When it comes to increasing productivity and improving workplace morale, showing employee appreciation goes a long way.
In fact, Workhuman® research found that employees are more than 2x as likely to feel appreciated and highly engaged if they were thanked for their work within the last month.
If you’re looking for creative ways to show your employees you appreciate them, you’ve come to the right place. Here is your guide to showing appreciation in the workplace.
25 best employee appreciation ideas to try in 2023
Create an employee recognition program
A comprehensive employee recognition program ensures that all your team members get the appreciation they deserve.
In-office and remote employees can easily recognize each other in the moment and share in celebrations of major personal or professional milestones across an organization.
Thank-you notes using our favorite employee appreciation quotes
A thank-you note featuring inspirational employee quotes is a tiny yet meaningful gesture that will brighten anyone’s day.
- We are constantly impressed by your dedication and hard work for the success of this company. Thank you for being you!
- Continual learning, persistence, and having a positive outlook play the most pivotal part in nurturing the organization. You consistently embody these traits and the whole team thanks you for it!
Along with a specific message from you or a team, consider using a recognition quote from a notable figure to help express your meaning. Here’s just a few suggestions to get you started:
- “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” – Arianna Huffington
- “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
Enable team members to give each other “props”
Team members appreciate receiving recognition from their peers just as much as they do from team leaders.
Our Social Recognition® platform provides an easy way for peers and management to recognize team members’ efforts and add their appreciation to recognition colleagues have received.
Employees not only receive encouraging messages but also earn rewards points they can exchange for merchandise.
Making time for shoutouts in team meetings is another great way to directly engage employees in their project while sharing words of affirmation.
Even if you have a recognition platform, take time to thank your employees face-to-face or on a video call for remote workers.
Post appreciation messages on social media
Social media plays a significant role in our lives, making it just as exciting to receive positive recognition online as in real life.
Showing appreciation with a social media post on the company’s feed can boost an employee’s self-esteem, and it’s also a great way to connect with your employees and showcase their work to your social media audience.
Including an employee’s photo in the post is always a nice touch, as long as you have permission to do so.
Encourage employee feedback
Encouraging employee feedback shows that you value their ideas and concerns. There are several ways to collect feedback, including team member surveys.
For a more direct approach, though, use a feedback tool that allows your staff to both ask for and receive feedback from their peers.
Using a tool like Conversations® allows you to develop a culture of continuous feedback, as feedback can be requested and received by anyone at any time.
Plus, managers can use it to gather employee input, offering a more holistic view of their employees.
Touch base during the workday
Starting the day by greeting your employees with a cheery “Good morning!” can go a long way in setting a positive tone for the rest of the workday.
Keep the positive vibes going by touching base throughout the day. You can ask them how their lunch break went or if they have any big plans for the weekend.
When we stay in touch with our team members, it keeps everyone in the loop.
Create department specific awards
Create a system that recognizes exceptional performance across different areas of the business. Keep in mind, this should be in addition to more broad employee recognition strategies.
Consider a Sales Leadership Club in which sales employees who reach their quota can be inducted into. Or a yearly trophy that goes to the recruiter who brought on the most new employees. After all, we could all use a tangible reminder that our work is appreciated.
Create a “Wall of Fame”
Dedicate a wall in the workplace to celebrating your team members. You could make it performance-based, such as top sales rep, employee of the month, or when they hit career milestones.
Or, you could keep it lighthearted and include things like candid photos from company events, important life events like the birth of a new baby, or other non-workplace achievements.
You could even get a caricature artist to make funny drawings of everyone. We’ve found that creating a “Wall of Fame” helps everyone get to know each other in addition to feeling appreciated.
Spruce up the break room
We all need a dedicated space where we can enjoy some downtime, which is why a break room is essential to helping everyone stay balanced during the workday.
However, if your break room is dull and dingy, it might make the day more stressful or depressing instead of serving as a place to relax.
Consider painting your break room a cheerful color and ensuring that all appliances are clean and working.
Sprucing up the break room will show your team members that you value their downtime and give them a pleasant surprise.
Host company events
Hosting an event is an excellent way to show staff appreciation while allowing your employees to socialize and get to know each other outside the workplace.
Consider hosting an event that employees can bring their families to, such as a summer picnic. Your team members can bond over food and games while still spending time with their loved ones.
Later in the year, you can host a more formal dinner party for team members and their significant others.
A formal event gives your team members the chance to get dressed up and is an ideal venue for recognizing company milestones and employee achievements.
Celebrate employee birthdays
Taking time out of the workday to celebrate an employee’s birthday is a meaningful and personal way to show your appreciation.
Plus, we could all use some cake and ice cream every now and then. A small birthday celebration can be the perfect workday pick-me-up!
Birthdays aren’t the only significant life events you can celebrate to show staff appreciation.
The day a team member joins the company is also worth commemorating, especially if they’ve been with the company for several years.
However, you don’t have to wait for an entire year to pass to celebrate an employee. If a newer team member is demonstrating exceptional performance, consider celebrating the one-month, three-month, or six-month anniversary of their joining the company.
Remember, recognizing a work anniversary doesn’t have to be elaborate. You can make a small speech honoring the employee and present them with a gift card.
They’ll be honored that you remember the day they joined the company.
Commemorate important personal milestones
Commemorating significant life events like getting married, having a baby, or buying a house is a great way to show your team members that you care about them as an entire person, not just an employee.
Our Life Events® tool makes it easy to celebrate these milestones by sharing them online so co-workers can offer their congratulations.
When everyone can participate, it creates a greater sense of connection and belonging.
Acknowledge non-workplace achievements
Maybe you have an employee who’s receiving an award for volunteer activities or a team member who’s just landed the starring role in a community theater production.
Recognizing these non-workplace achievements can provide a morale boost. Plus, some of us like to share what’s going on in the workplace, but we might not want to brag about ourselves.
Promote employee wellness
You can host several activities in the workplace that promote employee wellness. These include on-site chair massages, dance classes, and yoga sessions.
Cooking classes, stress management sessions, and art therapy sessions are also great ways to show you care about your team members’ well-being.
If you decide to plan a wellness session, survey your employees to see which activity they would most enjoy.
Check up on employees who are absent
At some point, we all end up missing some days of work, whether it’s due to illness, giving birth, or losing a loved one.
Checking up on team members who are absent lets them know you care about them as a person, not just as an employee, and it shows that you understand their situation.
In addition to sending your congratulations on a new baby or expressing your sympathies for a loss, you may want to send flowers or a card signed by the entire team.
Suppose you have team members working extra hours or even on the weekends to complete a significant project.
One way to show that you appreciate them working overtime is to let them come in later the next day or maybe give them a day off during the week. Giving employees flexibility also reduces burnout.
Create an employee emergency fund
Emergencies happen, even when we do our best to be careful and conscientious. Maybe there’s an illness in the family, a house fire, or other tragic events that require extra resources.
Consider setting up an emergency fund for team members who need assistance.
You can allow employees to contribute to the fund if they want to, showing your team member in need that you all care.
Make a donation
If your employees support an organization or cause, making a donation in their name is an excellent way to show that you’re interested in something they care about.
Charitable donations are also good for enhancing your company’s reputation.
Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day
When’s a better time to show employee appreciation than on National Employee Appreciation Day? Go above and beyond on Employee Appreciation Day and plan something special for the whole team.
One of the best Employee Appreciation Day ideas is planning a group outing. If your team is remote, see if you can fly them in and take your team out for something fun like a wine tasting or team bowling. This is a great way to show appreciation and reward employees on their special day.
By celebrating Employee Appreciation Day at your company, you can celebrate everyone and give them something to look forward to each year.
Treat your employees to lunch
Treating your employees to lunch now and then is a great way to bring the team together and get to know them on a more personal level.
You can mix it up by taking small groups to a restaurant or ordering pizzas for the entire team. Bringing in local food trucks is another excellent idea, especially if you can provide coupons to cover the cost of lunch.
Remember, you can structure lunch time to suit your workplace needs. For example, lunch at a restaurant is a great way to treat team members who need some individual attention, while a pizza party is excellent for team bonding and building employee engagement.
Host a happy hour
Who doesn’t love happy hour? Hosting a happy hour is another way to show employee appreciation while giving team members a chance to relax, mingle, and form bonds.
Ensure that nonalcoholic beverages are available and that staff members know they aren’t obligated to attend if they feel uncomfortable.
You don’t need a specific reason to show staff appreciation. Bringing donuts to work one morning or passing out candy for an afternoon pick-me-up are excellent ways to surprise your team members, and everyone will enjoy an unexpected treat.
Go for a walk
While we really enjoy our work, we need a break from sitting at desks and conference tables all day. Inviting your team members to go outside for a walk is a great way to bond.
Plus, a change of scenery can foster creativity and provide much-needed energy.
Say “thank you”
Life can get pretty hectic, especially in the workplace, and we sometimes forget to say “thank you” when an employee does a good job.
A simple “thank you” shows your employees that you don’t take them for granted. It can immediately lift a person’s spirits and encourage employees to keep up the excellent work.
Employee appreciation is important because it lets your team members know they and their contributions are valued.
It encourages them to continue doing great work and gives them a sense of security, which can lead to less stress and greater confidence in the workplace.
Hand-written thank-you notes, encouraging employee feedback, and posting messages on social media are excellent ways to show employee appreciation without spending money.
You can also give random shout-outs throughout the day and remember to say thank you whenever you get the opportunity.
If you want to show all of your employees that you appreciate them as a group, you can give a small speech at the start of the workday.
An office pizza party, after-work happy hour, or a special outing are other ways to thank your entire team.
If you work with a remote team, you can show your appreciation by sending thank-you emails and care packages containing snacks, company swag, and any office supplies they might need.
You can also host virtual games nights or treat them to lunch via delivery.
As you can see, there are several creative ways to show employee appreciation.
Remember, letting your employees know how valuable they are doesn’t just benefit them; it also benefits the entire company.
Contact us today for even more employee appreciation ideas and workplace solutions.