11 Clever Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

Employee Recognition

You don’t need to wait for Employee Appreciation Day to recognize employees. Showing employees they are appreciated by their employer and office colleagues boosts morale, lifts organizational culture and increases workplace effectiveness. This story and infographic in EHS Today  reports that “66 percent of employees would be likely to leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated, up from 51 percent from 2012.” It’s time to recognize employees!

Whether you are interested in budget-friendly tips or you want to do something quick and easy, here are some clever ideas to jumpstart your employee appreciation efforts.

Pinterest takes the prize

Take to the Pinterest boards to find dozens of easy and cost effective tips, including:

1. Candy gifts with crafty tags, such as “You’re a lifesaver” (Lifesavers), “You deserve a break” (Kit Kat bar), “You are so Flippin’ Awesome” (Flips Chocolate Covered Pretzels), or “Thanks a Million for Being Such Great Employees” (Million bar).

2. Create buttons or decorated knickknacks that showcase employee appreciation, with slogans like “My Boss Thinks I’m Kind of a Big Deal.”

Craft style gifts can be made up in advance, require little personalization, and are quite cost effective. These are ideal for small tokens of appreciation and for group appreciation.

Give the gift of gold

Who says monetary rewards can’t be creative? Consider the following ideas:

3. Gift cards to favored stores or online retailers, i.e. Starbucks or Amazon.com

4. 20 random unscratched lottery tickets

5. Tickets to see a movie, local sporting event, or entertainment, i.e. theater tickets or tickets to the zoo

6. Create a reward system allowing employees to earn tickets, which can be redeemed for major prizes ranging from cash to extended vacation time.

7. Voucher for a professional cleaning services to clean their house or vehicle

Monetary gifts are best suited for individual employees who have shown promise, leadership, and the willingness to go above and beyond for their job. This type of award is best when promoted across the board so that everyone is pushed to go that extra mile.

A simple ‘thank you’ will do 

While the OfficeTeam survey featured in the EBS Today story showed that monetary rewards and paid time off are valued most by employees, workers also valued in-person thank yous more than gift cards, and handwritten thank yous/recognition in front of other employees more than being taken out to lunch or dinner. So consider:

8. Thanking your employees for a job well done, and doing it right away. The faster you recognize good work, the more your employee know how important you think it is.

9. Write a general thank-you note to all employees each year to recognize them for being part of your team, telling them why you’ve appreciate their work during the year.

Face to face recognition is the most valued kind. If you can’t meet in-person to give kudos, set up a 1-on-1 to express your gratitude.

Don’t flub it, or forget it

The OfficeTeam survey featured in EBS Today highlighted some bizarre ways managers showed recognition, which of course landed with a thud among employees. A follow up OfficeTeam survey also showed that only 43 percent of managers felt like their organization gives employees the recognition they deserve – which should flash a warning sign given the high number of employees who are at risk of leaving due to getting insufficient recognition. So make sure that you:

10. Think about how you’d react to a recognition strategy before you implement it. Would you like socks? A misspelled plaque or keys to an executive washroom that didn’t exist? Gifts like these scream, “I don’t care.” 

11. Make sure you make employee recognition a part of your leadership team’s annual plans. And stay in touch with your employees so you can confirm they’re getting the recognition they deserve. 

Employee recognition plays a vital role in boosting organizational culture, engagement and productivity – among both leaders and employees. Gratitude can be a welcome shelter in tough times.

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