative ideas of how they would like to be appreciated. 

To narrow the focus away from pay raises and career progression, consider using a multiple-choice answer or setting examples for the questions. The results might surprise you and allow you to implement and action employee appreciation a lot sooner.

Photo by: Sora Shimazaki | Pexels

5) Trophies Aren’t Just for Sports

From a young age, we’ve understood that getting a trophy means accomplishing something great. In some professional sports, a trophy gets passed from one winning team to the next. 

The same principle can be applied to the workplace. The trophy represents accomplishing a specific task set out by management, and every time a staff member performs this task, they receive the trophy. It inspires the team to be more productive, creates healthy competition and is a fun way to show staff appreciation.

6) Be Public with Your Appreciation

While some staff may not love the limelight, public shows of appreciation are a great way to help your team feel good. Some ways to go public are sending out an email, making an announcement at the beginning of a shift or sending out an update across the right company social channels. 

It’s also an excellent opportunity to show your customers that you appreciate your staff and the great things they can do.

7) Keep Track of Team Wins

Whether a live ticker, a virtual thermometer or a dial, a visual representation to track team wins is a great way to show employee appreciation. As employees continue to accomplish tasks, they can see as the visual guide becomes closer to the end goal. 

If you want to take the visual guide a step further, create smaller goals along the way. These could include the halfway point or hitting a specific number of sales. Then, together the team can see that their hard work gets them one step closer to the ultimate goal.

8) Personalise Your Appreciation

Sometimes the best way to show appreciation is by offering a reward or note unique to the staff member you’re recognising. Of course, a standard thank you is better than nothing, and sometimes blanket rewards are necessary. 

But when you personalise the appreciation, you take it one step further. It also shows a genuine interest in your staff outside of the workplace and is a great way to communicate that you care.

9) Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

Sometimes we can underestimate the power of a simple thank you note. Whether it’s by hand or a quick email, thank you can go a long way in helping employees feel appreciated. 

A great place to start is by purchasing a stack of thank you cards. Then, when an employee goes above and beyond, helps with a task you were having trouble with or offers support to another employee, write a quick thank you note. This simple act will leave a long-lasting impact on your staff.

10) Build an Employee Recognition Plan

Before implementing employee appreciation, begin by creating an employee recognition plan. An employee recognition plan will allow you to outline objectives and criteria for showing gratitude. 

For example, your recognition plan can include a reward system, a point system and more. If you’re unsure where to start, consider working with your HR department or outsourcing HR services to help you create a plan that best matches your employee’s needs and business goals.

11) Surprise the Team With Treats

Surprises are always exciting and an excellent way to show your appreciation. For example, if you recognise the team is working hard, it’s been a tough week, surprising staff with treats such as cookies or candy is a great way to show appreciation. 

While a small gesture, your staff will know that you were thinking of them, which goes a long way. Also, if your team have had to start early for an event, consider bringing in breakfast food and coffee. Coffee is always a way to show appreciation.

12) Include all of Your Staff on the Website

Every staff member is critical to the business. So instead of only showcasing senior executives and management, make room for everyone. While it may not seem important to you, it can make staff feel appreciated when they see themselves as an essential part of the business. 

Another great way to show appreciation is to allow them to write their bio. You can provide the guidelines and give them the creative freedom to showcase who they are.

13) Make Time to Celebrate

While birthday parties are a great way to celebrate individual staff members, make time to celebrate as a team. Holidays and monthly events are good places to start with celebrations. 

Booking the time to celebrate each other and your accomplishments allows staff to relax and have fun. The reason doesn’t always have to be noticeable, but taking the time to celebrate will show you appreciate your hard-working team.

14) Be Creative With Your Rewards

Maybe you’re already showing your staff that you appreciate them, but it might be time to mix things up. Instead of traditional rewards, try time-off, a late start or a gift card to their favourite restaurant. 

It’s essential to consider how you can make your reward different enough to stand out as a part of your culture. A bonus or painted portraits is a great idea to show appreciation for staff that have been with the company for a certain number of years.

15) Celebrate Staff Milestones

With employee turnover high, it’s important to recognise when staff choose to stay. To do this, celebrate anniversaries. The key here is to start early. When a new hire finishes their probation period and gets offered a full-time contract, celebrate and show excitement for their future with the company. 

When that new hire makes it to 6 months, write a thank you note acknowledging how much they’ve contributed. You can see the pattern, but when you start early, staff are more motivated to stay.

16) Invite Staff out to Lunch

Taking staff out to lunch can go a long way, especially if the staff member is usually more reserved and quiet in the office. Taking them out of the office and into a more neutral setting allows them to talk more candidly about their interests and how the job is going. 

You can also practice the same thing for different teams. For example, perhaps a team has just accomplished an important goal, so you take them out to lunch to celebrate.

17) Provide Access to Upskilling Opportunities

Upskilling staff is a significant contributor to employee retention. Investing in upskilling your team shows that you care about their career progression with the company they currently work for and beyond. 

Some great ideas for employee upskilling are memberships to on-demand learning, different educational events in the office and access to more hands-on learning skills, like art, music, and sport.

18) Offer a Flexible Work Environment

As businesses start to open back up, more and more are testing the idea of a hybrid working model that allows staff to work both from home and in the office. Offering a flexible work environment is a great way to show appreciation by understanding the importance of work-life balance. 

After months of working at home, giving the option to continue shows you respect for their new routine, it also shows that you trust their ability to work alone without impacting productivity and performance.

Photo by: Sarah Pflug | Burst

19) Introduce a Mentoring Program

Finding a mentor can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. But they can offer significant benefits in helping your staff grow in both their professional and personal lives. 

Whether internally or externally, mentor programs provide a sense of importance and significance that may not be possible just through management. You might also give the mentee options to become the mentor one day if you run the program internally.

20) Implement a Staff Appreciation Holiday

Instead of appreciating your staff here and there, consider implementing a staff appreciation holiday. The holiday will mark one day a year where you have an entire event dedicated to appreciating staff. 

You could even consider shutting down the business for the day so everyone can celebrate together. Whatever you decide to do, it should mark an exciting day of the year that’s part of the company culture.

21) Celebrate Non-Work Achievements

Your staff have lives outside of their jobs and are accomplishing incredible things. Whether they run small businesses, are volunteering or participating in a sport, make a note of their hobbies and activities they do in their spare time.

 Then follow up and celebrate their accomplishments publicly. It’s a great way to highlight things your staff are involved in besides their day-to-day work responsibilities.

22) Open up a Suggestion Box

While they may be old school, suggestion boxes are a great way to collect anonymous suggestions from your staff. People might be tentative about dropping notes with a physical suggestion box, so consider an online suggestion box tool

Staff can then share ideas, concerns and thoughts about the company and their role. Try introducing the suggestion box with criteria to keep people from making rude comments.

23) Report Back on the Impact Your Staff are Making on the Business

With staff choosing to work for your business, let them in on the impact they have. For example, perhaps you manage a sales team for a retail store

A sale was on the floor, and a staff member sold the most items. Make sure to let them know how that affected meeting the targets for the day. Sharing this insight can inspire staff to work hard and increase overall productivity.

24) Allow Time for your Staff to Volunteer

A great benefit to attracting new talent and keeping employees longer is making time for them to volunteer, whether as a team or individually; letting staff volunteer gives them a new appreciation for their job and those around them. 

It also acts as a great team-building activity and can be shared across company socials.

Photo by: rawpixel | Pxhere

25) Invite Dogs to the Office

Dog-friendly offices are one of the many new perks businesses have started to mention. Of course, nothing says stress-free like a happy puppy wandering around while you work. 

Or better yet, they decide to stop and sleep by your feet. But, of course, dogs on the premises may not work for every industry, so instead, you could designate one day where you invite dogs and have an afternoon picnic or participate in puppy yoga.

26) Make Swag Your Staff Want to Use

Swag is always a great job perk, especially when a new hire has just started. But swag can either work or be a massive waste of money. 

Investing in high-quality fabrics, good fits, and products that your staff can use is the key to swag that shows your appreciation. Think t-shirts, crewneck sweaters, charging ports, coffee mugs, and notepads. Next, work out the budget you can spend on swag and then use that budget to invest in high-quality swag.

27) Break up the Week with a Lunch and Learn

Similar to offering mentorship and access to upskilling, lunch and learns are a great way to break up the week and show your appreciation.

Lunch and learns don’t necessarily have to involve bringing in someone outside of the business. Instead, you can have someone from a different department give an update on what projects they’re doing. 

Another great idea is a live webinar hosted by another company in your industry. For example, a tech company might watch one of Apple’s live events.

28) Create an Inspiring Breakroom

When you think of a breakroom, you might think of a dingy, grey room with nothing but a microwave, table, and chairs. But now, more and more businesses are creating spaces that inspire creativity, rest, and recharging. 

To refresh your breakroom, try adding fun and exciting things to show your appreciation. Some great ideas are comfortable seating, plants, fresh fruit, music, a small library and more.

29) Welcome Healthy Competition

While competition tends to have a bad reputation in business, there are ways to promote healthy competition. Healthy workplace competition can act as a catalyst for innovation, team building, and meeting stretch goals. 

When you reward the competition, it shows your appreciation for hard work and determination. For example, if your business is a team of event staff, you could run a competition for the person who hands out the most swag. Whatever the competition, it should be a positive experience, not a negative one.

30) Schedule Frequent Catch Up’s

Frequent catchups with your staff are a great way to show employee appreciation. There doesn’t have to be something specific to talk about for them to be effective. 

Taking 30 minutes from your week to sit down with a team member and chat about how their day-to-day is or how they’ve been feeling will yield positive results in employee engagement. It also allows them to express any challenges they might be facing without forcing the conversation.

Building employee appreciation ideas is an ongoing effort. It won’t happen in one day, and the activities or rewards shouldn’t be random. 

Overall, employee appreciation should be an integral part of your company culture. Your staff are an essential asset to the business, and a little show of appreciation can go a long way and help prevent employee turnover.

And lastly, if you’re managing a team and need help building staff schedules in one place, check out RosterElf’s complete rostering software. We make managing teams a breeze.

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