Every successful company is powered by the hard work, dedication and commitment of its employees. Therefore, employees are a company’s backbone and greatest asset. When employees feel overworked and underappreciated, resentment and low morale can set in and both productivity and your company’s bottom line will ultimately suffer. On the flip side, communicated recognition and appreciation of your employees’ contributions and achievements along the way will nurture an attitude of gratitude and create a workplace environment where trust, high morale and motivation can thrive. 

As the competitive quest to attract and retain top talent in today’s workplace intensifies, companies are offering new work perks and designing flexible workspaces with desirable amenity offerings. Yet, the most subtle and low-cost strategy that has profound long-term benefits may be overlooked- and that is employee recognition. In honor of National Employee Appreciation Day, we’d love to share some key steps you can take right now to show your employees just how much they mean to you. Read on!

LOW COST AND LONG TERM BENEFITS

A Gallup survey discovered that implementing employee recognition is of low-cost to employers but has a highly rewarding impact on your business. By fostering workplace appreciation, employers will give their employees a sense of value and accomplishment, organically boost employee engagement, improve their company’s culture, increase productivity and loyalty, resulting in higher retention rates. A versatile, authentic approach will have the greatest impact. 

EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION IDEAS TO TRY

Try some of these ideas to spread a little light and love in your office. We guarantee, smiles and reinvigorated enthusiasm are right around the corner!

    1. Write A Thank You Note – Most employees are used to receiving all electronic communication these days. Taking the time to write a heartfelt, handwritten thank you note for a job well done is a more intentional and memorable gesture that will touch them more than a quick email sent in passing. Don’t be surprised if they save it!
    2. Plan a Team Effort Celebration – If your team successfully came together and crushed a company goal, reward them with a fun office lunch, pizza party, happy hour or themed celebration. It will promote team bonding and ignite motivation even further. 
    3. Gift Your Employees an Extended Lunch Break– Similarly, if an employee has recently done a stellar job, why not increase their lunch period for a day? Giving them twice the time they would normally get for lunch is a gift in that maybe they can take that afternoon workout class they always wanted to try, or meet a friend for lunch – they will come back refreshed, re-energized and will give them the motivation to maintain that continued work ethic. 
    4. Stage a Compliment – Call out the small accomplishments whether in a team meeting, an email or in another creative way. Taking the personal approach and complimenting your accomplished employee’s efforts in person is even more profound. Face to face contact is so much more personal and it can be a lovely gesture to take a moment to single them out for their hard work.
    5. Create An Employee Hall of Fame – You can start a hall of fame of employees who have exceeded expectations with company photos. Similarly, you can implement an employee of the month program, and allow employees to nominate their colleagues to instill continued motivation and optimism. 
    6. Give Gift Cards – Gift cards are a great way to say thank you to employees and they don’t have to be expensive. Give a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop – who doesn’t enjoy a latte or brewed iced tea not to mention a nice excuse for an office break? Or giving a gift card to large stock retailers that most people use, like Amazon, will make someone’s day. 
    7. Bring in a Manicurist or Masseuse – treat your employees for their hard work by helping them to relax for a day. Feeling a bit pampered will help them destress and increase their productivity. 
    8. Take A Survey – Create an anonymous survey to find out how your employees currently feel with the company culture and what your employees would like to improve in your workplace. Implementing the prevalent idea(s) will help boost morale, as employees will feel heard and that their opinions matter.
    9. Ask Your Employees – Similarly, ask your employees how THEY like to celebrate and how they like to be thanked. This helps put things into perspective for appropriate planning and creating the most positive impact on your employees. 
    10. Be Flexible – Employees who have been working hard and are putting in long hours appreciate flexibility. Giving them permission to work from home occasionally, or having more flexible hours such as starting work late on a given day or being able to leave earlier on another, can go a long way in making them feel taken care of and prevent burnout. 
    11. Give a Social Media Shoutout – Utilize social media to highlight the great work that is being done by your employees. In this digital age where we all virtually connect, using social media to show appreciation will make your employees feel valued and your followers will see that you value your team. Don’t forget to tag #EmployeeAppreciationDay.
    12. Stock a Variety of Snacks – Be sure to stock the office with a variety of snacks and treats that your employees like and feel fulfilled by. Remember, it’s hard to be happy, productive and focused when you are hungry and have low-energy. 
    13. Surprise With Impromptu Office Treats – Do you have a local artisan bakery or ice cream shop your employees love? It can be nice to offer tasty treats that employees can indulge in from time to time and look forward to. 
    14. Celebrate Milestones – It’s always special to acknowledge milestones, both big and small in a team setting. Celebrate birthdays (you can create a calendar so you don’t forget) and can bring in cupcakes, cookies or other celebratory treats to share with the whole team. Big employee milestones such as the birth of a child are also important to be recognized and celebrated. 
    15. Throw An End of the Year or Quarterly Party – Other than the popular annual holiday company parties, it can be nice to come together as a team to celebrate accomplishing your company’s quarterly goals if they were significant or an end of the financial year celebration to say thank you to everyone who helped keep your business profitable.
    16. Implement Fun Team Activities – Treat everyone out to a fun company activity like bowling, laser tag, or karaoke or play interactive board games as a team. Another creative idea is to plan a company potluck. It will help your team unwind, bond and nurture greater camaraderie. 
    17. Create Appreciation Gift Bags – Find out what your employees are interested in outside of work and customize your appreciation gift accordingly. You can get creative with small trinkets or candy you think your employees might like.
    18. Add Your Employees To Your Website –  Adding employees to your website will make them feel special and acknowledged as a core part of your team. It’s important for employees to feel like they are part of the bigger picture. 
    19. Invest In Your Employees’ Development – Find out what roles your employees would like to pursue within your organization and give them support to help them achieve their goals. Perhaps you can recommend and/or fund a course to assist in their development. Or you can incorporate an employee mentoring program to guide junior employees and to enable senior employees to improve communication and training skills.
    20. Foster Educational Initiatives – Show your employees that you appreciate them trying to better themselves through education, by allowing time off to attend seminars and events. A better-equipped workforce enables you to promote from within.
    21. Treat New Employees – Take new employees out to lunch on their first day (or more often, if the budget allows) and initiate ice breakers with the rest of the team so they feel welcome.
    22. Offer Commuting Discounts – You can help to relieve the burden of an expensive commute by providing perks like a discount on parking garage passes or bus and train tickets.
    23. Summer Friday’s & Holiday Weekends – Consider implementing summer Fridays at your office with reduced work hours on those days. Another option is to allow your employees to leave early on the day before a holiday weekend. It’s a simple way to make their day (and weekend) better!
    24. Arrange a Bring Your Pet To Work Day -If your office has a love for animals, your employees will certainly appreciate the gesture of planning a day in which they are allowed to bring their furry companions along.

Remember, most employees are goal-driven people and are eager to succeed. Receiving a heartfelt thank you, appreciative gesture or award motivates them to reach for even higher goals, which can thereby only benefit any business or organization to which they are a part of. By honoring your employees’ hard work and successful efforts with appreciation, you will produce a happier, more motivated workforce, maximize your company’s profits and retain the best employees. That’s a guaranteed win-win.

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