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12 Creative & Simple Employee Appreciation Ideas

January 17, 2024

Employee appreciation is the backbone of a motivated and engaged workforce.

While it's tempting to think that grand gestures and elaborate celebrations are the only ways to express gratitude, sometimes it's the simplest and most creative ideas that have the most significant impact.

In this blog post, we explore 12 simple employee appreciation ideas that not only boost morale but also contribute to fostering a positive and motivated workplace culture.

1. Take the Day Off

Sometimes, the best way to say "thank you" is by giving your employees the gift of time. Reward your staff with the day off on Employee Appreciation Day to show your gratitude for employees' hard work. It's a simple yet meaningful gesture that allows them to relax, recharge, and spend quality time with their loved ones. Whether it's a surprise day off or a planned occasion, the message is clear: their wellbeing matters, and their contributions are valued.

2. Send a Care Package

Care packages have a unique charm and warmth that can brighten anyone's day. Fill them with a mix of items like company swag, tasty snacks, and personalized touches that reflect your staff's interests and preferences. These care packages serve as tangible tokens of appreciation, showing employees that their efforts are recognized and celebrated.

3. Hold a Virtual Happy Hour

In today's increasingly remote and hybrid work environment, finding ways to connect with colleagues can be a challenge. Hosting a virtual happy hour is a fun and relaxed way for your team to unwind and bond, even from the comfort of their own homes. Encourage everyone to bring their favorite drink and chat, fostering a sense of camaraderie and a break from the daily grind.

4. Host a Team Building Activity

Strong teamwork and effective communication are crucial components of a successful workplace. Organizing team-building activities can be a fantastic way to encourage collaboration and build trust among employees. These activities can vary widely, from in-person challenges like escape rooms to virtual activities like trivia or scavenger hunts. By promoting teamwork and providing a platform for employees to connect outside of their usual roles, you show that you value their relationships and contributions to the team.

5. Spotlight Employees

Whether it’s through regular shout-outs in team meetings, employee of the month awards, or simply acknowledging their achievements on the company intranet, recognizing employees that are going above and beyond can go a long way in creating a more engaged and satisfied workforce. You can even take this to the next level by creating an exclusive yearly nomination award, enabling your employees to nominate a coworker they feel should be recognized.

It is important, though, to keep in mind that not all employees enjoy public recognition. Consider finding ways to praise employees in both a public and private forum.

6. Offer a Gift Card of Choice

Sometimes, the best way to show appreciation is to let employees choose their own reward. Providing gift cards to their favorite stores or restaurants allows them to select something they can use, whether it's a shopping spree, dinner, or a relaxing spa day. This flexibility ensures that your gesture of appreciation aligns with their personal preferences.

7. Provide a Personalized Gift

Make your gift extra meaningful by personalizing it. Custom-made items like engraved desk accessories or monogrammed swag demonstrate that you've put thought and care into your gesture. These gifts go beyond a simple "thank you" and serve as lasting reminders of your appreciation.

8. Treat Employees to Lunch

Treating your employees to lunch is a thoughtful gesture that fosters camaraderie and encourages employees to connect. Whether you cater lunch at the office or reserve a room at a local restaurant, it's an opportunity for employees to relax, bond, and enjoy each other's company outside of the usual work setting.

9. Gift a Subscription

Subscriptions to services like streaming platforms, book clubs, or fitness apps offer ongoing enjoyment and enrichment. By providing employees with access to content or experiences they enjoy, you're not only showing appreciation for their contributions but also investing in their personal growth and wellbeing.

10. Get a Sweet Treat

There's something delightful about a sweet surprise that can instantly lift spirits. Whether it's a delivery of gourmet cupcakes, a box of donuts, or a dessert bar, these treats create a positive and joyful atmosphere that everyone can savor. It's a simple yet effective way to make employees feel valued and cherished.

11. Write a Personalized Thank You Note

Writing personalized thank-you notes for employee appreciation is a meaningful yet effective way to express gratitude. A well-crafted thank you note not only boosts morale but also strengthens the connection between the employer and employee. It shows that employees' efforts are noticed and valued, motivating them to continue giving their best.

12. Provide a Wellness Day

In today's fast-paced world, employees often juggle multiple responsibilities, leading to stress and burnout. Demonstrate your commitment to their wellbeing by dedicating a day to employee wellness. On this day, you can offer a range of wellness activities, such as yoga and meditation sessions, access to mental health resources, or even on-site massages. It's a time for employees to prioritize self-care, relax, and recharge both physically and mentally.

Tying It All Together

These 12 employee appreciation ideas can significantly contribute to creating a workplace culture where employees feel valued, motivated, and eager to contribute their best. The key to successful appreciation efforts lies in their sincerity, consistency, and alignment with your team's preferences and needs. 

Remember that employee appreciation should be an ongoing commitment rather than a one-time event, helping build a positive and motivated workforce.

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Enhance Employee Appreciation with Meaningful Recognition

Build a culture of appreciation and recognition with a digital employee recognition and engagement platform like Inspirus Connects

A recognition and engagement platform does more than just spread appreciation – it boosts morale, improves employee engagement, strengthens team bonds, and more. These platforms encourage employees to recognize each other through meaningful peer-to-peer recognition, celebrate achievements, and collect redeemable points for special occasions and achievements.

Ready to build a thriving organizational culture? Talk with one of our specialists today!