7 fun ways to show employee appreciation


In honor of National Staffing Employee Week, I thought it’d be fun to look at some creative ways to show employee appreciation. And, apparently, American workers need more kudos.

According to a Gallup analysis in 2018, only 1 in 3 U.S. workers strongly agreed they have received recognition or praise for doing good work in the last seven days. Appreciation, like food and water for lots of us, is a fundamental human need. We need to feel like our work is valued by others to realize career success.

Naturally, to find some unique recognition ideas, I went straight to Google. Here is what I found. But, keep in mind, this is by no means a complete list.

  1. Let employees give and receive ‘props.’ A great way to foster a culture of appreciation throughout your company is to give employees the opportunity to recognize each other. For example, we have a “Team Shoutouts” box where you can drop in a little note about something another employee did that was outstanding. Then, in our weekly meeting, these people get to spin our prize wheel for things like: leaving early, one-month gym membership, car wash, etc.
  2. The gift that keeps on giving. Opportunities for personal and/or professional development can not only provide growth but also show that you care. By rewarding employees through skill expansion, they gain knowledge and your business gets a boost from them putting that knowledge to work. Send them to a business seminar or to training classes related to their job.
  3. Get crafty. A token of appreciation doesn’t have to be pricey. Hit the Pinterest boards and you’ll find all kinds of cute ways to say thank you by searing for “employee appreciation.” My favorite is: “You are so Flippin’ Awesome” along with a bag of Flips Chocolate Covered Pretzels.
  4. Work hard, play hard. You know the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It can also make Jack a stressed-out boy. Give employees a fun outlet like board games in the break room or a foosball table. It’s a great way for employees to take a break, blow off some steam and have fun at the same time.
  5. Bend without breaking the bank. Flexibility with employees doesn’t cost you anything. And rewards them in one of the best ways possible: time. Allowing them to have a flexible schedule or work-from-home – even if it’s just one day a week – helps tremendously with work-life balance and makes people happy (speaking from experience). It can even increase productivity.
  6. Traveling trophy. Find a fun trophy, stuffed animal, or figurine that you can pass around the office. Give it to an employee who has exemplified one of your company’s values and let them display it on their desk for a week or month. When their time is up, let that employee hand it off to one of their peers who has done the same. Rinse and repeat.
  7. Keep it simple. Sometimes, the best way to show gratitude is to simply say thank you. Whether it’s public or private recognition, it goes a long way. Do it in person for a personal touch or via a hand-written note. It’s old fashioned, but it leaves a lasting impression.

Now that you’re armed with some starter ideas, it’s your turn! Use this list to get your creative juices flowing on how your company can adopt more employee appreciation/recognition tactics. It can have a positive impact on your staff, such as increased productivity and employee satisfaction.

About the author
Brooke Hathaway serves as marketing communications manager for Synergis and has 15+ years of experience in marketing. In this role, she is responsible for content creation, marketing automation, social media, public relations, website content and event management. Brooke earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in journalism. In her spare time, she enjoys running, listening to true crime podcasts, watching her kids play sports and spending time with family.