20 Employee Appreciation Ideas for 2021

by Sarah Niderost, 3 minutes read
HOME blog employee appreciation ideas

Managing a team is no easy task. As a manager, you’re scheduling staff, reviewing payroll, and making sure your employees are doing their best. Research shows that employees are performing better and are happy at work when they feel appreciated.

And there’s more. Job satisfaction, retention, and employee morale are also linked to employee appreciation.

So how can you effectively express your appreciation to your team? Read on to learn new ways to show your gratitude.

1. Survey your staff

Ask your team what they’d like to see from you when they accomplish a professional or company-wide goal.

2. Treat them on their birthday

Arrange a small celebration or order gift for your employee’s special day. You can also order a whole cake or a dozen sweet treats to share with the rest of your team.

3. Stock the break room with snacks

Grab bagels, muffins, and coffee, and chips and leave them in the break room for your team. Because who doesn’t love an unexpected surprise?

4. Celebrate every success

Whether your employee hit a sales goal, sold their 100th latte, or learned a new skill, celebrate their little and big wins to show your appreciation.

5. Don’t miss their anniversaries

Studies show that many employees likely leave their job after a year at their current role. Want to keep them? Build a culture of celebration when it comes to milestones and work anniversaries. Whether you share the update in a standup before opening or you give a shoutout over your newsfeed, make your team feel special for working at your establishment.

6. Send them company swag

If you’ve just employed new hires, send them a small package of company memorabilia to thank them for joining the team. It’ll make them excited for their first week of work with their new team.

7. Take them to lunch

Find a day to take your team out for a nice meal every month. If you can’t find a day when everyone is available, allow them to take a longer lunch.

8. Help with their commute

Offer benefits for those who make the commitment to take multiple busses, trains, or drive a long distance to work.

9. Encourage cheers from their peers

Use your central form of communication to publicly acknowledge your employees for their hard work. This gives the opportunity for their coworkers to show some gratitude too.

10. Go social

If your business has social media accounts, and your employee is comfortable with it, post a photo of them and talk about all the great work they’re contributing.

11. Write a “thank you” note

Though this seems like a low-effort way to show your appreciation, it’s your thought that really matters to your staff.

12. Create a staff appreciation holiday

You can give your team the day off to celebrate as well.

13. Have an offsite

Treat your staff to a day out of the office together to bond, and take a nice break from their work.

14. Treat them to a fun company activity

Plan some team bonding exercises and take them rock climbing or host a company barbeque. If you’re working remotely, enjoy a virtual cooking class or virtual bingo for team bonding in the comfort of team members’ homes.

15. Let them pursue a passion project

Working on a project your staff member is passionate about gives them something to look forward to at work. It also allows them to get really creative, and to feel proud of once they complete it.

16. Hand out fun awards

Recognize employees’ non-work contributions to your whole team. You can issue awards like, “HR Hero,” “Best Communicator on Slack,” and “Never Late Champion.”

17. Thank them in your newsletter

Create an email newsletter that’s dedicated to staff appreciation, and distribute it company-wide. This could be a monthly or quarterly newsletter, depending on the size of your team, and how big your company is.

18. Give them a gift card

Give your employees a gift card they’ll love. If you notice that they always come in with a cup of coffee or tea, get them a gift card to a local cafe. If they have a sweet tooth, give them a gift card from a bakery or candy shop.

19. Have a wall of fame

Not only are employee hall of fames fun to look at, but they’re also a fun way to highlight all the hard work your team is doing.

20. Say “thank you”

Dedicate time in your next 1:1 with your employees to tell them you appreciate them. A genuine “thank you” is the most valued kinds of gratitude.

Share your gratitude

Support your team with the recognition they deserve. Find out other ways to support your staff by signing up for a free trial of Deputy.

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