10 Recognition Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day

Did you know that this Friday is Employee Appreciation Day? It’s not too late to do something special for your teams. Here are our top 10 ideas for making sure your employees know you appreciate them.

Employee recognition has been shown to improve morale, productivity, and retention, and yet many organisations still suffer from a recognition deficit. According to one survey, 40% of employees say they would put more energy into their work if they were recognised more frequently. And another found that lack of recognition was a top reason employees left their jobs. Recognition at work will ideally be served up a number of ways. It should come from all angles and be facilitated in more than one established setting. Manager-to-employee recognition remains important, but peer-to-peer recognition also lifts morale. Formal recognition (such as at an awards ceremony or in a publication) is a lovely standard, but informal recognition on a daily basis (such as a digital high five in an employee app) keeps motivation running high.  

So, how will you show your employees some well-deserved recognition this Employee Appreciation Day? Lockdowns are still in effect in many places, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use this occasion to break out of your recognition rut. Here are 10 ideas to surprise and delight your employees, this week and beyond.

#1: Just Say Thank You

A pay check doesn’t equal a thank you, and showing gratitude for a job well done is one of the most overlooked forms of recognition. But to really resonate with your employees, your expression of thanks must be personal. Don’t send out a thank you to a collective group or the whole company. Whether you write individual thank you notes or thank your employees by name on a digital platform, make it a one-to-one approach.

 

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#2: Ask Employees What Type of Recognition is Meaningful to Them

What motivates one employee may fall flat for another. Use Employee Appreciation Day as a chance to learn more about your team members and what kinds of recognition they respond to or what sorts of employee perks they might enjoy. One way to collect this data is by sending out a pulse survey using an employee communications tool or app.

Healthcare employee using an employee engagement app from TheAppBuilder

#3 Have Lunch Brought in or Delivered

Everyone needs a midday meal, and when someone else is buying, lunch changes from perfunctory to a pick-me-up. Whether you order in to the office for your onsite team, arrange delivery to employees who are working remotely, or even send out gift cards to a favourite lunch spot, this simple act of feeding your teams can also feed morale.

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#4 Invest in Their Well-being

Employees invest so much of their time and energy in their work. Show them you care by providing them with an opportunity for self-care — which may be very much needed about now. Give them a gift card for a massage, spa appointment, or even some ergonomic home office equipment. Another idea: gift them a subscription to an online yoga, meditation or fitness app or program, or have a healthy snack box delivered.

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#5 Schedule Time for Fun

Work is often so much about productivity and efficiency. But time for laughter and light-heartedness should be factored into an employee’s day. In fact, these things can build bonds amongst employees and boost both innovation and creativity. During Employee Appreciation Day, host a virtual game hour or happy hour. You could also schedule a brainstorming session with staff members to plan a future team outing (to take place when restrictions are lifted and together time is safe again) rooted purely in fun. Check out how Derry Group Ireland used their Thrive employee app to show their appreciation for their team and create some festive cheer at Christmas.

#6 Host Friendly Competitions

Use your employee communications app or another tool to encourage fun and friendly competition and team building. It could be a video- or photo-based contest between teams or locations, a wellness challenge, or some other contest specific to your organisation’s culture. Whatever you do, don’t forget the awards!

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#7 Provide Learning Opportunities

When employees know their workplace is invested in fostering their career development, it can be hugely motivating. Plus, employees who have the opportunity to expand and enrich their knowledge and skills add value to the organisation, and companies that prioritise learning are more successful. Create courses or other learning opportunities that allow employees to earn badges, certificates, or prepare them for a promotion.

#8 Celebrate the Small Stuff

Hitting a big sales goal or reaching the 10-year mark are all reasons for recognition, but there are many smaller milestones that shouldn’t go unnoticed. After all, it’s the small wins and diligent daily efforts that contribute to overall success. Create a virtual celebration for Employee Appreciation Day that heralds accomplishments both big and small, or turn a simple item into a silly trophy that can be passed from employee to employee as a thank you for a job well done.

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#9 Give Them Surprise Paid Time Off

You may not have realized the necessary profits last year for raises, but you can give your employees something else they may really need about now: some free time to care for family or for themselves. Give top employees an extra day of floating Personal Time Off that they can schedule in advance. Rather than detract from productivity, your employees will probably come back refreshed and rejuvenated.

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#10 Formalise a Year-round Recognition Program

Let’s face it: Employee recognition shouldn’t be relegated to once a year or every once in a while. While you won’t have the runway to get this done by Friday, let this year’s Employee Appreciation Day serve as a reminder and reset. Take the necessary time to consider how you can innovate your organisation’s approach to employee recognition so that it becomes a regular, rewarding part of the daily routine and company culture. 

Next Steps…

Every day can be Employee Appreciation Day with an employee app, like those we offer at Thrive.app. Find out how an app can help you facilitate and foster employee engagement, lift morale, provide relevant information to the right employees at the right times, and recognize employees. Set up some time to learn more about Thrive.app today.

Is there really a need for employee recognition? Read this blog post to find out more.