50 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation
Trying to think of ways to add positivity to your work environment, show appreciation to your employees, and keep them engaged?
Your employees have been through a lot this year and without them, you wouldn’t have the amazing company you have today. These are the people who are putting in the hustle and grind every day to make the best experience and products for your company and customers - all while balancing work, families, home schooling, and staying in place.
Here are some simple little gestures you can do as a boss, team leader or manager to keep employees engaged. Let them know that you are grateful and THANKFUL for all their hard work throughout this year.
Take a look below for 50 creative ways to say thanks:
- Spoken words. Sometimes a genuine thank you in a face-to-face or face-to-video conferencing setting can be all the appreciation someone needs!
- Written words. A handwritten thank you note can go a long way toward making an employee feel really appreciated.
- Bonuses. While bonuses are taxed at a higher rate than standard pay, they can still let your employees know they are appreciated!
- Prizes and Cash rewards. Get some healthy competition going in your workplace with prizes or cash rewards.
- Sweet treats. Whether it’s a favorite candy bar or cookies for your highest performing team, the way to an employee’s heart can often be through their stomach.
- Company swag. Mugs, water bottles, notebooks, stress balls or branded chargers - you could probably make a pretty sweet gift basket from your branded swag. This is especially impactful for new team members!
- T-shirts. One of the easiest ways to create teamwork is by getting everyone in the same uniform. While branded swag is fun for the company, getting t-shirts your employees will wear in the workplace is a fun way to build camaraderie!
- Blankets. Whether your office is in sunny Florida or frigid North Dakota, chances are at least half your employees (the female half) are shivering at their desks. Keep them toasty warm with a fun company branded blanket.
- Snack boxes. There are some fantastic theme based snack boxes you can send to your remote workforce to let them know you are thinking about them.
- Honors. Employee of the month, a company awards banquet, engraved plaques or mini “Oscars” - employees love being recognized in front of their peers. Double points for thoughtfully engraved plaques or certificates.
- New laptop. Sometimes employees struggle with outdated technology that often makes it difficult to do their jobs. Show your appreciation by giving them a tech upgrade!
- New desk or chair. Has your underappreciated admin been pining for a standup desk? Your Sales VP has been hinting about a stability ball chair? Give them the environment they need to be productive!
- Wellness. Healthy employees are happy employees. Whether you choose a yoga membership, an online gym or a subscription to a meditation class, show your appreciation with wellness perks! Try offering a subscription to Headspace or Calm.
- Free lunch. Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Not you! You can send you remote employees a lunch from Grubhub or DoorDash
- Home Office comforts. Home offices can always be more comfortable. Branded pillow, a new espresso machine, headphones to tune out the world, or a plant may spruce up your employees home work space.
- Cheers! An engraved bottle of wine, a case of champagne or a selection of craft beers can make your employees feel really cheerful about their hard work.
- Stock up. Are some of your employees returning to the office? Fill up the break room with healthy snacks and drinks, and give your employees free reign. Providing this valuable perk will make employees feel right at home.
- Fruit basket. There’s nothing quite like a fresh fruit basket or edible arrangement to make an employee feel like a million bucks! Or, go decadent, and send a brownie basket from Greyston Bakery.
- Magazine subscription. Everyone has a hobby or extracurricular activity they love, whether you have an avid outdoorswoman or an employee addicted to home renovation, you can subsidize a year of your employees’ interests for a very small price tag.
- Spotify/Hulu subscription. One of the greatest gifts you can give your hardworking employees is a subscription to the music or entertainment they love. Bonus: earbuds!
- Start a book club. Vote on the first 6 books and mail them to your employees.
- Donate to a charity they care about. Does your employee volunteer at a local food bank or animal shelter? Donate to that organization on their behalf.
- Picnic basket. A basket filled with gourmet food, wine and all the accoutrements they’ll need for a fun picnic works best right before a holiday weekend!
- Online Office Game. Get your Zoom on and gather your team for some virtual competition and fun - from drawing to trivia to charades, there is something for everyone.
- Focus on Experiences. Want to get your team together and share an experience? Check out AirBnB’s experience section and sign up for cooking classes, mixology, or dance lessons together.
- Social thank you. Great bosses often give shoutouts on company social pages, but make sure to recognize multiple employees so there are no hard feelings!
- Thank you video. Is your boss far away from your workers? Create a video from the executives in the organization to play during a team call!
- Paid day off. Who doesn’t enjoy a day off? Especially a PAID day off. It’s basically free money for your employees.
- Shopping vouchers/gift cards. Did someone say shopping? Give gift cards that support local or small businesses where the employee lives.
- Collectors item. New hobby? This could be ongoing fun as you help build a new collection for your employees and continue to add to it throughout the year!
- Sun leave. Gorgeous day out? Encourage your team to leave early to soak up some Vitamin D!
- Wine and paint class. Wine and creativity. Two magical things in life that can produce the best ideas. Get your employees’ creativity flowing outside the office in a park.
- Birthday or Work Anniversary off. Nothing says “Happy Birthday”or “Happy Work Anniversary” like a day off to relax and enjoy the day! Your employees will feel the love with this one for sure!
- Flowers. Let's be honest, everyone feels special when they receive a beautiful arrangement of colorful flowers. Plus, it makes for great desk decor!
- Guest speaker. Inspire and motivate your employees with a guest speaker! Get them pumped up for the next quarter with a little help from an outside perspective.
- Company newsletter. Employee spotlight! Add some shoutouts to your monthly company newsletter to honor those who have put in the extra mile!
- Vision boards. Aspire to do great things with the help of a vision board. Allow time for your employees to sit down with you and create vision boards to hang in the office.
- Meditation hour. Give your employees a chance to center themselves with a break in the middle of the day for some zen.
- Contest. Get your employees excited with a contest. Whether a raffle or a trivia break, they’ll welcome the change of pace!
- Personal desk gifts. A leather folio with their name embossed, a card holder or nameplate, all these things can make a desk feel like the office as employees work from home.
- Personal project. Give time to your team to stop their work projects and work on something they are passionate about. Make sure to be clear about the parameters so they’re not left wondering how much time is too much time.
- Extended break times. How about a long lunch? An early leave time? Any time you can give back to employees is a welcome gift. Allow your employees some flexibility in their schedule.
- Give volunteering hours. Let your employees show their kindness in the community by offering volunteer hours doing a service project at home.
- Kids at home? For busy parents whose kids may be home from daycare or homeschooling, provide some activities to keep the little ones entertained - like small toys, puzzles, art supplies or board games.
- Lottery tickets. Let Lady Luck show your appreciation. Just don’t get mad if one of your coworkers actually WINS!
- Promotion. If an employee is deserving a promotion, what better way to say thank you than to make it official?
- Recognition Company-wide. Keep note of who does a stellar job and say thank you! At Cybergrants, we have an employee peer recognition program we use through the CyberGrants platform called “High Five.” Employees (and managers) can recognize the work of employees which is shared in our weekly internal newsletter. Recipients with the most "High Five's" are recognized at our annual conference award ceremony.
- Meal kits. Are your employees looking for a fast, healthy meal? Send them a limited subscription to Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, or Dinnerly.
- Create healthy habits challenges. Support your remote workers in building healthy habits by setting up weekly or monthly workout or nutrition challenges and award prizes!
- Set up virtual volunteering opportunities. Find skills based volunteer opportunities that the entire team can join.
With these 50 ways to send appreciation and gratitude to your hard working virtual and on-site employees, they will definitely feel the love 💜💜💜. It doesn’t matter the size or price of your token of appreciation, even a simple and genuine acknowledgement will always go further than you think.