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10 Employee Appreciation Ideas Your Staff Will Love

October 24, 2019

The stats are in, so listen up. 

The number one reason employees quit is due to a lack of recognition.

How sad is that? But fear not – something like this is so easily remedied. All you have to do is show staff you appreciate all the fantastic work they do. 

Employee appreciation ideas 

With that in mind, we’ve listed 10 ways you can start acknowledging your staff members to make them feel like a valuable and vital part of your organization. 

1. Celebrate birthdays 

Birthdays are sometimes a tad contentious. Some people prefer not to draw attention to themselves, or they're uncomfortable discussing age (even if a number is never actually mentioned). However, if you think it would be well received, go ahead and celebrate the birthdays of your staff. 

A few ways to make an employee's birthday special are: 

Bring in a cake – it's fun, delicious, and gets the whole office involved. What a great morale boost! 
Allow the employee to take their birthday off without having to use PTO or sick time. Just a free and easygoing day off. 
Have all team members contribute $5 for a gift for the birthday star – movie tickets, a box of chocolates, a new scarf – whatever you know they'd enjoy. 
Decorate the office or the person's cubicle with streamers, balloons, and a personalized birthday card signed by the whole team. 

Birthdays are an excellent opportunity to show the person they’re appreciated. So take the time to think about what your staff would like to receive. Then, actually do it. 

celebrate employee birthdays

2. Take individual interests into account 

Nothing shows staff you care more than tailoring your rewards to reflect the hobbies and interests of each individual team member. What would they really like?

Is there something they don’t have already that they’d actually use? What token gift would bring a smile to their face? When you have the answers to these questions, you're more likely to come up with a knockout idea.

If this is something your planning to do, set yourself a maximum budget. Some tastes and hobbies are more expensive than others. So, be careful not to show favoritism inadvertently. You don’t need us to tell you what a can of worms that would be. 

3. Ask what they want or need  

If you’re unsure what to do to show your staff you appreciate them, or if you want to evaluate your ideas, just go ahead and ask. 

A quick survey will do. There’s a good chance you’ll be surprised at the responses you get. And if you're unsure of the best way to create a survey for your employees, check out top-rated survey software to help you get started. 

See the Easiest-to-Use Survey Software →

Being direct with your staff achieves two things: 

Asking them what they want is in itself a token of appreciation. It shows that you respect their wants and well-being.
You can be confident that when you’re rewarding your team, it actually does the job. You’ll provide value to your staff, which should put a smile on their faces. 

What’s not to love about that?

On a similar note, the age-old suggestions box is also a fabulous idea. This allows employees to make their suggestions and feelings known anonymously -- that way, you’re more likely to get a better gauge of your team’s genuine thoughts and feelings.

It’s a straightforward, yet cheap way for you to prompt staff to say things they might otherwise feel uncomfortable communicating. When appropriate suggestions are made, be sure to discuss them with your office before implementing them. 

4. Publicly acknowledge their success

Take things up a notch. Go one step further than providing traditional in-house praise. If the employee is comfortable with it, let your customers and online following know by posting on social media. Take a photo and explain what they did to earn this recognition, and why you appreciate what they did for the company. 

Again, this serves a two-fold benefit:

  1. The employee feels acknowledged, which boosts morale and enforces the benefit of having a strong work ethic.
  2. Customers feel more comfortable supporting brands that are ethical. This extends further than just sustainability and selling fair trade goodies – which are both super important. However, these days, consumers want to know your in-house workers are treated fairly and with respect. Needless to say, this is a surefire way to achieve that. 

This stuff really works. As many as a whopping 82 percent of employees say it’s better to give someone praise than to receive a gift. 

acknowledge your staff

5. Give thank-you notes – they're not outdated 

In this digital age, a handwritten thank you note might sound archaic. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, it’s because we’re living in such a digitized age that a physical thank you note really packs a punch. 

You’re literally laying it for your staff in black and white that you appreciate them; that’s powerful stuff. You can decide on the style of note you give, depending on what your employees have done and their personality types. 

Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling: a simple post-it note, an actual thank-you card, or a printed certificate.

Just leave it on their desk, slip it in their locker, or send it to their home address. There’s no way they’ll expect it, so it's sure to make the gesture all the more meaningful!

6. Provide them with random treats 

Have you noticed a general dip in morale?  Perhaps the market for your industry is a tad volatile at the moment? Maybe the weather is just...bleh

Either way, you can quickly show staff you appreciate them plowing through adversity by gifting them with random treats. After all, perseverance should always be rewarded. 

This could be something as small as bringing in cupcakes or ordering pizza for the office. Perhaps if your office schedule (and budget) allows for it, treat your workers to a fun staff away-day -- maybe a theme park, museum, or other group activity?

You know your employees best, so think about what they’d like to do and go for it – budget permitting, of course. 

7. Don't overlook non-work achievements 

Do you have anyone in your team who's doing something amazing in their own time? By this, we mean things like volunteering, creating, participating in local sports competitions -- you name it.

What is your staff getting up to outside of the office? If you have an employee who has achieved something non-work related, why not show them some recognition?

Not only does this acknowledge the achievement, but it also communicates to the rest of your team that you encourage a healthy work-life balance. Needless to say, this is vital for your staff’s overall well-being. 

8. Make it easy for staff to volunteer  

On a similar note, you'll want to encourage civic-mindedness in your employees. So if and when the opportunity presents itself, make it easy for your staff to help others. There are a ton of things you can do inside of the office that shouldn’t distract employees too much from their work.

For instance, at Christmas, you could encourage staff to bring shoeboxes full of presents for an initiative like Operation Christmas Child. You could have a charity pot where employees can donate their spare change. The office could start a food drive for a women and children's shelter. You could also offer internships to local schools for a couple of days to allow them to gain work experience, or host a Macmillan coffee morning.

Your employees will appreciate that you provide them with the opportunity to do something good. Plus, you can tell your customers via social media and your website that you’re positively impacting the community and the broader world around you.

TIP: Learn more about implementing a VTO, or volunteer time off program at your company. Rewarding employees for volunteering is one thing. Letting them do it on company time is another. Read all about the benefits of VTO and how it can be used for your employees, then check out the top-rated corporate volunteering software on the market to help you get started!  

Find the best Corporate Volunteering software on the market. Explore Now, Free →

9. Encourage professional development 

This is something that’s often overlooked by managers, but it’s imperative. When you show you’re willing to invest time and money into the continual education of your staff, you inadvertently communicate that their job role is essential to the company and that it’s worth nurturing. 

If you’re unsure how to encourage continual professional development in your office, here are a few ideas:

  • Host educational events 
  • Allow staff to attend educational conferences (maybe a cap of 3 per year) 
  • Create in-house educational materials and distribute them to your staff 

These are just the tip of the iceberg; there are tons of ways you can encourage further education in your office -- but for now, you get the idea.

Don’t forget to reward your team’s drive to succeed, this shouldn’t go unrecognized.

10. Support staff with taxes 

Taxes. Nobody looks forward to them, but we can't avoid them, either. We all know how complicated tax regulations can be.

So, before you’re tempted to award your staff with a monetary bonus or promotion, talk to your accounts team. See how you can reward your staff without decimating their regular paychecks. 

Conclusion

Employee appreciation is a vital piece in reducing employee turnover, and easy and cheap to implement in every work day, week, and month. Implement some or all of these 10 employee appreciation ideas to start noticing a difference in staff morale and satisfaction.

Start listening to what your staff needs for better employee satisfaction. Using enterprise feedback management software can help you do this with ease. Find the right solution for your team's needs, only on G2. 

See the Highest-Rated Enterprise Feedback Management Software, Free →

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