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5 Unique Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

employee appreciation ideas
  • When it comes to employee appreciation, the statistics are contradictory. For example, Gallup polls have found that 99 out of 100 people would like a more positive work environment. However, these polls also show that 65 percent of people say they have received no recognition for good work in the last year. Why such a disconnect?

From a company standpoint, the research is clear that happier employees impacts the bottom line. In fact, happiness has been shown to raise:

  • Sales by 37 percent
  • Productivity by 31 percent
  • Accuracy on tasks by 19 percent

Once again, we have to ask—why is there such a disconnect between what employees want (and what is good for the company)…and the reality of what employees are actually experiencing in their workplace?

We want to help you change that today because there are SO MANY fun and creative ways to show employee appreciation at work. Hire a food truck! Hold peer-to-peer recognition sessions! Praise your employees on social media! The list below will give you several ways to bring more happiness and appreciation to your workplace.

5 Incredible Employee Appreciation Ideas

Choose one or more ideas from this list to bring more positivity into your work environment and show employees that you care.

1. Customized Staff Appreciation Party

Let’s be honest. Most staff appreciation parties are pretty lame. Pizza and cupcakes in the break room may fill your employees’ stomachs, but what does it do to fuel their motivation and dedication to the company? Next time take it UP a notch by giving employees a memorable event.

Employee appreciation parties are the ideal time to get to know each other as individuals and grow closer as a team. Poll your employees in advance to create an atmosphere that will help individuals feel appreciated, and teams grow stronger.

  • Food: Hire a food truck (or a couple of trucks!) to cater your party. Food trucks add a sense of excitement, and with the range of options (from burgers to tacos to gourmet fusion foods), employees can weigh in on the type of food trucks they’d enjoy. Extra bonus: when you hire a food truck, the work is done for you and the mess and cleanup is handled by someone else!
  • Activities: Time spent during the Employee Appreciation Day is not ‘lost’ – if you do it right, employees will learn and grow individually and bond with their coworkers. This list of team-building activities from Tiny Pulse divides your options into those that promote communication, problem-solving, creative thinking, and just plain FUN!

2. Celebrate Regularly

While we highly recommend a big staff appreciation bash once or twice a year, it’s important to remember that employee appreciation should happen on a regular basis. Start filling in your calendar, and you will find there are plenty of reasons to celebrate every month in terms of birthdays, work anniversaries, and other special days.

Celebrating work accomplishments regularly is meaningful too. Some workplaces have a ‘trophy’ or another physical object to pass around in recognition of good work. Bosses and managers may write personal thank you notes or give bonuses and rewards for a job well done. Another idea is to set aside time every week or two to allow employees to praise each other. Peer-to-peer recognition promotes work bonds and helps everyone grow closer together.

3. Employee Development

Another way to show appreciation for your employees is to demonstrate clearly that you are interested in their development and growth. Far too often, we hire an employee for a certain job and just leave them to those isolated tasks, stagnant instead of moving forward. If you really want to see an employee’s ‘spark’ come to life, give them MORE, not less!

  • Regular reviews and meetings will help employees understand how they are doing, and you will understand more about their needs and wants in the workplace.
  • Cross-departmental training and inviting employees onto tasks they would not normally be involved in helps them build extra skills within the organization.
  • Offering time or money for professional skill development programs, professional organizations, and other resources will allow your employees to expand and grow.

4. Make an Ordinary Day Extraordinary

The lyrics from an old song still echo in my head when I think about the workweek. “Everybody’s working for the weekend.” Isn’t that the truth! Mondays are manic, and we grind through. By the end of the week, “It’s Friday, I’m in love!” and we coast through to the weekend.

But who in your business is working for a WEDNESDAY? (Or Tuesday, etc.) Probably not many, and that is why we propose that you can show employee appreciation by making an ordinary workday extraordinary.

Our clients have found that a unique and fun way to do this is to hire a food truck to come by the office on a normal weekday. Promoting the event a week before it happens adds an element of excitement and anticipation. No need to think about lunch tomorrow…the food truck is coming! In fact, some clients hire a food truck to come regularly, say once every week or two, or once a month. There is an incredible variety of food trucks available, and by rotating, everyone in the office can sample a variety of delicious foods.

5. Go Public with Praise

A final way to show your employees you care is to share your praise with a wider audience. Bosses and managers may offer personal words of support and encouragement in private. How about letting others know too?

  • Team meetings are a great way for everyone to touch base and discuss ongoing projects. Take some time out to celebrate team and individual ‘wins’ and to call people out for a job well done.
  • Some companies collect “cheers for peers” – where any employee in the organization can submit a story to praise another team member. These cheers can be read aloud during team meetings, or even sent as a regular email newsletter.
  • Do you use Slack? Create a ‘Praise’ channel so employees can thank and call out others.
  • Share your stories of appreciation on social media. Not only will this help your employees feel valued, but it will also help your customers get to know your team.

Whether you hire a food truck to spark spirits mid-week or revamp your team meetings to include praise time, it’s time to use words and actions to show your employees that you really care. Employee appreciation will make your team members feel like a valued part of the organization, and as a result, it will strengthen your entire company.

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