10 (Ten) Outstanding Employee Appreciation Ideas Your Staff Will Remember

Show Employee Appreciation with ten fun and memorable ideas your staff will love

June 30, 2022
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You’ve heard of Employee Appreciation Day, but if you’re hoping to increase employee appreciation in your workplace, one day a year may not be enough. With the recent emphasis on employee recognition and appreciation, you may be wondering how best to show gratitude to your staff. 

Whether you’re a small remote collaborative or a bustling in-person office, show that you value your employees by incorporating some of these fun employee appreciation ideas into your workplace repertoire.

What is Employee Appreciation?

Employee appreciation is recognizing and rewarding employee contributions in the workplace. This appreciation can be formal or informal but always aims to acknowledge the good work an employee does to benefit the business and culture of your work environment. 

It’s common for employees at a company to feel that their best efforts are routinely unappreciated or ignored. A recent Gallup poll found that only one in three workers in the United States strongly agreed when asked if they received praise or recognition for their excellent work in the last seven days. 

Another recent survey of 1.7 million employees from companies of all sizes gathered between 2018 and 2020 revealed that 37% of employees said more personal recognition in the workplace would encourage them to produce better work more regularly. 

With the competition for talent acquisition reaching new heights, it is more important than ever for businesses to develop strategies to attract and retain top performers. Employee appreciation is directly linked with job satisfaction, workplace morale, and increased happiness, all of which make employees more likely to remain at their current job. 

How Do You Show Employee Appreciation?

Employers can show employee appreciation by giving their employees something valued. These symbols of appreciation fall into general categories, such as gifts or events, and some may work better than others in your work environment. 

Monetary forms of appreciation, such as a bonus, raise, or gift card, are the most tangible way of showing employee appreciation. Paid time off can often be just as effective if feasible for your business. 

Social events to show appreciation, like company-wide happy hours or office retreats, are a great way to bring your employees together in a non-office environment that allows them to get to know each other outside the workplace. 

Status-oriented forms of appreciation often come in the form of social media shoutouts or recommendations. Perks like these generally aim to elevate the appreciated employee in the eyes of their peers. 

Opportunities for personal growth, such as gym memberships and educational opportunities, can help employees realize that their employer cares about their mental and physical well-being. Investing in the health and education of your employees also benefits the company since content, clear-headed employees tend to produce better work. 

Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day every year on the first Friday in March. Observing a day dedicated to appreciation is a great way to say thank you to employees. 

What is the Difference Between Employee Recognition and Employee Appreciation? 

Employee recognition acknowledges what an employee does, while employee appreciation recognizes who an employee is. Recognition is showing gratitude for a person’s actions, while appreciation is showing gratitude for a person’s value. 

Employee Recognition

Employee recognition generally consists of positive feedback based on work performance. This can be formal praise in the form of a raise, bonus, promotion, or award, or informal praise like a verbal thank-you or handwritten note.

Some companies give out employee recognition awards to motivate their team. Even minor forms of recognition, such as an informal shout-out during a meeting, can be highly effective and meaningful if done in a genuine, timely way.

Recognition is performance-based and generally measured against what other employees have been able to accomplish in the past. When you give recognition, it typically aims to recognize employees who have met or surpassed company expectations. This may be a well-researched presentation, a big sale, or a new organizational system, and usually acknowledges a specific, measurable action. 

Because employee recognition is a form of work appreciation, it has nothing to do with an employee’s inherent value as a human being.

Unlike employee appreciation, there is generally a limited amount of recognition to go around. Not everyone can receive a bonus or be mentioned in a company-wide memo. Employee recognition relies on this scarcity to increase the value of the praise it offers. If everyone is recognized, higher-achieving employees have less incentive to continue working at their peak level. 

Start using the Celebrate a Teammate workflow today or schedule a demo to get started for free.

Employee Appreciation

Employee appreciation is about acknowledging your employee’s inherent value, regardless of their specific accomplishments. Employee appreciation focuses on who an employee is and what they bring to the company beyond completing their work. 

Employers who only recognize employees for positive outcomes may miss out on opportunities to connect with and support their employees on a human level. This may sound cheesy or overly sentimental, but a recent poll found that 67% of employees rated praise and commendation from managers as their top motivators for work performance. 

A Glassdoor Employee Appreciation Survey further revealed that 53% of employees said that more appreciation from their boss would make them want to remain longer at the company. 

Employee appreciation can help build trust between managers and employees, leading to higher overall productivity levels and a more vibrant and supportive workplace your employees will want to come to every day. 

10 Memorable Employee Appreciation Ideas 

Employee appreciation will look different depending on workplace style and how much a company has in its budget to spend on perks. These fun and memorable staff appreciation ideas are a great starting point and can easily be modified to fit your individual work environment. 

  1. Take Lunch to the Next Level

Take your employees out to lunch to show appreciation. Talk to them about how their work is going and show them that you are actively listening. Your employees may feel more willing to open up in a non-office environment. 

  1. Make Your Appreciation Visible With Shout-Outs

Put your appreciation into words. If you use an efficiency platform like Assembly, create a channel dedicated to shouting out to your employees for their accomplishments inside or outside the workplace. If your company sends out company-wide updates, find a spot to call attention to a specific employee. You can even try implementing an Employee of the Week system if that suits your business. 

  1. LinkedIn Recommendation 

Show an appreciated employee that you care about their career. LinkedIn Kudos offers an easy way to share your appreciation for people in your professional community. 

  1. Rethink Your Break Room

Ditch the old folding chairs and dirty microwave. Investing in an environment where your employees can come to relax and decompress is an excellent way to show employee appreciation. Ask your employees what changes they would like to see. A few books, games, or comfortable chairs won’t break the bank and can make your office space a place where employees feel valued. 

  1. Celebrate Milestones 

Show your employees you value them by celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, and holidays. If you’re feeling ambitious, create your own holiday dedicated to something specific to your workplace. Whatever it is, make sure your celebration is something your staff can all enjoy together. 

  1. VIP Parking Spot

Showcase an appreciated employee by offering them the best parking spot in the lot for a week. Driving up into a spot fit for a CEO can make an employee’s morning a little brighter. 

  1. Offer Extended Learning Opportunities

Learning shouldn’t stop when you graduate. Show your employees you care about their education and skill development by encouraging extended learning. If possible, offer subsidized education opportunities or finance educational retreats. As a bonus, your employees may learn skills that directly benefit the company. 

  1. Provide Wellness Stipends

Investing in the health of your employees is a great way to show appreciation. A wellness stipend can often cover gym memberships, massage or spa services, and even counseling. 

  1. Personalized Gifts

Show your employees you know who they are outside the workplace. Giving a small, personalized gift that relates to an employee’s interests or hobbies is an excellent way to show that you value them as a person, not just as a worker. 

  1. Unexpected Treats

This tried and true method is a great way to foster workplace community and increase overall employee happiness. Bringing in food or snacks is a common but effective way to show your employees you appreciate them. Surprise your staff with donuts, a lunchtime pizza party, or take the whole office out for ice cream.

Show Your Employees Your Appreciation with Assembly

Assembly is a fully customizable employee engagement solution to drive productivity and retention while boosting internal culture. With Assembly, it is easier than ever to recognize your colleagues within the workplace

Ready to give your work culture a boost? Schedule a meeting with our employee recognition experts, and we’ll waive your implementation fee. Book a demo online today. 

Try Assembly for free and discover our employee engagement and productivity solutions today.

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