50 Employee Appreciation Ideas That Work

50 Employee Appreciation Ideas That Work

What is employee appreciation?

Employee appreciation is recognizing and acknowledging employees' hard work and contributions in the workplace. It is a way to show gratitude and respect for employees and their efforts. Employee appreciation can take many forms. In this article, I will review the benefits of employee appreciation and employee appreciation ideas that work.

How does the business benefit from employee appreciation?

According to Forbes, employees who feel valued by their employer will be more motivated. Taking steps to recognize employee contributions and make them feel valued is important for productivity and retention. Small employee appreciation gestures can go a long way toward showing employees that their efforts do not go unnoticed.

In addition, According to Springworks, employee recognition has been shown to increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention. 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized. Therefore, companies must prioritize employee appreciation and recognition to create a positive and productive workplace culture.


50 Employee Appreciation Ideas That Work

  1. Start a suggestion box for employees to drop in fun team activities and workplace ideas: This allows employees to feel heard and valued and can lead to a more positive and engaging workplace culture.
  2. Reward employees with experiences, such as a day trip or team-building activities: According to Terrybee, Experiential rewards are more effective on employee appreciation than monetary rewards in increasing employee motivation and engagement.
  3. Implement an awards system that speaks specifically to each employee's unique contributions: Personalized recognition is more effective than generic recognition in increasing employee engagement and motivation.
  4. Host a party to celebrate a team or individual achievement: Celebrating achievements can boost morale and create a sense of camaraderie among team members.
  5. Offer wellness programs, such as yoga classes or gym memberships: Wellness programs can improve employee health and well-being, increasing productivity and engagement.
  6. Provide healthy snacks and drinks in the office: Showing employee appreciation by providing healthy snacks and drinks can improve employee health and well-being, increasing productivity and engagement.
  7. Host a company-wide volunteer day: Showing employee appreciation by allowing them to volunteer can improve employee morale and create a sense of purpose and community within the workplace.
  8. Provide opportunities for team members to give back to the community: Giving back to the community can improve employee morale and create a sense of purpose and community within the workplace.
  9. Offer a sabbatical program for long-term employees: Sabbaticals can improve employee retention and engagement by giving employees a break from work to pursue personal or professional development.
  10. Provide opportunities for employees to attend conferences or industry events: Attending conferences or industry events can improve employee knowledge and skills, increasing productivity and engagement.
  11. Provide opportunities for employees to work on passion projects: Show employee appreciation by allowing employees to work on passion projects can improve employee engagement and satisfaction by allowing them to pursue meaningful work.
  12. Provide opportunities for employees to attend networking events: Attending networking events can improve employee knowledge and skills, leading to increased productivity and engagement.
  13. Offer a tuition reimbursement program for employees pursuing higher education: Tuition reimbursement programs can improve employee retention and engagement by showing employees that their employer is invested in their growth and development.
  14. Handwritten thank you notes: Personalized notes showing gratitude for individual contributions mean a lot. Notes can acknowledge specific achievements. The personal touch of a written note means more than a generic email. Notes acknowledge individual efforts, boosting morale and motivation. Receiving recognition on paper is also more memorable in the long term.
  15. On-the-spot recognition: Catch employees doing things right and acknowledge them immediately via a quick thank you. This reinforces positive behaviors. It also increases accountability, as peers see positive actions rewarded promptly. This helps shape company culture.
  16. Employee of the Month: Public recognition with photos in a common area allows peers to applaud each other's successes. Being in the literal spotlight incentivizes high performance. This way of employee appreciation engages friendly competition to drive higher quality work.
  17. Peer-to-peer awards: Colleagues know each other's contributions best. This employee appreciation improves teamwork and problem-solving, as employees support one another's success.
  18. Paid time off: Time away from the office prevents fatigue, resulting in recharged employees who stay engaged long-term. This employee appreciation shows that wellness is prioritized, enhancing loyalty and commitment.
  19. Coffee/lunch vouchers: Simple treats allow employees to unwind with colleagues. This employee appreciation enables social interactions, improving culture and connections between teams.
  20. Informal celebrations: Mark project milestones or employee anniversaries with low-key gatherings. Food, cake, and praise foster engagement during naturally occurring events.
  21. Recognition on company intranet/newsletter: Share award nominees and announce winners company-wide to generate buzz and spotlight top talent. Publicizing top performers company-wide boosts morale for winners while motivating others.
  22. Career development opportunities: Sponsoring a course, conference, or other skills training shows commitment to employees' long-term growth. This employee appreciation idea also increases loyalty as workers see an opportunity to advance their careers within the organization.
  23. Service anniversary gifts: Tokens like a photo frame, laptop bag, or picnic basket for milestone work anniversaries are meaningful and useful. Employee appreciation for the length of service fosters loyalty and retention.
  24. Spot bonuses: Cash rewards distributed at the manager's discretion motivate exceptional effort or performance above standard duties. Employee appreciation through flexible awards encourages innovation and going above and beyond.
  25. Community engagement: Sponsor an employee volunteer day, blood drive, or other cause-related activity that fosters teamwork and giving back. Giving back also positively boosts company culture and brand as a socially responsible organization.
  26. Contests and incentives: Friendly competitions around goals stimulate high performance motivated by rewards. This employee appreciation encourages collaboration, risk-taking, and new ideas to accomplish challenges.
  27. Thank you client cards: Surveying top customers to identify stars and delivering personal appreciative notes from leadership. Frontline employee efforts feel valued by clients, too.
  28. Flexible scheduling: Showing employee appreciation by allowing some remote days, adjusted start/end times or floating holidays empowers work-life integration.
  29. Staff social events: Host casual gatherings like holiday parties, BBQs, or game nights to foster community beyond work. Casual gatherings outside work help team members bond on a personal level. Stronger relationships carry over to increase collaboration and loyalty in the workplace.
  30. Parking perks: Reserved parking spots are a small gesture that shows employee appreciation.
  31. Wellness programs: Offer discounted memberships, classes, or on-site activities to support mental/physical health. Supporting physical/mental health keeps staff engaged, productive, and happy long-term. It also lowers healthcare costs through prevention.
  32. Mentorship opportunities: Pair new hires with experienced peers to aid professional and personal growth through guidance. Pairing experience and guidance aid the development and integration of new hires. This employee appreciation idea also incentivizes senior employees to share knowledge through leadership opportunities.
  33. Tuition reimbursement: Funding continuing education benefits both employees and the organization. Investing in continual learning rewards commitment while developing a more skilled workforce over time. Employees gain new skills and career mobility through expanded qualifications as well.
  34. Nomination for external awards: Put forward top performers for awards that boost recognition, resumes, and referral value to show employee appreciation. Public accolades raise the profile and reputations of top talent, acting as a powerful retention tool. It also enhances the company's image and standing within the industry.
  35. Spotlight Stories: Feature employees' backgrounds, passions, and interests to humanize the workplace through profiles to show employee appreciation.
  36. Service gifts: Commemorate tenure with useful gadgets like a nice pen, travel mug, or notebook. Employee appreciation gifts acknowledging dedication to the company validate commitment and years of contributions meaningfully.
  37. Bring Your Own (BYO) lunch days: Allow casual dress and bring your meals to encourage relaxation and connections.
  38. Thank you cards for the family: Employee appreciation gestures extending appreciation to supportive spouses, partners, etc., reinforce work-life understanding.
  39. Recognition wall/display: Dedicate a central space to honor achievements, awards, certifications, and other employee accomplishments. Publicly displaying accomplishments fosters pride and motivation by rewarding achievements visibly. It celebrates the contributions of all and shows employee appreciation.
  40. Appreciation swag: Promotional items like water bottles, hats, or hoodies branded with the company logo allow employees to showcase pride. Branded gear allows employees to feel pride for their employer outside of work. Displaying logos grows brand awareness and advocacy.
  41. Thank you vendor lunches: Treat support staff from outside companies like cleaning crews or maintenance partners. Including support workers promotes positive vendor relationships and show external partners they are also valued.
  42. Spotlight departments: Highlight team efforts through profiles that dive into unique roles and ongoing projects. Highlighting unique team roles and projects sparks interest and connection across divisions. It fosters understanding and respect for other areas' importance.
  43. Community board: Share information on employee hobbies, causes, and other interests to connect colleagues better. Sharing personal lives fosters rapport by recognizing staff as whole individuals rather than just workers. Strong bonds aid collaboration and problem-solving and show employee appreciation.
  44. Summer/winter hours: Seasonally adjust schedules to offer more daylight hours for activities after work. Flexibility boosts goodwill by acknowledging seasonal needs and privileges like more daylight hours. It enhances work-life satisfaction.
  45. Casual dress days - Periodically relaxing the dress code improves mood and flexibility. Periodically relaxing attire creates a happier atmosphere and a sense of autonomy, boosting morale and engagement.
  46. Book/subscription clubs: Sponsor groups to discuss selected titles, fueling continuous learning. Sponsoring continued learning groups sparks enriching discussions and skills growth and fosters social bonds outside work.
  47. Office games: Set up casual ping pong, foosball, or puzzle areas to energize breaks. Providing interactive diversions energizes employees and engenders informal relationships that smooth team dynamics.
  48. Gratitude journals: Providing notebooks for employees to record appreciation fosters positivity. Tracking and sharing appreciation contributes to a more positive recognition and psychological safety culture.
  49. Spot rewards: Maintain a prize box with small gifts like gift cards, novelty items, or treats. Allow staff to periodically "spot reward" each other for a job well done with anonymous notes of appreciation attached.
  50. Allow Employees to Participate in Decision Making: Involving employees in relevant decisions acknowledges their contributions and makes them feel appreciated as critical partners in the company's progress. This builds high morale, engagement, and productivity over the long run.


Implementing frequent and varied employee appreciation strategies is important for boosting organizational morale, motivation, and retention. While specific ideas may differ based on company culture and budget, the overarching goals remain the same - to acknowledge individual and group contributions on an ongoing basis genuinely.

Logical Zivurawa
This article was written by Logical a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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